The government of Queensland, Australia, has announced a significant investment in public health infrastructure in Cairns, committing A$474.8m ($308.8m) as part of the Queensland Hospital and Health Plan.

The plan is worth nearly A$10bn and aims to enhance the region’s health services substantially.

The investment will fund five major projects, including a A$30m upgrade of the Cairns Hospital emergency department, expected to be completed by later this year.

This expansion will increase the emergency department’s bed capacity from 47 to 53 in an effort to streamline patient flow.

In addition, the emergency department revamp will feature a new X-ray suite, renovated resuscitation bays and more acute care rooms, as well as upgraded isolation and negative pressure facilities.

A family room and bathroom are also included in the design.

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This project is part of the wider A$250m Cairns Hospital expansion, which is projected to be finished in 2026.

Alongside the Cairns Hospital projects, construction is progressing on the Cow Bay Primary Health Centre and the Cairns Youth Alcohol and Other Drugs Residential Treatment Services facility.

These projects will collectively add 101 hospital beds and are expected to create more than 1,220 jobs in total.

They follow the opening of the redeveloped Atherton Hospital last year.

The state government has so far allocated A$562m to the Cairns Hospital and Health Service budget.

Queensland Premier Steven Miles said: “Cairns Hospital is the largest referral hospital in Far North Queensland, providing emergency care to a region 1.5 times the size of Victoria.

“The number of people accessing healthcare will continue to increase as Cairns’ population grows, combined with the regions increasing popularity as a holiday destination.

“Expanding Cairns Hospital, including its emergency department, will help keep pace with population growth. All while supporting hundreds of good local jobs in the region.”