Article – Abbott spurns CBD plan – Daniel Strudwick, The Cairns Post

Plans to transform parts of the Cairns CBD are unlikely to receive funding from a Coalition Government in Canberra because the Commonwealth’s coffers are bare and the city is already “very impressive”.
In Cairns at the weekend, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said urgent repairs for the Bruce Highway deserved national funding more than any revamp of the inner-city.
“Don’t underestimate the quality of the city as things stand,” Mr Abbott said.
“I don’t for a second deny that there is much that could be done and, in the fullness of time, ought to be done,” he said. “But let’s not run down Cairns as things stand.”
With Queensland Premier Campbell Newman expressing similar reluctance to help fund the make-over last month, Cairns Regional Council could be left with most of the $30 million bill.
The State Government has promised $5 million for the project and the council is expected to include funding in the Budget to be tabled tomorrow.
The council will start work on the first stage of the project, worth about $10 million, in September or October, with the construction of new bus stops north of City Place.
It expects to demolish the town square and improve the southern end of Lake St by mid-next year, ahead of hosting the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting in November.
But Mr Abbott insists there is no need for drastic efforts to prepare the city for the international spotlight. “Cairns is . . . a very impressive city with magnificent facilities already,” he said.
Visiting Tjapukai the day after announcing a plan to develop northern Australia, Mr Abbott said indigenous tourism would be a priority of an LNP government but the Bruce Highway was top of the list.