A leading provider of :


Specialising in northern and regional Australia


Features of this website include :




Some Recent Studies

Research projects during 2014-15-16-17 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.

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 2017



SOME INFORMATION RELEASES »

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November, 2017
Economic Activity Potentially Affected by a Change of Use of Cairns Seaport's Working Port Buffer Zone

A proposal mooted to put community facilities, this time in the form of the proposed extension of the Convention Centre, into the Buffer Zone of the Cairns Seaport "Working Port" rather than other alternatives has raised the question again of the value of trade and jobs accounted for by the general cargo wharves that would potentially be negatively affected.



280kb (pdf note) RefJ3118



November, 2017
Employment & Unemployment Statistics - A Warning
Note on employment & unemployment in the Cairns region and other regional areas in Queensland.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Labour Force Series is notoriously inaccurate in providing an indication of employment/unemployment levels and trends at a regional level.


The recent availability of 2016 Census Labour Force data gives an opportunity to check on reliability of the ABS Labour Force Series. The availability of data on registered unemployed receiving unemployment benefits also gives an opportunity to check reliability of movements indicated by the ABS Labour Force Series over the last 12 months.


The analysis in the first note clearly indicates that:

  • The ABS Labour Force unemployment rates recorded at the time of the August 2016 Census were up to 30% wrong at regional level.
  • Over the period 2011 to 2016, the ABS Labour Force Series was invariably inaccurate and at variance with what actually happened to employed workforce. In the Cairns region, the ABS Labour Force Series indicated that the employed workforce fell by 9200 between 2011 and 2016. Census information shows it actually grew by 3300.

The dramatic fall in numbers unemployed showed by the ABS series over the last 12 months is not borne out by figures for registered unemployed on unemployment benefits that actually rose slightly over the same period.



414kb (pdf note) RefJ3114A



November, 2017
Note on youth and indigenous unemployment in the Cairns region.

This note analyses Census 2016 workforce data which indicates:

  • Youth unemployment rates are about double those for the total population but the Cairns region’s rates are no higher than for Queensland overall.
  • The youth and total unemployment rates are extremely high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.
  • If the higher proportion of workforce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in the Cairns region is taken into account, the Cairns region’s youth and total population unemployment rates were lower than the State average.



417kb (pdf note) RefJ3114B




October, 2017
Survey : Impact of Higher Electricity Prices on Businesses in Regional Queensland


Compass Research carried out surveys of businesses on the question over the period July to early October 2017 in the four representative regional districts of Queensland.


Copies of the resulting reports including an overall report can be accessed by checking on www.quen.com.au



July, 2017
The New Wave : Keeping it Rolling
Trends & Prospects for the Cairns / Tropical North QLD Regional Economy


Bill Cummings presented his annual review of the economy to the Cairns Chamber of Commerce on 28th July 2017.

1.5mb (pdf presentation) 149kb (pdf text) RefJ2992



July, 2017
Intercensal Population Growth

Analysis of intercensal population growth by usual place of residence indicated that over the period 2011 to 2016 the long-term pattern in regional Queensland continued with the Cairns/TNQ leading in growth followed by Wide Bay, and across the North the Cairns/TNQ region leading followed by he Northern Territory.

293kb (pdf note)



March, 2017
Statistical Note: Population Growth 2015-16

The Cairns/Peninsula Australia (Tropical North Queensland) region continued a long-term trend of leading the way in regional population growth across the North and in regional Queensland outside the southeast corner.

280kb (pdf note) Ref:J3071


March, 2017
Statistical Note: Level of Government building approvals major Northern Australian Regions

Illustrates the extremely low level of comparative Government Building Approvals in the Cairns Region over the past 5 years.

208kb (pdf note) Ref:J3080


March, 2017
Newspaper readership

Gives latest data on newspaper readership of major regional dailies indicating that the Cairns Post is right up there with Canberra, Townsville and ahead of Geelong & Sunshine Coast papers.

250kb (pdf note) Ref:J3081



February, 2017
"Learning the Economic Lessons of the Past 10 Years"




Address to the Cairns Forum for Business Growth (F4BG) outlining how the Cairns Economy has been heavily influenced and damaged by decisions at national and state level affecting fiscal and monetary policy, the Australian dollar and government spending levels in the region.

1.5mb (pdf presentation) 135kb (pdf text) RefJ3059



January, 2017
Statistical Note: Job Seeker Numbers

Analysis of latest job seeker numbers indicates that unemployment in the Cairns Region has peeked and is moving back down again, but has been continuing to rise in the Mackay and Rockhampton regions.

938kb (pdf note) Ref:J3032



November, 2016
A Review of the Cairns Economy provided to Cairns Chamber of Commerce



295kb (pdf text) RefJ3028


September, 2016
Presentation on the Cairns Economy


W S (Bill) Cummings presented a review of the Cairns Economy to the Cairns Professional Accountants Association.

2.12mb (pdf presentation) 146kb (pdf text) RefJ3015


August, 2016
Cairns and Ageing

The following is a comment provided to the Cairns Sun.

28kb (pdf note) Ref:J3001



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





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