The Queensland Government has effectively turned the imminent Cairns Regional Council election into a referendum on the proposed Cairns Entertainment Precinct.
The State Government has told the Council it can’t proceed on the project until after the local government elections on April 28. The Council says the delay could compromise the 155 million dollar project, which was based on Federal and State financial support.
Cairns Mayor Val Schier had to use her casting vote to split a tie when Council met to decide whether the project would go ahead. It has strong support in the local arts & entertainment scene, and is generally seen as a generator of much-needed jobs in the construction industry. But there has also been vocal opposition to the Precinct based on cost, location, and the existence of other venues around Cairns.
The State Government order to Council is in keeping with election rules that say a council is in “caretaker” mode once an election has been called, and can’t make new decisions. But proponents of the Entertainment Precinct believe the new LNP Government may be backing away from funding commitments made by the previous Labor Government.
Listen to Cairns mayor Val Schier on the latest development.
Listen to Local Government Minister David Crisafulli explain the decision his government made.
Reporting by Brad Ryan