• Yarrabah Mayor Errol Neal says there's opportunity for partnership with state and federal governments at Yarrabah
The community of Yarrabah in North Queensland is planning to build a multi-million dollar cruise ship port and cultural centre near Cairns.
20 Nov 2013 - 3:44 PM  UPDATED 20 Nov 2013 - 7:02 PM

Yarrabah council members will travel to Canberra this week to lobby the Federal Government to support the project.

Yarrabah Mayor Errol Neal and his council need $300 million for their plans to become a reality.

He has studied similar facilities already in Australia that have had Indigenous involvement, particularly in Broome.

“We just hope we don’t miss the opportunity, really we can make a change, a big change, everyone’s a winner here, there’s opportunity for partnership with state and federal governments, there’s opportunity for joint ventures to invest in the place,” says Mayor Neal.

The plan is to have a cruise line terminal, a cultural centre, an eco-tourism venture, Great Barrier Reef tours and small businesses which offer a range of activities including mountain bike riding, kayaking and diving.

The port and community centre will also provide visitors and locals with an authentic cultural experience.

“What you can experience here is real genuine Indigenous culture, that’s something that’s not manufactured overseas or anything, it’s here, it’s been here for thousands of years and there’s an opportunity here now for our people to showcase that now,” says Mayor Neal.

Mayor Neal is travelling to Canberra to gain support, particularly from Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion who previously said he wasn't considering the project.

If the project is granted, it could be worth more than 30 million dollars per year to the community.

The Mayor says the project would also provide jobs, training and keep Yarrabah residents out of jail and hospital.