The Cairns Convention Centre is counting down the days until the first phase of its $176 million redevelopment is completed and it welcomes the return of events.
“Excitement is really starting to build as we count down to practical completion of refurbishment works on 31 March and the resumption of events just a few weeks later,” said Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni.
“However, the re-opening will be just a first taste of the wide-ranging benefits of a bigger and better Convention Centre in Cairns.”
While the centre will welcome events again from May, the extension works are due to run to mid-2022.
Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Member for Cairns Michael Healy said stage two works had already kicked off.
“When we talk about a bigger and better Convention Centre, we’re actually talking about a 10,500 square metre expansion,” Healy said.
“Piling works to support the foundations of the new expansion are well underway with some 320 piles being placed around the site as we speak, mapping out just how impressive the final product will be.
“In the next 12 months, we’ll start to see the large undercover forecourt, larger main entry and a 410-seat plenary lecture space take shape, which will help Cairns attract new conferences and events of greater size and complexity.
“The Palaszczuk Government is delivering a truly world-class venue which will draw an extra 20,000 visitors to the region annually, injecting an additional $50 million into the local economy each year.”
Cairns Convention Centre general manager Janet Hamilton says the Centre prides itself on implementing the Government’s procurement policy, which ensures the facility’s positive impacts extend far beyond the local tourism sector.
“The Centre not only brings delegates to the region who stay in hotels, eat in restaurants and enjoy all our attractions, we also love to showcase the fresh and full flavours the Tropical North has to offer in the field of fine dining,” she said.
“Our fish is 100 per cent locally sourced, and all our fresh chicken comes from Mareeba.
“We source the vast majority of our beef from the Tableland Meat Company or the wider Queensland area, as well as our Galloland cheese from Malanda and Mungalli Creek cheese from Millaa Millaa.
“Our coffee is from Skybury & Jacques in Mareeba, we offer Daintree Chocolate and we are now working with Nerada Tea to develop a signature convention centre blend.
“Sourcing our menu ingredients locally means we are also support local farmers, providing additional jobs and money back into the local economy.”
Executive chef Ben Boudaud has been working closely with local farmers and producers as he puts the finishing touches to the 2021 menu.
“We are very fortunate here in Cairns to have an abundance of local and unique produce to serve to our delegates and the feedback we get from our clients is always very positive,” he said.
“The new menu will capture all the fresh and full flavours of the tropics and it will certainly ensure we continue to have visitors’ tastebuds tingling.”
Long serving team member Vania Bau will take on the role of Event Services Director when the centre reopens in May.