Hundreds of local construction workers will be needed to help build the $176 million Cairns Convention Centre refurbishment and expansion project, with the managing contractor for the project officially signed.
The Queensland Government has appointed Lendlease as managing contractor to build a new entry, space for 30 exhibitors’ booths, three meeting rooms covering a total of 420 square metres, a flat floor space for 450 people and a rooftop banqueting space for 410 people.
Up to 570 jobs are expected to be created, with 130 trade packages required during the life of the project.
Significant refurbishment works will also take place, including upgrades to the building services, new audio-visual systems, replacing the roof, improving public spaces and amenities and upgrading food and beverage facilities.
Lendlease has previously worked on similar projects, such as the International Convention Centre Sydney and Adelaide Convention Centre.
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Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that her government had appointed Lendlease Building Pty Limited as the managing contractor after it put forward a strong case to leverage their economic value for the region by supporting quality local jobs.
“This expansion is not only creating jobs now but will help the city attract new conferences and events of even greater sizes and complexity which will ensure Cairns has a competitive advantage and pride of place on the global conventions calendar, creating even more jobs in the future,” she said.
Member for Cairns Michael Healy welcomed the news and said he would be keeping a close eye on the project to ensure maximum local benefit.
“Lendlease has a team based in Cairns with a very strong record of delivering major government projects and our deal with them contractually requires them to engage local tradies on the opportunities to tender for convention centre works packages,” Healy said.
“I’d urge local tradies to make the most of this significant opportunity because ticking the right boxes when tendering for this project will help when tendering for other government work.
“While the expansion alone will support up to 570 jobs over the lifetime of the project, the flow on benefits will be far reaching with additional direct and indirect employment opportunities long into the future through hospitality, logistics, security and maintenance.”
“We’re proud to once again be engaged by the Queensland Government in the delivery of important public infrastructure for the state,” Lendlease General Manager Building Queensland Brad Protheroe said.
“Leveraging our local presence and our commitment to regional Queensland, we will continue to work with industry to ensure that the engagement of local sub-contractors and suppliers on the Cairns Convention Centre project will be optimised to deliver long-term economic benefit to the region.
“Importantly, we are partnering with Queensland Government to create more jobs in local communities for women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, the long-term unemployed and apprentices as part of the project’s delivery.”
Stage one planning has now begun, with work expected to take place in May 2020. The centre will remain open an operation until this date. The Cairns Convention Centre is due to reopen in 2022.