The new $10 million Building Resilient Tourism Infrastructure Program by the Queensland Government is now open to applications by tourism businesses in Far North Queensland, to help prepare for future cyclones and floods. 

The program allows tourism business operators who were severely impacted by Tropical Cyclone Jasper in December to build back better with flood-resilient infrastructure.

The program is jointly funded by the Federal and State Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Business operators can buy plants and equipment such as solar power with battery storage, a pump or water extraction system, hoist systems to raise equipment above known flood levels, safety upgrades or develop early warning systems.

Applications for grants, up to $250,000 per project, are available to 19 April 2024, with the projects to be completed by 30 November 2025.

Tourism operators must be located in the Cairns, Douglas, Tablelands, Cassowary Coast, Hope Vale, Wujal Wujal, Cook, Mareeba and Yarrabah Council areas.

The package is part of the $24.15 million Tourism Recovery and Resilience Program and supplements an initial $5 million Tourism Recovery package announced in December that included hardship assistance, discounted flights and accommodation.   

A dedicated Tourism Recovery Officer has also been recruited by Tourism Tropical North Queensland to provide support to affected operators.

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said that tourism is the lifeblood of Far North Queensland, and having strong, resilient tourism operators is great for the community, and great for visitors.

“We know FNQ is tough, and by investing in measures that will lessen the impacts of future weather events, we’ll keep people and businesses safer,” Mr Watt said. 

“The Federal Government is pleased to work with the Queensland Government to fund this important work.”          

Federal Minister for Tourism, Don Farrell, said that tourism businesses in the regions know what it takes to rebuild after extreme weather.

“These grants are about supporting local businesses to invest in infrastructure and equipment that will help them open their doors sooner after the storm has passed,” Mr Farrell said. 

“This is not just good for local tourism operators and local jobs, but also for all the local businesses that depend on visitors to the region.”

Queensland Minister for Tourism, Michael Healy, said that the State Government is helping Tropical North tourism businesses recover, but also wants them to start thinking about how to be better prepared next time around.

“It was important for us to make these funds available quickly so tourism operators could plan their longer-term infrastructure upgrades while recovering from the recent cyclone and flooding,” Mr Healy said. 

“This is all about developing a more sustainable and resilient tourism industry, so we can keep tourism businesses going when the next natural disaster arrives.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO, Mark Olsen, said that the Tropical North Queensland tourism industry has seen the devastating impacts of extended business closures and knows that the sooner a business can reopen the more likely it is to survive long term.

“Having businesses closed also has a lingering impact on traveller confidence in a destination,” Mr Olsen said. 

“This grant will help tourism operators undertaking repairs to further increase their resilience when faced with extreme weather and build back better to reopen sooner.

“It is a welcome relief for businesses wanting to reduce the risk of being impacted by events outside their control and will also help businesses who want to be more sustainable.”

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