Cairns’s economy is in trouble, with tourism way down and unemployment at 11-12%. It’s understandable therefore the Government would consider a range of ideas to boost its economy. The Government’s latest idea, as reported in the Cairns Post, is to prop up the local economy by transferring a bunch of public service jobs to Cairns:
A high-level push to lure thousands of State Government bureaucrats to Cairns is gathering steam in an unprecedented bid to ease the boom and bust cycle plaguing the Far Northern economy.
Large sections of two departments are being mooted as possible transfer targets, with Premier Anna Bligh setting up a special committee to look at the logistics of such a move. More details are tipped to be unveiled when the Premier visits Cairns during the temporary move of her office to Townsville for a week in October.
It comes as a new CommSec research report singled out Cairns as being on such shaky economic ground that government intervention was needed to stave off the continuing tourism downturn.
Moving thousands of public servants to Cairns is unlikely to be a good idea. With the projected impacts of climate change, life in our tropical cities will become less pleasant. Also as a community we may be better off accepting that tourism may have encouraged Cairns to grow too large, and migration out of Cairns to other regions in Queensland (such as Gladstone or the booming Surat Basin communities) may be appropriate. After all, Cairns population (164,000) is 2.5-3 times what it was in the mid 1980s (around 60,000). The Government will need to think carefully about trying to artificially prop up Cairns’s economy with an injection of public servants.