Big Health Build gets bigger: Almost $1.44 billion for Cairns and Hinterland Health and Hospital Service

Published Tuesday, 28 May, 2024 at 09:21 AM


The Honourable Steven Miles

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

  • Miles Government upcoming state budget set to deliver over $1.436 billion for the Cairns and Hinterland Health and Hospital Service, through a record Health Budget.
  • That includes an initial $60 million committed for the Cairns Health and Innovation Centre.
  • The Cairns Health and Innovation Centre will integrate healthcare, education, research and industry with an opportunity for collaboration across public and private sectors.
  • Additionally, more than $450 million of health infrastructure projects are underway or in planning stages in the Cairns region.

New Premier Steven Miles has today announced a massive $1.436 billion in the upcoming State Budget dedicated towards the Cairns and Hinterland Health and Hospital Service.

It comes as the government is set to deliver a record Health budget in 2024.

The new HHS budget represents an enormous 10.6% increase, or $137.3 million, in funding compared to the prior year.

In a clear demonstration of Labor’s commitment to healthcare, the new figure means the Miles Labor Government has delivered more than double the funding the HHS received from the LNP in 2014-15.

In Cairns, one key investment is an initial $60 million towards the Cairns Health and Innovation Centre.

This funding will enable extensive master planning, design development and land acquisition which will all assist in determining the optimum location in close proximity to Cairns Hospital.

The cutting-edge centre will focus on tackling the unique health problems of the tropical world and build upon existing expertise to address the health needs locally and in neighbouring countries around tropical medicine and research, First Nations health as well as establishing a multidisciplinary rural generalist centre for excellence. 

It will be a significant attractor for all clinicians to advance their research and education opportunities and will be a key asset for recruiting and retaining a skilled clinical workforce.

Preliminary designs feature flexible collaboration and innovative workspaces, education and exhibition spaces, purpose-built spaces to conduct clinical trials as well as highly specialised simulation labs complemented by university partners, providing data sciences and robotics expertise to create new generation research and research translation in the provision of health care.

The next stage for the Cairns Health and Innovation Centre will be market sounding and the focus will turn to how public and private sectors can form a partnership and work collaboratively to deliver on the vision for this new centre.

The current health investment in Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) includes the $250 million Cairns Hospital Expansion which will deliver an additional 96 beds for the Cairns region. 

It also includes the new Mental Health Unit under construction, emergency department redevelopment, new Cow Bay Primary Health Centre and the Cairns Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs Residential Treatment Centre.

Quotes attributable to Premier of Queensland Steven Miles:

“I am committed to doing what matters for Queensland, and that includes bolstering our frontline health services.

“My government’s upcoming budget will deliver the biggest investment to Queensland Health services, infrastructure and personnel in the state’s history.

“Here in Cairns, that budget will secure over $1.43 billion towards better services and a bigger hospital and health precinct.

“A key part of that will be a new Health and Innovation Centre – backed by an initial $60 million in funding from my government.

“The centre will leverage our Asia-Pacific connections, lead better outcomes for locals, and deliver cutting-edge research on the health challenges unique to the tropics.

“And its partnerships with industry, universities, research institutions, and commercial operators will drive innovation such as robotics and automation.

“That means better care, closer to home because that’s what matters.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health Shannon Fentiman:

“I’m so proud to be delivering the largest investment ever for Cairns and Hinterland HHS – more than double what the health service received from the LNP’s last budget.

“We know that health services across the state are under pressure, which is why we’re increasing Cairns’ health budget by more than ten per cent, one of the largest uplifts in history.

“The Cairns Health and Innovation Centre will provide new ways of doing business across the public and private sectors – within Queensland, across borders and internationally.

“The Centre will revolutionise how public and private sectors collaborate within Queensland, across borders, and internationally.

“It will position Cairns as a global centre for excellence and expand access to education, training, and research opportunities.

“This will help to attract, develop, and retain the diverse health workforce we need to meet the growing needs in the Far North.

“Services just like these are under threat from the LNP, with Crisafulli and Ros Bates both cabinet ministers in the Newman LNP government that viciously gutted Queensland’s Health system. 

“The Cairns and Hinterland community can be assured the Miles Labor Government will continue to invest in the health of the region now and into the future.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Cairns Michael Healy:

“Attracting partners and investment in the Cairns Health and Innovation Centre will deliver both health and economic benefits to the region.

“Health and social assistance is the largest industry in Cairns for both employment and economic contribution to the Far North, and this new centre will continue to build upon this expertise.

“This will create an investment strategy for the region through the health and innovation sector.” 

Quotes attributable to Chief Executive, Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Leena Singh:

“The creation of the Cairns Health and Innovation Centre at Cairns Hospital will be a key part of developing the Cairns Health and Innovation Precinct.

“It will enable partnering not only with universities, but also research institutions, private sector partners and communities, to ensure the best minds are applied to solving the unique health issues of Far North Queensland.   

“We are commissioning a master plan for the Cairns health precinct to ensure we plan for and future proof our developments as part of the pathway for the health service to take Cairns Hospital to a tertiary level.

“At the end of the day, this will help us attract some of the best minds and investment to tackle some of our biggest health challenges and translate this into providing the best care possible to our patients through the generations.”

$450 million CHHHS capital projects include:

  • $26.4m Emergency Department redevelopment
  • $250m Cairns Hospital Expansion Project – new surgical centre and ward refurbishments
  • $70m Mental Health Unit
  • $19.3 million Cairns Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs Residential Treatment Centre
  • $14.8 million new Cow Bay Primary Health Centre