CQUniversity was welcomed to Cairns in 2012 when it opened a modest study centre to better service the 500-plus online study students who were enrolled with the University in the Cairns region at the time. The ensuing growth in student enrolments and community impact was phenomenal and soon after, CQUniversity moved into a much larger and more prominent CBD location at Cairns Square, where it remains based today.

The Cairns region has been a major point of investment for CQUniversity over the years, and has been tremendously successful in growing student numbers, campus size, and community impact from its ambitious education and social agendas. Up until now, CQUniversity has driven this growth and community impact from its own financial resources. CQUniversity has reached saturation point at its current campus much sooner than forecast, and now needs to establish itself in a larger, permanent CBD campus location. The new campus will cater for the next stages of the University’s growth in the region and allow for continued community impact. To do this CQUniversity requires co-investment from the Government.


It is now time for CQUniversity to cement its presence in Far North Queensland permanently and further increase its engagement with the region’s communities and industries.

This will involve the University delivering on the next stage of its community impact, forecast student growth, expanded course offerings, and industry engagement. To do this, the University will deliver a broader scope of teaching, research and community engagement opportunities that not only benefit local and international students, but also the economic and social drivers of the region.

The CQUniversity Cairns Community Impact Plan is designed to have a direct, tangible and positive impact on the industries, economies and communities that underpin the prosperity of Cairns and the Far North. The plan has been developed in consultation with key industry and community partners, with a genuine focus on future prosperity, regional success, jobs growth, sustainability and social and cultural development.

To achieve this, the plan comprises six key projects which will build upon both short-term and long-term opportunities to advance Cairns, the Far North and Northern Australia.

CQUniversity will establish a permanent, purpose-built CBD campus, capable of accommodating 2 500-plus students. The new permanent campus will deliver an expanded range of training, education and research offerings that will diversify and grow the local economy and skilled workforce, while stimulating greater international student numbers in the CBD.

This will cement CQUniversity’s presence in Cairns with a permanent CBD campus, designed to cater for ongoing growth, while galvanising Cairns’ identity as an agile, innovative two-university city. The new campus will give CQUniversity the security it needs to invest further in Cairns.

CQUniversity will develop a state-of-the-art Aviation and Engineering Centre of Excellence with a facility to be constructed at Cairns International Airport. This Centre will be run by leading industry experts utilising the latest in high-fidelity flight simulation technology. The Centre will be embedded firmly within industry, and be driven by engagement with industry, to firmly position Cairns as a leader for world-class aviation training in the Asia -Pacific region.

CQUniversity will establish an Indigenous Research Centre and associated Think Tank, providing an avenue for First Peoples' to promote timely, evidence-based research and the coordinated delivery of education and development activities that respond to the needs of the world’s First Peoples and their communities, particularly in Northern Australia. The Think Tank will explore opportunities and bring together community leaders and experts to discuss and debate policies and their impacts on the lives of First Peoples'. It will focus on the advancement of a big-picture approach and long-term commitment towards social justice, economic independence, innovation and building opportunities.

CQUniversity will deliver a contemporary creative and performing arts precinct, encompassing a 150-seat rehearsal and performance facility and state-of-the-art digital media labs and production studios. This will be the first time industry-focused courses designed to graduate music, acting and dance artists will be delivered in Cairns. In conjunction with this, CQUniversity will also deliver sector-leading digital media and production courses that will develop highly-skilled graduates who can engage with and share the messages of local communities and industries.

The CQUniversity Creative and Performing Arts Precinct will encourage the growth of the emerging creative enterprises industry in the Far North, adding to the rich cultural capital nurtured by Cairns, and stemming the flow of talent otherwise lost to the metropolitan regions. It will also provide opportunities for the local community to engage with and support arts and culture on a regular basis.

CQUniversity will extend its suite of existing, high-impact Cairns-based research capabilities that are already delivering genuine results in the fields of Indigenous health and education, and regional economic growth. The impact of this research will mean local findings will further influence policy and decision-making by government and non-government groups alike, helping to unlock the full economic potential of the Cairns region.

This teaching, training and research facility will be embedded within Cairns’ only national professional sports team, the CQUniversity Cairns NBL Taipans.  It will be based within the Cairns Basketball Stadium complex, enjoying full utilisation of existing community facilities. It will allow for the development of the only educational qualifications of their kind in Australia, with students and researchers working side-by-side with professional athletes, coaches and sports administrators in the fields of sports science, management and marketing. The state-of-the-art facility will include purpose-built sports biomechanics, performance analysis and skill acquisition laboratories and athlete recovery facilities. There will also be the potential for clinical training facilities for physiotherapy and other health science disciplines with a focus on sports injury prevention and functional rehabilitation.

CQUniversity Cairns Community Impact Plan Transcript