Townsville Waterfront Redevelopment City’s number one priority for Federal Budget

11th May 2024

As the Federal Budget approaches, Townsville’s city leaders have identified a single major infrastructure priority and are urging the Federal Government to allocate an additional $100 million to kickstart Phase One of the Townsville Waterfront's revitalisation, focusing on the Global Great Barrier Reef Centre of Excellence.  

In collaboration with Townsville City Council and the Port of Townsville, Townsville Enterprise unveiled plans in March to transform the waterfront precinct. The inaugural phase features the Global Great Barrier Reef Centre of Excellence, anchored by a cutting-edge Aquarium designed to offer a more immersive and sustainable experience. This initiative aims to foster collaboration among leading marine science institutions, including the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, AIMS (Australian Institute of Marine Science), and James Cook University.  

Claudia Brumme-Smith, CEO of Townsville Enterprise, emphasised the significance of next week's Federal budget for the project.  

“Our city has been on a transformation journey for decades, and the time has now come to accelerate that growth and liveability with a new face for our waterfront,” said Ms. Brumme-Smith.” 

“More than 4 months ago, Townsville Enterprise on behalf of our city and region submitted the Townsville Waterfront as part of our Federal budget submission and we eagerly await a response next week.” 

“The importance of the first stage of the Global Great Barrier Reef Centre of Excellence cannot be underestimated – it will help establish Townsville as one of regional Australia’s most liveability cities, it will drive tourism and economic benefit, and will provide a precinct that showcases and educates the world about our beloved Great Barrier Reef in a way that Australia's greatest natural asset deserves.” 

“The Great Barrier Reef Aquarium, formally Reef HQ, has been a cornerstone for the Townsville North Queensland community and it has played a pivotal role in sharing the stories of the Reef with the world – the reimaged Aquarium will take this a step further.” 

“The Aquarium component within the Great Barrier Reef Centre of Excellence will alone generate more than 1,300 direct and indirect jobs across our region and contribute over $444M to our local economy. No other community or tourism project in the region promises this same scale of economic benefit, global profile and education and conservation advantage.”   

“We have a plan, our vision is set, the business case stacks up, our city leaders are in agreeance, and we have a community crying out to see the Aquarium reopen in a bigger and better way – this is why the time for the Federal Government to double down on their commitment to the Aquarium is now.”  

Townsville Mayor Troy Thompson said Townsville City Council backed the call for funding towards the new Aquarium.  

“As a hub for world-class research and education opportunities, having the Grear Barrier Reef Aquarium at the heart of our city's transformation is critical,” Mayor Thompson said. 

“It will be here in Townsville where science and research unite to bolster educational opportunities when it comes to Australia’s greatest natural asset and the world’s largest coral reef – the Great Barrier Reef.” 

“This project has been stalled for too long, we need to see the Federal Government commit an additional $100M to the precinct to kickstart what will be a significant game changer for our already growing and evolving city.”  

“As a city we have met globally recognized sustainability standards to achieve ECO Destination Certification, and a facility like the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium will go a long way in helping us tell the story of our city and region.” 

“As a Council we are continuously working to grow Townsville and enhance our existing tourism offerings while supporting the creation of new landmark tourism destinations, of which the Great Barrier Reef Aquarium and the broader Waterfront development will certainly be fantastic additions.” 


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