Focused investment underlines record capital works spend

Water security, improving suburban connectivity, and targeting core areas of service delivery underline Council’s record $383 million capital works program.

Council delivered its 2024/25 budget today with the capital works program committing $217.7 million to Cairns Water Security Stage 1.

The project, the largest single infrastructure commitment made by Council, will secure the city’s immediate drinking water needs by delivering new water capacity like a dam, but at less cost and with a much lighter environmental footprint.

Last week, Council welcomed the State Government’s announcement that it would increase its commitment to Cairns Water Security Stage 1 by $87.5 million to $195 million.

Construction on the project is expected to start in August this year.

Cairns Mayor Amy Eden said the capital works program focused on vital investments, such as water security, while still delivering smaller, important projects for the suburbs.

“In developing the budget, we also focused on the ‘little big things’ that will make a difference to our community’s most vulnerable and get us back to the basics our people most urgently need,” Cr Eden said.

“For example, we have committed to triple spending on new footpaths for the next two years, from $1 million to $3 million annually, as well as increasing our investment in suburban parks.”

This year, the $383 million capital works program allows for:

  • $217.7 million to Cairns Water Security Stage 1 (CWSS1)
  • $52 million for roads, bridges, street lighting, drainage, kerb and channel, shoulder sealing, and bus stops
  • $43.1 million to enhance the water network (exclusive of CWSS1)
  • $32.7 million for improving our wastewater network
  • $20.4 million dedicated to community, sport, and cultural projects.

As part of the capital works program, Council has allocated over $22 million specifically for disaster recovery.

This includes initial allocations for the following locations:

  • $1.275 million for the Casuarina Street bridge at Holloways Beach
  • $1 million for repairs to Lower Kamerunga bridge
  • $1 million for Barron Gorge Rd
  • $500,000 for Fisheries Bridge at Goldsborough
  • Repairs to Figtree Dr, Kamerunga, ($900,000), Lower Freshwater Rd ($800,000), Orana St, Caravonica ($400,000), Joyce Rd ($400,000) and Grays bridge ($400,000).


Water (excluding CWSS1): $43.1 million

Water infrastructure improvements and upgrades


Council has allocated more than $15.5 million on improvements and upgrades to its water reservoirs.

This includes $11.7 million to progress work on a new reservoir at Mount Peter in Edmonton, with a further $15 million allocated over the next two budget cycles to complete the project.

Work started in 2022 on the construction of the 8 megalitre reservoir, which is to manage the predicted population growth and demand in the Mount Peter residential area.

As well as construction of a high-level water reservoir, the project includes access road and associated bulk earthworks, trunk water main infrastructure of varying sizes, and water pumping station remediation works at Coombak Cl.

Council is also progressing works to complete refurbishment at reservoirs in Bayview Heights ($1.33 million), Edge Hill ($1.36 million), and Barron View ($487,500).

Supply, reticulation and treatment network

More than $24.5 million has been set aside to maintain and upgrade the city’s water supply and reticulation network.

This includes $4.1 million to replace water mains at various locations as part of its ongoing maintenance program.

The annual water main refurbishment program involves the replacement of ageing and/or deteriorated water mains to maintain the structural integrity of the water network.

There are also upgrades planned for the Lake Morris and Ferntree catchments ($380,000), which follows a $303,000 allocation last year and a further $4.3 million set aside in the next two budget cycles.

The SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) software, which is used to monitor and manage Council’s water systems, will get $250,000 to start a renewal plan for the network, including system specifications and design standards.

Council has also committed to $500,000 to improve water supply and resilience at the Crystal Cascades, including $300,000 for a new control valve bypass.

Water meters

Council has also committed $6.95 million to continue the roll-out of electronic water meters, with a further commitment of $8.53 million in the next financial year for the installation of more than 50,000 gauges by mid-2025. The new electronic devices measure, in real time, the amount of water in use and transmit the data to Council for processing. This can help save water by early leak detection and identifying patterns in water usage.

