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3 March, 2021

'Smart green economy' potential recognised for Cairns

Transitioning to electric transport, establishing reef and carbon credit markets and further investment in renewable technology were among initiatives identified by a Clean Jobs Roundtable to elevate Cairns and the Far North as the capital of the smart green economy in Australia.

Hosted by Cairns Regional Council with the Climate Council, and attended by 60 business, industry, education, youth and government stakeholders, more than 500 projects and initiatives were identified to support a clean green recovery for Cairns.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said projects and ideas identified at The Roundtable could help promote Cairns and the region as a leader in smart green economy and attract significant investment to the region.

“A number of priorities required to advance this concept were identified, including the need for working groups, mapping economic benefits and employment opportunities, and the development of branding, marketing and awareness,” Cr Manning said.

“Importantly, The Roundtable and the identified projects, will feed into our new Climate Change Strategy 2030, which is currently being developed.”

Held on 30 November, The Roundtable identified the potential in many sectors, including ecosystem restoration, environmental credits and eco-tourism; circular economy, waste and agriculture/food; renewable energy and alternative fuels; and cities and transport.

“While there has been significant progress to date across these areas, there are opportunities to build on this momentum and strengthen this emerging sector of the economy,” Cr Manning said.

Projects and ideas identified by The Roundtable included the development of carbon neutral tourism experiences and holidays, capitalising on tropical expertise and furthering opportunities for First Peoples to work on country.

The chance to build on current innovations in the agriculture sector and the potentials of bioenergy were also identified, along with promoting circular models for plastics and organics.

The Roundtable also outlined the potential of further investment in wind and solar projects, microgrid technologies and electrification of vehicles, along with expanding electric vehicle charging, urban greening and city cooling projects, and battery storage for residential neighbourhoods.

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