Government Jobs in Cairns in 2024: Where to Find Them and How to Win Them

Last Updated, 28 December 2023
Written by <a href="" target="_self">Nicole Wren</a>

Written by Nicole Wren

Aerial view of Cairns city

Government Jobs in Cairns in 2024: Where to Find Them and How to Win Them

by | Dec 28, 2023 | Career Advice

If you’re looking to apply for government jobs in Cairns, you’ll need to know which departments operate here, how to find these jobs and how to secure them. As a resume writer in Cairns, this is something I help Cairns jobseekers with every day.

The Appeal of Government Jobs in Cairns

Government jobs offer stability, competitive salaries and a chance to make a positive community impact. They also offer flexible work options (highly valued here in FNQ, where a healthy work-life balance is key).

However, government jobs in Cairns can be highly competitive, because not as many government departments are based here compared to larger cities.

While not all government departments operate in the region, there are a range of key local, state and APS government jobs to choose from.

Local Government – Cairns Regional Council

In 2023, the Cairns Regional Council employed 1,227 staff, according to the Cairns Council annual report.

The Cairns Regional Council is one of the largest employers in the area. It provides local government to the Cairns area. Bordering councils include:

  • The Shire of Douglas to the north, in Port Douglas and Mossman
  • Tablelands Regional Council overseeing Atherton and Mareeba to the west
  • Cassowary Coast Regional Council overseeing Innisfail and surrounds to the south.

What Jobs Are Available?

Cairns Council jobs include roles in parks and gardens, administration and finance, community services, environment, library services, arts, sports and recreation, animal management, town planning, engineering, construction and more. 

Cairns Council Employee Perks

As a resume writer in Cairns, jobseekers often present with the goal of getting a job with Council. Cairns Council salaries are competitive, but there are other benefits, such as:

  • Flexible working options including 9 day fortnights
  • Above-award superannuation, up to 12% per annum
  • 5 weeks paid annual leave with 17.5% loading
  • Paid parental leave (up to 14 weeks)

Where to Find Local Government Jobs in Cairns

Go straight to the source! All Cairns Council jobs are advertised on the Cairns Council Careers website.

Cairns Regional Council - Local government offices

Queensland Government Jobs in Cairns

As reported in the Queensland Government’s Biannual Workforce Profile report, in 2023, there were 14,631 Queensland government employees working in Cairns.

What Jobs Are Available?

Queensland Government departments like the Department of Health, Department of Education, and Department of Transport and Main Roads have a presence in Cairns, providing various job opportunities.

95% of these are frontline and frontline support roles (5% are corporate roles).

Queensland Government Employee Perks

Queensland Government jobs are also competitive in terms of salary. 58% of the workforce in Cairns earn up to $100K, while 42% earn higher than this. Other perks include:

  • High superannuation rates – 12.75% for most employees (18% for police officers and 14.25% for fire service officers)
  • Flexible working options
  • 14 weeks paid parental leave

Where to Find State Government Jobs in Cairns

All Queensland government jobs are advertised on the SmartJobs website.

Cairns Hospital - Queensland Health building

Australian Public Service (APS) Jobs in Cairns

The most current data available suggests that in Cairns, in 2017 there were 846 APS employees in Cairns, which was broadly consistent with previous data in 2016 (861), 2015 (749) and 2015 (733).

What Jobs Are Available?

Major APS employers in Cairns include Services Australia, Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Aboriginal Hostels Limited, Civil Aviation Safety Authority Australia, Department of Defence and the Federal Court of Australia.

APS Employee Perks

  • Competitive salaries – APS1 starts at $45,205, with EL2 roles going up to $171,842
  • Generous superannuation entitlements – 15.4% (one of the top rates in Australia)
  • Flexible work practices
  • 12 weeks paid parental leave (this could soon increase if a proposed bill is passed).

Where to Find APS Jobs in Cairns

All APS jobs are advertised on the APS Careers website.

Cairns Courthouse - Federal Court of Australia building

Other Job Search Websites

While websites like Seek, Indeed and Jora also advertise some government jobs, not all government jobs are advertised here. As a resume writer in Cairns who reviews these job search sites daily, I recommend going straight to the sources above. Tip: look for at the end of the websites if you’re unsure.


Networking and building relationships in the local community is key to maintaining an understanding of local employment opportunities.

You might consider attending Cairns careers fairs (often held at Fred Moule Pavilion, Cairns Showgrounds), where you can interact with government departments and find out about upcoming recruitment drives.

Government Application Tips for the Cairns Region

Applying for government jobs requires a different process compared to jobs in the private sector. An understanding of the local employment landscape is key to securing a government role in Cairns.

Write a Strong Application

If you are applying for a government role, you will almost always be required to provide responses to the selection criteria, in addition to your Cairns resume or CV. Work with a reputable Cairns resume writing service who knows the local employment landscape if possible.

Each Cairns government agency has its own preferred way of developing applications, so you will need to review the guidelines carefully.

Highlight Your Knowledge of the Local Area

Cairns has a high Indigenous population and many government roles in Cairns will have an emphasis on building relationships with Indigenous people.

Cairns government jobs will also often focus on tourism and sustainability.

Be sure to showcase your understanding of relevant local issues in your written application and at interview, where appropriate.

Like many regional areas, Cairns appreciates a strong local network. Remember to reference other government agencies you’ve built relationships with, as well.

I hope you’ve found these tips to help find and secure government jobs in Cairns helpful.

Review a Cairns Council cover letter example, Queensland Government cover letter example and APS statement of claims example.

Nicole Wren

Nicole Wren

Senior Writer

Nicole is the principal resume writer at Resumes to Impress. Nicole loves writing and sharing her knowledge about all things job hunting and career guidance.

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