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Specialising in northern and regional Australia

Features of this website include :

Some Recent Studies

Research projects during 2014-15-16 included:

Handshakes »

The Cairns Chamber of Commerce is one of the leading business organisations in Cairns, established for over 100 years and a representative of the local business community.

Advance Cairns is the peak coordination agency for economic development in TNQ. Our vision is to develop a vibrant and sustainable regional economy that promotes and facilitates diverse employment, growth, social and lifestyle opportunities.

You may recognise Tropical North Queensland (TNQ) as a world famous tourism destination in Australia, but here at Think TNQ you will also learn what it has to offer in terms of opportunities for business, investment and lifestyle.

TTNQ is the peak regional visitor destination marketing organisation for Tropical North Queensland, Cairns & Great Barrier Reef.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) is an Australian Government initiative that brings together all levels of government to enhance the growth and development of Australia's regions. A national network of RDA committees has been established to achieve this objective.

One of the world's leading institutions focusing on the tropics, Australia's James Cook University is surrounded by the spectacular ecosystems of the rainforests of the Wet tropics, the dry savannahs, and the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Our unique location enables students from Australia and overseas to study in a diverse physical environment unparalleled by any university in the world.

Ports North has played a significant role in the growth and development of the region over the past 100 years. It has been managing the operations of the Port of Cairns since 1906, Ports North is committed to the community and our environment.

The Cairns Airport is Australia’s leading regional airport, providing air links to a range of domestic and international locations.

The Mareeba Chamber of Commerce is committed to business and community interests in Mareeba and surrounding districts. We provide a wide range of services to business including scheduling and co-ordination of a number of opportunities and events.

The Hinchinbrook Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism Inc. aspires to be the communities' finest public leader within its market place. Dedicated to serving the business sector, with accessible information to changes or developments happening around us.

The RAI is Australia’s first national, apolitical, independent think tank devoted exclusively to regional issues. Our job is to conduct research into priority policy areas for regional Australia.

Cairns and PNG are ideally positioned to be trade partners. Economic, social and cultural links are strong, and the respective Chambers of Commerce work cooperatively and productively.

Links »

> Australian Bureau of Statistics
> Australian Market and Social Research Society
> The Economic Society of Australia
> Regional Science Association Australia and New Zealand Section Inc.

Publications »

Cairns Chamber of Commerce Yearbook 2014

Cairns Chamber of Commerce
Yearbook 2014



July, 2016
Achieving "Lift Off"
Trends & Prospects for the Cairns / Tropical North QLD Economy

Bill Cummings presented his annual review of the economy to the Cairns Chamber of Commerce on 26th July 2016.

2mb (pdf presentation) 149kb (pdf text) RefJ2992

June, 2016
Statistical Note - Queensland Budget

This note analyses the Queensland budget capital expenditure by regions (Statistical Area Level 4). It indicates that again the Cairns region had the lowest per capita spending outside of Greater Brisbane area and that, far from being a budget for regional Queensland, the increase in 2016-17 on 2015-16 was 12.9% for Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast compared with regional Queensland 4.5%.

547kb (pdf note) Ref:J2909

March, 2016
Residential Population Growth - Cairns / Tropical North Region Continues to Lead in the North.

2014-15 was a poor year for growth in regional Queensland outside the South East corner. However the Cairns region continued to consolidate its position as the fastest growing and most populous in the North with the wider Cairns/Tropical North Queensland region including Cairns City, the immediate region and the Peninsula, Torres and Gulf areas increasing by 2,329 to 282,790.

Census 2016 is likely to see 'on-the-ground' population in the Tropical North Queensland region including visitors pass the 300,000 mark.

224kb (pdf note) Ref:J2971

January, 2016
Statistical Note: Cairns long-term population statistics 1891-2011.

An update of one prepared earlier that now brings the data up to 2011 (based on the last census count).

315kb (pdf note) Ref:J2950

November, 2015
Statistical Note - 2015/16 Queensland Budget and the Cairns Region.

Identified that the Cairns region received the lowest per capita budget allocated for capital works in regional Queensland and has suffered the biggest decline in allocations over the past four years.

398kb (pdf note) Ref:J2909

November, 2015
Statistical Note - Queensland Population Growth Coastal Regional Cities and Immediate Hinterlands.

This research looks at growth in population 1991-2014 Queensland Statistical Regions Level 4 of Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Fitzroy and Wide Bay and contrasts the pattern with Queensland Infrastructure Plan forward projections.

231kb (pdf note) Ref:J2926

November, 2015
Douglas Shire in Tourism Development in Tropical North Queensland.

Bill Cummings presented an address to the 2015 Douglas Business Forum on Thursday the 12th November 2015 on the vital role of Douglas Shire in the development of tourism in tropical North Queensland

1.6mb (pdf presentation) 142kb (pdf text) RefJ2919

Ocotober, 2015
Address / Presentation - Energy Trends and Issues - Commonwealth Bank Seminar.

Addresses the question of energy trends and issues, especially as they affect likely future costs of grid electricity.

637kb (pdf note) Ref:J2921 5.4mb (ppsx presentation) Ref:J2921

October, 2015
Statistical Note : Outback QLD Statistical Division gives population serviced by major regional cities.

