Changes to parking in the CBD

From 1 January, the hourly rate for car parking will increase to $1.40 and the most common parking fine (failure to pay for parking or overstaying in a parking bay) will be $58.

The Our Cairns survey revealed parking in the Cairns CBD is a concern to residents as workers, shoppers, diners, CBD visitors and businesses all compete for available parking.

We've also heard from businesses owners that their customers can not find a park.

We are making some small, but significant changes to parking to improve turnover of vehicles and therefore make it easier for you to find a car park 7-days-a-week.

These changes are:

  • 20c per hour increase in parking fees, each year for four years
  • 15% increase in parking fines (subject to a Local Laws amendment)
  • Increased time-limited parking hours to 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday

The last time Council made changes to parking fees and fines was in 2012.

Council is also improving car parking around the busy Hospital Precinct by adding 350 car parking spaces and introducing a better mix of short, medium and long-term parking options.

If you have any questions about these changes please contact us at parking@cairns.qld.gov.au

Frequently asked questions

Why is Council making changes to parking in the CBD?

Council knows there is parking pressure in the CBD as workers, shoppers, diners, CBD visitors and businesses all compete for available parking.

We are making some small, but significant changes to parking to improve turn-over of vehicles and therefore make it easier for you to find a car park 7-days-a-week.

These changes are:

  • 20c per hour increase in parking fees
  • 15% increase in parking fines
  • Increasing time-limited parking hours to 8.30am to 6pm, Monday to Sunday

The last time Council made changes to parking fees and fines was in 2012.

How much will parking fees increase?

The cost of on-street parking will increase by 20c an hour, each year, for four years to a final cost of $2 an hour.

On 1 January 2018 fees will rise from $1.20 to $1.40.

Fees at Council off-street car parks in the CBD that are pay-by-the-hour will also increase at the same rate. This affects the Southern Esplanade Car Park, the Grafton Street Car Park and the Lake Street Multi-Storey Car Park which will also become $1.40 an hour.

Fees at Council’s other CBD off-street car parks will not be changed and remain at $3-a-day at the Hartley Street Car Park and $2-a-day at the Bunda Street car park.

Hourly parking fees have not been increased since 2012.

How much will parking fines increase?

Parking fines provide a disincentive for drivers to stay longer than allowed in a car park and therefore make that car park unavailable to other people.

Council is currently seeking to amend its Local Laws to increase parking fines by 15%. If the amendment is successful, the increase will come into effect on 1 January 2018. Council will then review the value of parking fines each year.

Parking fine amounts are based on penalty units. The State Government sets the value of penalty units, which at the moment is $126.15.

The most common parking fine in Cairns – failing to pay for parking or overstaying in a parking bay – is currently 0.4 penalty units. This will increase to 0.46 penalty units.

Council rounds down the parking fine amount to the nearest whole dollar.

So, under this arrangement the fine for failing to pay for car parking is $50.46, rounded down to $50. The new fine will be $58.03, rounded down to $58.

Parking fines for other offences, such as parking in a loading zone, taxi rank, bus stop or disabled bay will also increase by 15% rounded down to the nearest whole dollar.

Have Your Say on the proposed parking fine increase

Why is Council making changes to weekend parking?

Parking in Cairns is currently time-limited between 8.30am and 5pm on weekdays and 8.30am to 11.30am on Saturdays. There are no time limits on Sundays.

This does not reflect the demand on CBD parking, with workers, visitors, shoppers, diners and businesses all requiring car parking 7-days-a-week.

These parking changes will increase turn-over of vehicles and therefore make it easier for you to find a car park in the CBD on the weekend.

Why doesn't Council build a new multi-storey car park to provide more off-street parking?

Council continues to monitor the need for a second multi-storey car park in the CBD.

Conservative cost estimates for a new multistorey car park are $45,000 per parking space, which makes it financially unviable at this point.

In 2015 Council sought to enter a public-private-partnership to develop the Old Post Office site on Grafton Street into a mixed-used premises, with commercial/retail space and car parking.

There was no interest from the private sector and the proposal did not proceed.

I'm a shopper, where can I park for free?

All centre median car parking in the Cairns CBD is free.

Most spaces are free for 3 hours, with some 2 hour spaces in Lake Street (between Spence and Aplin streets) and Grafton Street (between Shields and Spence streets).

Low-cost all-day parking is available at Council's off-street car parks on Bunda Street ($2 a day) and Hartley Street ($3 a day).

I work in the CBD, where can I park for free?

There is a limited number of free, 8-hour parking bays on the fringe of the CBD, being in Grafton Street, Sheridan Street, Wharf Street, Abbott Street and Florence Street.

Council provides two low-cost, all-day, off-street car parks in the CBD.

  • Hartley Street Car Park - $3 a day
  • Bunda Street Car Park - $2 a day

There are a number of commercial, off-street car parks in the CBD, ranging from $3 to $20 a day.

This map shows Council and commercial off-street car parks in the Cairns CBD.

When will the Lake Street Multi-storey Car Park reopen?

The Lake Street Multi-storey Car Park will reopen on 1 January 2018.

The $5.9 million upgrade will make the car park safer and easier to use, and therefore more attractive as a parking option.

The car park will operate 24/7, 7-days-a-week.

There are 300 parking spaces at the car park.

Read more about the improvements to the Lake Street Car Park

Isn't this just revenue raising?

Revenue from parking fees and fines is reinvested into parking infrastructure and parking technology as well as covering the operating and maintenance costs of providing car parking.

Council is, for instance, looking at technologies such as sensors, real-time signage and parking apps that will make it easier for people to find a car park in the CBD, including a trial of this technology in Sheridan Street.

In the past 5 years Council has invested more than $8.5 million to improve parking in and around the CBD. This includes a Licence Plate Recognition (LPR) system that makes it more efficient to enforce car parking turn-over in the city; upgrading parking ticket machines to accept credit card payments; and creating a further 450 parking bays.

The Lake Street Multi-Storey Car Park upgrade is a further example of how parking revenue is used to improve car parking in the city.

Council is also looking into sustainable transport options that will make it easier to visit the Cairns CBD without having to drive into the city.

Please read our rules for commenting.

comments powered by Disqus

Last updated: 16 November 2017