The Tropical North State Development Area (SDA) was established to support the timely delivery of the Tropical North Global Tourism Hub (GTH). The SDA will:

  • support the continued growth of the tourism industry in North Queensland
  • generate jobs
  • contribute to the regional economy
  • facilitate the delivery of new public spaces and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors.

Declared in April 2019 and totalling approximately 14 hectares, the Tropical North SDA is located at the Cityport precinct in the Cairns Central Business District (CBD). The Tropical North SDA includes the Tropical North GTH project site as well as the Cairns Convention Centre, The Reef Hotel Casino, and the Pullman Hotel and Resort.

The SDA's strategic location presents:

  • a unique opportunity to unlock an underutilised area of the Cairns CBD
  • good connectivity to employment catchments
  • potential to provide a 'gateway to North Queensland' for cruise ships
  • ready access to significant port and airport infrastructure.

The Tropical North SDA map

The Tropical North SDA regulation map (PDF icon 355 KB) defines the boundary of the SDA.

Development scheme preparation

We're currently preparing a development scheme for the Tropical North SDA.

A development scheme is a planning instrument specific to an SDA. It is used by the Coordinator-General to assess and decide SDA applications for development.

SDA development schemes function in a similar manner to a local government planning scheme. They outline the types of development that are regulated and the criteria against which development is assessed.

Until a development scheme has been approved by Governor in Council, land use planning decisions will continue to be regulated in accordance with the current planning framework. Contact Cairns Regional Council or Ports North for more information.

Have your say

The draft development scheme will undergo public consultation and the Office of the Coordinator-General will welcome submissions at that time.

Further information

For further information contact us on 1800 001 048 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out more about global tourism hubs on the Department of State Development, Tourism and Innovation website.