200kb (pdf note)

The Tropical Dimension

Early advice of and invitation to record interest in receiving further information about a book by W S (Bill) Cummings being prepared for publication. The book reviews tropical Australia's development in a global context and the geographical and historical reasons for the lag that occurred in development in tropical areas and how and why that lag is now being overcome.

Record your interest here

October, 2015
Project : Regional Input/Output Multiplier Economic Models

Input/output multiplier tables : North Australia Research Group modified National Data Models have been prepared for the following regions by industry classifications:

Queensland, Tropical North Queensland, Cairns SA4 Region, Tablelands, Cassowary Coast, Douglas, Cook, Gulf.

Copies are available on application for a fee. For further details, contact cummings@cummings.net.au

October, 2015 Statistical Note : QLD Budget

The 2015-16 Queensland Budget and the Cairns Region : Indicates that the Cairns region received the lowest per capita allocation for capital spending in regional Queensland.

211kb (pdf note)

October, 2015
Statistical Note : Cairns/Tropical North Queensland Reaches 300,000 Population Milestone.

The Cairns based Tropical North Queensland "on the ground" population has passed a major milestone.

At the time of the 2011 Census, ‘on the ground’ population count was 293,000. Residential and visitor population has grown since then and on current trends can be expected to record, in next year’s census, an ‘on the ground’ population of the order of 310,000.

At the time of the 2011 Census, the ‘on the ground’ population was distributed: Cairns, Cassowary Coast and Tablelands area 252,000, Peninsula and Gulf 40,000.

The ‘on the ground’ 2011 Census count for the Cairns/Tropical North Queensland region of 292,000 compares with the other major northern regions of Townsville/Mt Isa region of 257,000 and Northern Territory of 234,000.

August, 2015
Agriculture in the Cairns/Tropical North Queensland Region

Provides a brief note on the new wave of agricultural development now taking place in the region.

396kb (pdf note)

July, 2015
The Cairns Economy and the New Economic Fundamentals
"Getting Beyond the Uncertainties"

Bill Cummings presented his annual address to the Cairns Chamber of Commerce on 28th July 2015, with assistance of a ppt presentation.

2mb (pdf presentation) 97kb (pdf text) RefJ2776

July, 2015
Statistical Note

Cairns region is now among Australia's top fruit growing regions.

The Cairns region is now the third largest fruit growing region in Australia with a value of production in 2012-13 recorded at over $500 million.

224kb (pdf note) RefJ2894

July, 2015
The Tropical Turnaround and Its Implications for the Australian Economy

Paper presented to the Urban and Regional Economics Section of the Australian Conference of Economists held at Queensland University of Technology, 9th July 2015.

1mb (pdf report) RefJ2836

June, 2015
Cairns Shipping Development Project

Cummings Economics provided a submission to the Office of the Coordinator-General commenting on the draft EIS for the Cairns Shipping Development Project, especially on economic aspects.

4.4mb (pdf report) RefJ2865

May, 2015
Long-Term Population Trends in Regional Queensland and Northern Australia

Cummings Economics prepared two research papers for Cairns Regional Council identifying long-term population trends:

The trends are analysed over the 35-year period 1976 to the last figures verified by the 2011 Census and the 20-year 1991 to 2011 and 10-year 2001 to 2011 periods.

They illustrate the leading role in long-term population growth of the Cairns and Wide Bay Burnett regions in Queensland, and the Cairns region and Northern Territory across the North.

Analysis of regional city growth shows similar patterns.

The papers comment on why the patterns have been occurring and provide estimates of 2050 populations based on the 35, 20 and 10-year trajectories continuing.

Nth Australia 1.7mb (pdf report)
Qld Regions 1.6mb (pdf report)


March, 2015
FNQ Region's Major Projects & Investments

Cairns Chamber of Commerce has released an updated list detailing $16 billion in projects underway or proposed for the Cairns & Far North Queensland region.

180kb (pdf)

February, 2015

Bill Cummings addressed the Cairns Forum for Business Growth highlighting the favourable impacts on the Cairns economy of a lower dollar and lower interest rates and the surge of new investment taking place.

290kb (pdf note) RefJ2840

February, 2015

The State of Queensland has grown faster than New South Wales and Victoria in recent decades. Why?

This note comments on an erroneous view put forward by the Mayors of South East Queensland - a view that if followed, would cramp Queensland's progress, including the process of Brisbane continuing to close up on Sydney and Melbourne as a competitor metropolitan service centre.

The real direct economic reason is that Queensland has massively increased earnings from the rest of the world outside of Queensland.

The origin of almost all of that increase has been outside of Brisbane and the south east, in northern and central Queensland and the West.

273kb (pdf note) RefJ2833

February, 2015
Note on Recent Exchange Rate Movements

A drop in the value of the Australian dollar against the US dollar is overall, good for Cairns. However the falls were not as strong across all currencies.

369kb (pdf note) RefJ2835

December, 2014
Population of Northern Australia Now Approaching 6% of Australian Total

Growth rate of population of Northern Australia has been out pacing that of Southern Australia and is now approaching 6% of the total.

654kb (pdf note)

December, 2014
Understanding Our Part of the World - Statistical Tables / Charts / Maps

As part of preparation for the Cairns G20 Finance Ministers Conference, Cummings Economics prepared for Cairns Post, some 14 key statistical charts, maps and comments that the region's businesses and organisations are free to use. (We would appreciate attribution.)

570kb (pdf paper)

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