About the Cairns Convention Centre upgrade
The Cairns Convention Centre is undergoing a $176 million expansion and refurbishment to:
- maximise the centre’s capabilities
- modernise the facilities
- bring new business to the tropical north.
Known for its prime location, premium food offering and prestigious events, the new look Centre will have facilities to cater for multiple functions, helping the city to attract new conferences and events of even greater sizes and complexity.
The refurbishment works have been completed and the centre operator ASM Global held their first event on 12 May 2021.
The construction works on the expansion are in full swing and will deliver a bigger, better Cairns Convention Centre in 2022.
The upgraded Centre will support ongoing employment opportunities in hospitality, logistics, security, and maintenance.
The Centre has now resumed operations. For upcoming events, please visit the what's on page.
Built in two stages in 1996 and 2000, the distinctive convention centre was the second major Queensland project for Cox Architecture’s Brisbane studio (then Cox Rayner Architects) after the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
The centre closed in April 2020 in preparation of the upgrade.
This refurbishment stage was completed in early May 2021 and it included:
- the replacement of roof sheeting,
- replacement of building services including air-conditioning and lighting,
- the full refurbishment of all public spaces including amenities and
- back of house spaces including kitchen and administration facilities.
The expansion stage already underway will deliver additional 10,500 square metres that will include a large undercover, tropically planted drop-off and entry forecourt, an expanded main entry lobby, a 410-seat plenary lecture space, three 120-seat meeting rooms, exhibition space for up to 30 display booths, a 500-seat rooftop banquet space and sky terrace with spectacular views over Trinity Inlet.
The upgraded centre will have facilities to cater for multiple functions, helping the city to attract new conferences and events of even greater sizes and complexity.
Supporting Queensland locals
This $176 million investment in Cairns is expected to provide 570 full time jobs during construction.
With the first project trade package awarded in February 2020 , and more than 100 trade packages have been progressively released since. To date (15 November 2021) 85 percent of the trade packages have been awarded on the project. 67 trade packages have been awarded to local businesses. The final suite of trade packages are scheduled to be awarded by the first quarter of 2022.
Since construction commenced in 2020 to upgrade the Centre, the majority of workers onsite have been local.
The project prioritises local suppliers with a workforce based in Far North Queensland.
Under the Queensland Procurement Policy Lendlease must conduct a local benefits test when evaluating tenders for this project. The test evaluates the benefits that any supplier would bring to the local area.
The local benefit test under the Queensland Procurement Policy is defined as suppliers who maintain a workforce that usually reside 125 kilometres radius of where the goods or services are to be supplied.
For the Cairns Convention Centre Project tenders are evaluated equally:
- 50% is price
- 50% is non-price
The non-price criteria are:
- jobs for local workers
- opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and
- opportunities for apprenticeship and trainees
To enable local small-to-medium enterprise to tender competitively for work on the project. Lendlease also considers splitting trade packages.
The upgrade of the Cairns Convention Centre isn’t just delivering a world-class tourism project. It is also delivering training that will leave a legacy of more qualified workers in the Far North.
To date (31 October 2021) more than 61,030 training hours have been clocked up. This training has advanced the skills of more than 338 workers to date.
More than 50 apprentices have benefited from these training hours and now who have the experience of working on a multi-million-dollar infrastructure project.
14 of these apprentice opportunities have been taken up by young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
The apprentices that have worked on the project have been across a range of trades such as electricians, roofers, cabinet makers, tilers and sign writers
The Cairns Convention Centre vaccination hub
A mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic was hosted from 10-12 September 2021, 17-19 September 2021 and from 21 September opening hours were extended to 6 days per week, Tuesday to Sunday from 7am to 3pm - until 10 October 2021.
The COVID-19 vaccination clinic reopened at the Cairns Convention Centre, 7 days a week, commencing from 21 October 2021 currently scheduled to operate to 19 December 2021. Subject to vaccination rates the clinic could be extended by Queensland Health into 2022.
The COVID-19 vaccination clinic has no impact on construction or centre operations, with both Lendlease and ASM Global operating under a Site Specific COVID Safe Plan
In accordance with Queensland Government health advice and direction from 17 December 2021 only fully vaccinated staff and patrons will be permitted to enter the centre. Patrons who are not fully vaccinated can attend the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at the centre to get their vaccination.
Find out more
Email CairnsConventionCentre@hpw.qld.gov.au for more information about the project.
If you're a local sub-contractor or supplier and want to know more about the EOI process:
- Last updated:
- 19 November 2021