There is more than $1.5 million for new water meter installations, $650,000 for the replacement of commercial water meters and a further $300,000 for residential water replacements.

Water lab

Council has allocated $340,000 for improvements to its water lab, including $280,000 to replace the Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, which can detect elements, including metals, in very low concentrations.

There is also $50,000 for the chemistry DI water system, used to produce deionised water, which can be required in some instances when analysing samples. A further $10,000 has been allocated for the replacement of the digester block, which will allow for more expedient analysis.

Wastewater infrastructure – $37.75 million

Significant projects included in this year’s capital works program relating to the wastewater infrastructure include:

  • $21.5 million on upgrades and improvements to numerous sewer pump stations.
  • Greenslopes Street Gravity Sewer Upgrade: $50,000 this budget, with an addition $5 million allocated over the next four years to complete the upgrade.
  • Babinda Wastewater Treatment Plant design and construction: $600,000 this financial year, with almost $4 million allocated in the next two budget cycles to complete construction.
  • Northern Wastewater Treatment Plant dewatering system upgrade and renewal: $2.33 million this year to progress the project ($1.78 million was allocated in the previous financial year), with $2 million next financial year to complete the project.
  • $5.2 million on improvements and upgrades to Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) including:
    • $220,000 for the southern sewer planning study
    • $325,000 for a planning study and condition assessment on the Southern WWTP
    • $1.1 million for refurbishment works at the Edmonton WWTP.
  • $2 million allocated to the annual sewer relining program.
  • $372,000 on the manhole rehabilitation program.

Resource recovery

Council will invest over $1.27 million in upgrades to its resource recovery infrastructure.

This includes $600,000 for the renewal of the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) weighbridge, $200,000 at the glass plant and $40,000 for a shed for hazardous waste.

There are also $280,000 in upgrades planned for the Portsmith, Smithfield and Gordonvale transfer stations.

Transport network: $43.95 million

Council has allocated almost $44 million in the Capital Works Program to provide new works, upgrades and renewals of its extensive transport network.

This includes roads and road drainage, traffic signals, bus stops, lighting and bridges.

Significant projects include:

  • Navigation Drive, Trinity Beach ($1.42 million): This will allow for the progression of the project from Shipmate Drive south to Moore’s Gully. There is an additional $8 million allocated for next financial year and a further $500,000 in 2026/27 to complete the project.
  • Mt Peter/Petersen Rd intersection ($400,000): Upgrade to the intersection to improve pedestrian safety and vehicle movement, and facilitate growing traffic volumes along the corridor.
  • Johnson Rd ($4 million): Allocation of $4 million to complete the project, with $1.1 million spent in 2023/24. Johnson Rd in White Rock is undergoing an upgrade to accommodate a bus route. The upgrade will include widening the road from 5.5m to 10m in width, upgrading of stormwater drains on Johnston Rd, Giffin Rd, Fretwell Rd and some minor works on Mercurio St. It will also involve installation of a new water main, kerb and channel, kerb inlet pits and extensive stormwater culverts, as well as lighting upgrades.
  • Trinity Beach Rd ($2 million): Council has allocated over $2 million for the upgrade of the Trinity Beach Rd/Navigation Drive intersection.

There is $800,000 for the upgrade and maintenance of bridges, which includes $400,000 as part of the annual bridge renewal program, $350,000 for pedestrian bridge renewal and $50,000 for renewal works at Saltwater Creek bridge.

Council has earmarked $355,000 for bus stop improvements, $150,000 for guardrail renewal and $700,000 for the Safe School Transport program, which includes projects that improve the safety and accessibility of transport infrastructure around schools.

As part of the 2024/25 program, Council has committed to build a Stop, Drop and Go facility at Gordonvale State School.

Council will also invest more than $476,000 to upgrade lighting along roads and footpaths, with a focus on improving safety and reducing running costs.

