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 progress and will deliver a bigger, better Cairns Convention Centre.
The upgraded Centre will support ongoing employment opportunities in hospitality, logistics, security, and maintenance.
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. The Centre has now resumed operations. For upcoming events, please visit the what's on page.
This refurbishment stage was completed in early May 2021 and 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.
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 within a 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
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.
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 September 2021 to February 2022.
Find out more
Email CairnsConventionCentre@epw.qld.gov.au for more information about the project.
- Last updated:
- 7 July 2023