Featured News JCU seeks industry partners for a healthy future

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Thu, 14 Sep 2023

JCU seeks industry partners for a healthy future

An artist's impression of people working on the Dugurrdja Precinct, near the courtyard

James Cook University has released an industry prospectus for the Far North Queensland Health and Innovation Precinct (FNQHIP), a development that could attract an estimated $300-$500M in construction investment to inner-city Cairns.

The site, on the corner of Sheridan and Charles Streets in Cairns North, was recently named the Dugurrdja Precinct. The name Dugurrdja was gifted to the Precinct by the Gimuy Walubara Yidinji people, the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Precinct will stand.

Dugurrdja is the Yidinji name of the galaxy of the Milky Way – a symbol of the knowledge, stories and songlines that flow through Yidinji country, representing the coming together of knowledge in the Precinct.

There are two projects already planned for the Dugurrdja Precinct.

JCU’s Cairns Tropical Enterprise Centre (CTEC), due for completion in early 2025, will accommodate clinical skills training, alongside teaching and research in medicine, nursing, allied health and a broad range of related disciplines.

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service (CHHHS) has announced a 32-bed surgical centre for the Precinct, to open in 2026, as part of the $250M Cairns Hospital Expansion project.

“With Hospital and University plans now in place, we’re seeking industry partners who will share our vision of a precinct supporting collaboration between clinicians, educators, researchers and innovators,” JCU Vice Chancellor Simon Biggs said.

“The community of interests already committed to the Precinct, and its location in inner-city Cairns, make this a development that will help shape the city’s future.

“We’re asking enterprises, from healthcare providers to innovators in health-related technology, to take a big-picture view of our region’s future – including ways in which solutions to local challenges might be applicable across the north, and in our Asia-Pacific region.

“If your vision is about creating a healthier Far North Queensland, we’d like to hear from you,” Professor Biggs said.

Leena Singh, Chief Executive of Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, said it’s set to be a world-class precinct.

“It will enable a dynamic, interdisciplinary community that accelerates discovery, learning and opportunity,” Ms Singh said.

“The health, education and research precinct will be a place where our clinicians from all disciplines will be able to partner with some of the best minds and organisations in researching matters that will make a difference to the health outcomes of Far North Queenslanders.”

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said investment from industry partners, combined with the support for the Precinct at every level of government, would add significant value to the region’s economy.

“This Precinct is an important step in helping Cairns Hospital achieve University Hospital status. We’re pleased to see it progressing,” Councillor Manning said.

“The healthcare and social assistance sector is our city’s largest, by a significant margin, in terms of employment and economic contribution.

“Development of this site will create construction jobs and promote economic growth, and the Precinct’s ongoing work will expand our knowledge economy, generating jobs in healthcare, education, research and innovation,” he said.

The Precinct could accommodate five or more further buildings, depending on the size and nature of the proposals received.

The prospectus is available at: https://www.jcu.edu.au/dugurrdja-precinct