There is also $370,000 to improve lighting at the Southern Esplanade carpark.

Reseals / Overlays / Pavement rehabilitation – $12.67 million

Council’s annual reseal and overlay program will keep the city’s roads in good condition, with $2 million allocated in the asphalt overlay program, over $2.6 million in the reseal program, and more than $6 million for pavement rehabilitation.

Pavement Rehabilitation Program

A commitment of over $6 million will help ensure Council roads are maintained to a safe and suitable standard.

Council manages about 1360km of roads which are primarily reconstructed and renewed through the annual Pavement Rehabilitation Program.

Regular monitoring of roads through an inspection program and a condition assessment system prioritises those roads requiring renewal.

Roads identified for renewal through the Pavement Rehabilitation Program in the next 12 months include Mona St, Green St, Mt Peter Rd and Cheviot St for major rehabilitation, with various sites across the region identified for minor rehabilitation works.

Reseal Program – $2.6 million

Council will spend almost $2.6 million on maintaining the surface layer of its roads, which is critical to extending the life of the underlying pavement.

The annual Reseal Program plays a vital role in extending the life of Council roads by applying a protective reseal layer over the existing sealed surface.

This helps to prevent moisture from penetrating through deteriorated or oxidised bitumen seals into the underlying pavement, which results in costly repairs.

Asphalt Overlay Program – $2 million

Council has endorsed a $2 million Asphalt Overlay Program, with the most significant allocations earmarked for Marshall St, sections of Sheridan St and Mulgrave Rd, Swallow Rd, Poolwood Rd, Woopen Creek Rd, and Peacock St.

The program involves the removal and replacement of deteriorated or oxidised asphalt, which prevents moisture from penetrating into the underlying pavement, and provides a safe, smooth and sustainable surface for traffic.

Kerb and channel and shoulder sealing program – $2.6 million

Council has budgeted almost $2.6m to its annual kerb and channel and shoulder sealing program.

The investment reinforces the importance of this infrastructure in assisting with road drainage and preventing water entering under the road surface.

This improves safety, helps to preserve road conditions and reduce ongoing maintenance costs, and contributes to the aesthetics of the city.

Council maintains about 1642km of kerb and channel.

Stormwater and flood mitigation – $4.62 million

Council has committed $4.62 million to ensure the city’s stormwater drainage network is working at maximum efficiency and to improve flood mitigation.

This includes $720,000 for the annual culvert renewal program, $100,000 for stormwater relining, $500,000 for underground stormwater drain renewals and $703,000 for the renewal of concrete lined drains.

There is $50,000 for an upgrade to McLeod St drainage, $100,000 for White Rock stormwater trunk infrastructure, $20,000 for the Esplanade stormwater outlet, and $168,000 for works at the McKinnon Creek Detention Basin in Edmonton.

Beach erosion control

There is almost $2.75 million allocated for erosion control measures at Holloways Beach and Clifton Beach.

This includes the construction of three breakwaters at Clifton Beach to provide longer term protection of the foreshore and reduce sand loss.

The rock structures, which will be about 28m x 18m in size, will be constructed on the shoreline and aim to trap sand being transported north along Clifton Beach to reduce long-term erosion and lessen the need for regular sand nourishment programs.

The State Government has committed $985,300 of funding to this project under the Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program (CERMP).

There is also funding for beach sand nourishment at Clifton Beach and Holloways Beach.

Community, sport, and cultural

Footpaths, cycleways and walking trails – $4.7 million

Council has allocated $3 million for new footpaths and pathways to promote active travel in this year’s budget, up from a $1 million allocation in the previous year.

This will allow for about 7.5km of new footpaths that will improve connectivity in the suburbs.

Council has also set aside $600,000 to upgrade and renew existing footpaths.

The eastern side of the Red Arrow trail is to be completely refurbished through a $900,000 commitment, and there is a further $100,000 set aside for the renewal of other trails.

