26th August 2016
On Thursday 25th August, the Cairns Aquarium project team welcomed Queensland Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones to inspect progress at the landmark project as it reaches the halfway point in its construction phase.
Australia’s first new public aquarium in 17 years, with a cost of $50 million, is on track for completion in April 2017, generating significant jobs, investment and other economic-spin offs for the North Queensland tourism industry.
Construction of the structure is now 50 per cent complete, with half of its 154 precast wall panels having been installed along with the erection of all ground floor precast customised “Shark Gill” walls, giving the project an iconic architectural feature.
Pouring of custom-developed Liquid Retaining Concrete (LRC) for the first floor slab has also commenced, using innovative customised post tensioning to withstand the weight of hundreds of tonnes of water volume.
Welcoming the Minister to the project site, Cairns Aquarium Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Daniel Leipnik, said support from government and other stakeholders was crucial in ensuring a successful outcome for the local community.
“Cairns Aquarium is an important project for the future of Cairns’ tourism industry and will make a long-term contribution in generating employment opportunities in the region. As part of our commitment to maximising local benefits, we are supporting the Queensland Government’s “Back to Work” Regional Employment Program, which will help give long-term unemployed jobseekers genuine opportunities for fulfilling work,” Mr Leipnik said.
FKG Group Managing Director, Nick Gardner, said the Queensland-based group was delighted to make a contribution to the future of the region’s development as lead contractor to the project.
“Cairns Aquarium is a landmark project for Queensland and one the FKG Group is very proud to be involved with. The construction of the aquarium is running to schedule and we appreciate it will be a major contributor in supporting the revitalisation of the North Queensland economy,” Mr Gardner said.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said it was incredibly exciting to witness the progress made at the Cairns Aquarium & Reef Research Centre since her previous visit last November.
“The Queensland Government has been working with the project creators, Daniel Leipnik and Andrew Preston, for almost five years, since their concept of a world-class public aquarium and reef research facility in Cairns was first presented.”
“The Government, through the Tourism Investment Attraction Unit in the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games; the Department of State Development in Cairns; and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection in Cairns and Brisbane have supported the proponents through the development stages to help realise their vision,” the Minister said.
“The Cairns Aquarium is an exciting new tourism infrastructure project for Tropical North Queensland and indeed the state, highlighting the region’s unique biodiversity and providing a snapshot of the Far North’s outstanding natural assets.”
“Importantly, the project will create 130 new positions for operational staff along with the several hundred construction and sub-contractor personnel and off-site suppliers of goods and services currently on the project. I am hopeful that Cairns Aquarium will be able to access up to $1.3 million of State funding support through the “Back to Work” Regional Employment Program, which is delivering real opportunities for regional Queensland jobseekers and employers.
With the tremendous growth in both interstate and international visitation to Tropical North Queensland, the State Government is delighted to see investment in innovative tourism infrastructure projects such as the Cairns Aquarium. Realisation of this world-class facility will provide even more reasons for visitors to choose Cairns for their next holiday and provides a compelling new reason for previous visitors to return. I look forward to returning early next year for the grand opening event.”
Holidaymakers to Tropical North Queensland have been growing at the fastest rate of any Australian city over the past three years, with the region attracting annualised growth above 7 percent as both domestic and overseas visitors explore the region’s unique environment.