Cairns Big Health Build Takes Shape

Published Wednesday, 28 February, 2024 at 01:54 PM


The Honourable Steven Miles

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

  • A record $474.8 million is being invested in Cairns’ health infrastructure, as part of the almost $10 billion Queensland Hospital and Health Plan.
  • Five key health infrastructure projects are underway to meet current and future demand, including expanding Cairns Hospital.
  • One project is the Cairns Hospital emergency department expansion, which is on track for completion by mid-2024.
  • Funding is also targeting mental health and youth alcohol and other drugs services.
  • Investment will deliver more than 100 extra hospital beds and create more than 1,220 jobs.

The Miles Labor Government is delivering a big boost to public health infrastructure in Cairns, on the back of a record investment in the region’s health infrastructure.

Five key projects were underway, including the $30 million revamp of the Cairns Hospital emergency department that is scheduled for completion in mid-2024.

The expansion will increase the number of available beds from 47 to 53 to improve the flow of patients.

It will also include a dedicated X-ray suite, refurbished resuscitation bays, additional acute care rooms, increased isolation and negative pressure capacity, and a family room and bathroom.

The project is part of the broader $250 million Cairns Hospital expansion project, which is slated to finish in 2026, and the $70 million Cairns Mental Health Unit in mid-2024.

Work is also underway on the over $14.8 million Cow Bay Primary Health Centre and the $19.3 million Cairns Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs Residential Treatment Services facility.

The projects are part of the record $474.8 million being pumped into Cairns health infrastructure, which includes the Atherton Hospital redevelopment that opened in 2023. 

Once complete, the five projects underway will result in an additional 101 hospital beds and create more than 1220 jobs to support the local economy.

The State Government has a proven track record on delivering better healthcare, through an additional $562 million in the Cairns Hospital and Health Service budget.

Since 2015, the government has also supported the addition of more than 1,380 extra staff within the healthcare service – including more than 300 doctors, over 770 nurses and midwives, more than 75 ambulance officers and hundreds of allied health professionals.

Quotes attributable to Premier Steven Miles:

“As a former Health Minister, I understand the challenges our doctors, nurses, ambos and healthcare workers face every day.

“It’s why delivering the big health build is so important to me – giving our frontline health heroes the tools they need to deliver better care to Queenslanders.

“Cairns Hospital is the largest referral hospital in Far North Queensland, providing emergency care to a region 1.5 times the size of Victoria.

“The number of people accessing healthcare will continue to increase as Cairns’ population grows, combined with the regions increasing popularity as a holiday destination.

“Expanding Cairns Hospital, including its emergency department, will help keep pace with population growth. All while supporting hundreds of good local jobs in the region.

“Cairns locals can trust that my government will always deliver more doctors and nurses on the frontline, while building bigger, better hospitals for our growing state.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women Shannon Fentiman:

“We want all Queenslanders to be able to access great health care, closer to home and that includes here in Far North Queensland.

“It’s why we’re replacing ageing infrastructure in our rural, remote, and regional communities to ensure communities have access to great healthcare in modern and fit-for-purpose facilities. 

“The existing centre at Cow Bay has done a tremendous job serving its community but needs replacement to ensure the area’s health needs can continue to be met.

“The new centre will feature a helicopter landing pad, staff accommodation, improved clinical spaces and modern equipment catering for health emergencies and is expected to open in 2025.

“Our health staff here in Cairns do a wonderful job caring for their communities and I’m so glad we’re investing to build the infrastructure they need to continue delivering their world-class healthcare.

“The people here in the Cairns and Hinterland region can be assured that the Miles Labor Government is planning for their future with our record $474.8 million investment into health capital works for the region.”

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

“I am excited about these health infrastructure projects and how they will improve patient care for our communities.

“The new surgical centre as part of the Cairns Hospital Expansion Project will include a number of short-stay overnight beds, day surgery spaces, operating theatres and outpatient consulting rooms.

“The additional beds and clinical spaces will help manage the ever-growing demand for health services throughout the region.”

Overarching capital program:

  • Record capital budget in Cairns of $474.8 million, from a total $1.6 billion invested in the Far North.
  • Five major health infrastructure projects underway
    • Emergency department redevelopment
    • Cairns Hospital Expansion Project – surgical centre and ward refurbishments
    • Cairns Mental Health Unit
    • Cairns Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs Residential Treatment Services
    • Cow Bay Primary Health Centre
  • Creating 1,224 good jobs during construction
  • Delivering 101 new beds for the region.

Queensland Big Health Build:

  • Investing a record $25.8 billion in health this budget, including almost $10 billion in the health capital expansion program.
  • Delivering 3 new hospitals, 11 major hospital expansions and 7 satellite hospitals
  • That’s over 3,300 extra hospital beds for Queenslanders.
  • Since coming to government in 2015, more than 1,532 extra hospital beds have been delivered.
  • A further 500 will be added by October this year.