Cultural facilities – $2.76 million

Council has set aside over $315,000 to complete refurbishment of the former Mulgrave Shire Council office building and $850,000 to complete the detailed design for a future gallery, which has been funded largely by the Federal Government.

This work is part of the Cairns Gallery Precinct, which aims to link three heritage-listed buildings – the Cairns Art Gallery, the Court House Gallery and the former Mulgrave Shire Council office – to create a dynamic and world-class gallery facility.

The Cairns Performing Arts Centre will benefit from $184,000 in this year’s budget for the renewal of facilities, while $75,000 has been allocated for works at Munro Martin Parklands.

There is more than $1.3 million allocated for works at the Tanks Arts Centre, including $1.2 million for amenities at Tanks 3 and 5.

Community facilities – $1.2 million

More than $1.2 million has been committed to improving libraries and community halls and centres.

The library budget allocates $680,000 to refresh Smithfield Library, which will include a reconfiguration to respond to current needs, as well as an upgrade of facilities.

There is $250,000 allocated to progress design works for the proposed Cairns Community and Multicultural Centre in White Rock, while $100,000 has been committed to upgrade and renew other community activity spaces.

Council has also set aside $175,000 for annual Botanic Gardens renewal.

Sporting facilities – $2.2 million

Council has committed over $2.2 million to the upgrade and renewal of sporting facilities.

This includes $1.5 million to complete lighting and audio-visual upgrades to Barlow Park.

The $10 million project, which has $4 million in State Government funding, will ensure the facility meets TV broadcast standards.

There is also $500,000 to complete upgrades to Touch Park in Aeroglen.

Aquatic facilities – $3.5 million

Council has earmarked over $3 million to spend on its aquatic facilities, including $862,000 on its annual renewal program, $850,000 for the recoating of slides at Sugarworld Adventure Park, $800,000 for filtration upgrades at Smithfield Pool, and $334,000 for the replacement of sand filters at Woree Pool.

An additional $500,000 is allocated for works at the Esplanade Lagoon, which includes $400,000 for the biennial maintenance program.

The maintenance program is essential to ensure the city’s most iconic feature remains in top condition. Works include servicing and repairs to the pool’s surface, lighting, pump systems and amenities.

Parks, playgrounds and skateparks – $2.75 million

A number of parks will be improved this year with the budget allocating funds for new and renewal of playground equipment, as well as the upgrade of skating facilities.

Stage 1 redevelopment of Pyramid Parklands Gujura (formerly Kenrick Street Park) will be completed with $1.35 million in this year’s budget.

The park covers 5.7 hectares in Gordonvale, which has been identified as a key population growth area in the southern part of the Cairns Regional Council area.

The $6 million project includes a commitment of $3 million in funding from the Queensland Government.

There is also $100,000 to start planning on Stage 2 of the redevelopment of Pyramid Parklands Gujura.

The budget also allows for $477,000 for the redevelopment of the Redlynch Skate Park, $270,000 for the renewal of Henley Hill Park in Earlville, $100,000 for the Esplanade Skate Park, $100,000 to progress the Jeff Pezzutti Park improvement plan, and $25,000 for Fuller Park in Edmonton.

There is an additional $160,000 for general park renewal, as well as $170,000 specifically for Esplanade renewal.

Public toilet facilities – $520,000

Council has committed $450,000 to upgrade the public toilet at Ellis Beach to ensure it is Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) compliant.

The facility will also help service users of the future Wangetti Trail, a multi-use and mountain biking track from Palm Cove to Port Douglas being delivered by the State Government.

There is an additional $70,000 for general public toilet renewals.

Cemeteries – $725,000

Council has allocated $725,000 for cemetery works, which includes $100,000 for renewals and $625,000 for new works.

This includes $600,000 to complete the expansion of Forest View Cemetery in Mount Sheridan, which incorporates a new mausoleum.

/Public Release. View in full here.