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East Trinity's Future

Recently the Institute took the opportunity to respond to a draft of the Land Management Plan for the East Trinity Reserve in Cairns on behalf of members, provided by the Department of Environment and Science. The branch counselled the Department to disallow activities and use of the site that might preclude the possibility for a $4 billion dollar port and residential development, and a solution for the site’s acid sulphate soils.

The UDIA Cairns Branch share the state's desire to create greatly needed employment opportunities in regional Queensland, and recognises that the tourism and development industries are critical economic drivers in the area. After all, development industries are responsible for 7% of Cairns' employment*. The plan did not explore the economic effects that development on the site could present. The City of Cairns Port is adjacent to the site, and as the city grows, the port is predicted to double in its capacity by 2045. The site has the potential for port related activities and in excess of 7,700 residential allotments in a location more central to Cairns compared to other long-term urban growth locations.

Another facet of the feedback concerned the current state of the site and how development might proceed. The draft did not make satisfactory arrangements for addressing the toxic characteristics of the site, which is an ongoing cost and is currently being rehabilitated by government. Without being properly attended to, the land could become a serious liability to government and the community. The Reserve has also been identified as a potential site for beneficial depositing of silt as dredging for the port occurs. This would go some way to addressing environmental issues.

The Institute submitted our findings to the Department of Environment and Science in late December 2018 to assist the project as it continues. Cairns' East Trinity Reserve possesses unique characteristics as both a site for development and as a rehabilitation project. By giving our feedback on the draft land management plan, we can be confident that we are acting in the best interests of Queensland and its citizens.

The Institute submission is available here and further detail on the land management plan here.

*The Institute's Research Foundation – The Contribution of the Development Industry to Queensland, Urbis, March 2018.