The State Government will deregulate air services between Cairns and Weipa, allowing the route to open up to new operators, more competition and new services.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said the route, currently operated solely by QantasLink, was one of the more popular regional air routes in Queensland.
“There’s been a growing demand for services between Cairns and Weipa with patronage growing by more than 15 per cent over the last two financial years,” he said.
“As demand for this particular route continues to increase it made sense to open it out to the wider market and remove the need for regulation.
“Passengers, as well as local councils and industry partners provided input and detailed submissions into the review.
“The route will become fully deregulated by the end of 2014 which will allow other operators to start planning.”
Three new flood boats have been delivered to State Emergency Service (SES) branches in the Far North.
Police and Community Safety Minister Jack Dempsey said the Cairns SES Unit, Buchan Point SES Unit and Holloways Beach SES Unit received a boat each and they were already being put to good use.
“The flood boats were delivered recently and have been used for training purposes both at the Group level and at regional flood boat courses,” Mr Dempsey said.
“The boats are part of the Queensland Flood Commission of Inquiry (QFCoI) program which will deliver a total of 56 flood boats across the state.”
Emergency Management Queensland Regional Director Northern, Wayne Coutts said the boats would allow SES members an even greater ability to assist the community whenever and wherever needed.
According to local REIQ members, the region’s property market has turned a corner. Local agents said buyer enquiries had increased significantly.
“Our buyer enquiry rate has risen sharply this calendar year. Our sales contract rate is way above the previous two years,” an agent in Innisfail said.
“Vendors who realise our market has slipped basically to pre-Cyclone Larry prices are receiving contracts. Our area received a boost in confidence last December when it was announced the Ella Bay project had received Federal and State approvals. The project still has a long way to go but here’s hoping.”
Likewise in Cairns, agents are reporting improving confidence levels in the both the sales and rental markets.
“Early stages of confidence are returning. Investors are sniffing around which shows we are passing through the bottom of the cycle,” the agent said.
“Houses are in short supply and rents are increasing. Units are lagging behind houses but we are still nudging rents where we are able. It is time for investors buy or start building in Cairns as it will never be this cheap again.”