Accessibility services

Infirm service for rubbish bin collection

Council provides an Infirm Service to residents who are physically incapable of placing their wheelie bins out for collection and have no able-bodied person living with them. The waste collection contractor will enter the resident's property to collect the bins and return them after servicing.

A written letter from a medical professional (GP, occupational therapist, health care professional or nursing agent) is required for this service. There is no additional cost for the infirm service; it is covered under the annual cleansing charge on the property. Contact Council on 4044 3044 for more information.

Damaged footpaths or public access issues

If you come across a damaged footpath or other issue that is a public safety issue and/or restricts accessibility in public places, please report the details including exact location to Council's Customer Service Centre by phoning 1300 69 22 47. Alternatively, you can use our online form to report a problem or request service or download the My Cairns App to report a problem.

Be sure to specify that this is a disability or access issue in the Details box to help us better serve you.

Disability parking permits
  • If you hold a blue Queensland accessible parking permit, you can use on-street and off-street accessible parking bays as well as paid parking bays - including  pay-and-display spaces - for an unlimited time, free of charge. You are exempt from the general time limit in all traffic areas (eg a 3P zone).
  • We recognise all interstate and international accessible parking permits. Please display your permit on the left hand side of the car's dashboard.
  • Holders of accessible permits are not exempt from parking in restricted areas such as loading zones or taxi zones.
braille and tactile street signBraille and Tactile Street Name Signs

Council has now installed over 250 Braille and tactile street name signs located above every pedestrian button throughout the CBD. The signs provide much needed street name and directional information and way finding for a person with vision impairment. The signs also assist every member of the community and tourist to Cairns, as the signs are easily readable and located appropriately. Cairns has the largest Braille and tactile street name program in regional Australia.

MLAK (Master Locksmith Access Key)

The Master Locksmiths Access Key (MLAK) enables people with disabilities to gain 24/7 access to a network of public facilities across Australia. People with a disability are able to purchase an MLAK master key which will open all toilets, playgrounds and other facilities which are fitted with this specially designed lock. Read more about MLAK ( PDF, 0.9 MB ).

In Cairns, the MLAK system is fitted to the Change-Ability change rooms at Woree and Smithfield pools, Lagoon accessible toilet, Behana Gorge access gate and the Liberty Swing at Muddy's Playground on the Esplanade.  On-site signage at the facilities provides contact numbers to call for immediate access without an MLAK key. If you are a local member of the community with a disability or a carer of a person with disability please contact Customer Service and request to be put through to the Access and Equity Project Officer to receive a key.

Communication support
  • When Council hosts an event where a person who is deaf or hard of hearing is known to be attending, we will ensure we have an Auslan interpreter on hand to translate. Please tell us if you require an interpreter prior to attending so we can book an interpreter through Deaf Services Queensland.
  • Council's customer service centres at Spence Street and Manunda Library have a portable hearing induction device to enable a hearing impaired person to communicate efficiently with the customer service team members. Please indicate your requirement to the staff on arrival.
  • We also have a hearing induction loop installed in our the Cairns Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre at Edge Hill.
Legislation for Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs

The Queensland Government's people with disability website provides information for handlers and trainers of Guide, Hearing and Assistance Dogs. Information includes how to choose a guide, hearing or assistance dog, certification, obtaining a handler identity card; accessing public spaces and travelling with a guide, hearing or assistance dog.

Beach wheelchairs

A beach wheelchair is available for free hire at Palm Cove during patrol hours year-round. Just ask the on-duty lifeguard to issue it to you and fill in the indemnity book.

A beach wheelchair is available for free hire at Ellis Beach (Queensland Life Savers station) during the months of April to November on Saturday from 12:00pm and all day Sunday and public holidays.

Motorised wheelchairs and mobility scooters

Council's Stay Safe: Mobility Guide ( PDF, 2.36 MB ) contains helpful information on how to safely use motorised scooters and wheelchairs including tips on:

  • Queensland Transport rules and registration requirements
  • travelling on public transport, trains and taxis
  • crossing roads and railway lines
  • sharing the footpath and avoiding 'footpath rage'
  • emergency breakdown service and battery recharge stations
Change-ability roomChange-Ability Rooms

Two full change rooms have been installed at Woree Pool and Smithfield Pools. The rooms incorporate ceiling track hoists (you must have your own sling for hygiene reasons), height adjustable change beds, shower and toilet with adequate space for two carers should you require them.

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Last updated: 16 June 2020