Our Cairns 2020

This consultation has now closed and we are reviewing all feedback.
The content below is for information purposes only.
  • Description: Cairns Regional Council undertook the largest and most comprehensive community survey the organisation has ever done from 28 August to 16 October 2020. Overall, 8065 people responded.
  • Status: Closed
  • Consultation period: 12:00pm 27/08/2020 to 5:00pm 16/10/2020

Key findings

Cairns Regional undertook the largest and most comprehensive community survey the organisation has ever done from 28 August to 16 October 2020. In addition to the main survey, the Our Cairns Youth Survey was also conducted for the first time.

The surveys sought to:

  • Provide Council with direction and information on the sort of city our community want to live in to assist Council in developing the new Corporate Plan;
  • Provide Council with feedback on a number of topical issues;
  • Provide Council with information in relation to certain services provided by other levels of government to enable Council to advocate on behalf of the community;
  • Provide Council with feedback on the performance of Council in delivering services and facilities to the community;
  • Provide an avenue for residents to identify minor improvement suburban works that would benefit the community; and
  • Provide Council with specific feedback from youth so information can be considered in providing services and facilities to this demographic and identifying better ways to engage with the sector.

A total of 8065 people responded to both surveys – 6786 completed the Our Cairns Survey, whilst 1279 people responded to the Youth Survey.  Overall, 90% of respondents were happy with Council’s overall performance in delivering facilities and services to the community, with 52% ticking Good to Excellent.

Peruse the topics below for a summary of key findings, or download the detailed Our Cairns Survey report ( PDF, 2.33 MB ).

Survey components

The survey had several components:

Topical issues

  • Support to allow alcohol to be legally consumed on the Esplanade and other foreshore areas
  • Support for banning cyclists from using CBD footpaths
  • Support for allowing commercial hire of e-scooters
  • Support to host a Schoolies Week program in Cairns
  • Support for one-laning of some CBD streets
  • Support for removal of car park spaces in some CBD median parking areas to allow for green spaces to be created
  • To establish whether residents feel safe in their suburb
  • To establish whether residents have been a victim of crime in the past 5 years and what type of crime
  • Support for Council to introduce suburban security patrols
  • Support for expansion of CCTV in suburban areas
  • Support for more police on Cairns streets
  • Support to allow dogs to be legally in the CBD
  • Support for a Signature Destination event to be developed
  • Support for higher density housing options in suburbs
  • To establish use of public transport and reasons for not using public transport
  • To identify areas of traffic congestion residents want improved
  • To identify how residents feel about the health of the Great Barrier Reef
  • To identify what infrastructure residents think Cairns needs to grow, and
  • To identify what industries should be prioritised for stimulus and development.

Liveability and values

  • Identifying the extent of activities that enhance the liveability or quality of life in Cairns.
  • Satisfaction with efforts being made to protect and conserve the environment, provide a socially inclusive environment, provide a liveable built environment, and protect heritage buildings and places.
  • Identifying the importance of environmental issues including conserving water, protecting the natural environment, supporting renewable energy, reducing carbon emissions, greening the city, reducing waste, and sustainable transport options.

Suburban focus

  • The 3 Top things residents wanted Council to focus on in their suburb
  • Minor improvement works that would benefit their area, and
  • The upkeep, accessibility and facilities in relation to suburban parks.

Awareness and use of Council services and facilities

  • My Cairns app
  • Council’s website
  • Free parking in CBD centre median parking areas
  • Cairns Alerts
  • Disaster Dashboard
  • Libraries
  • Household Emergency Kit
  • Lake Street multi-storey car park
  • Recycling
  • Times per year these facilities are visited - Cairns Performing Arts Centre, Munro Martin Parklands, Cattana Wetlands, Tanks Arts Centre, Esplanade Lagoon, Cairns Art Gallery, Barlow Park, Botanic Gardens, and Centenary Lakes.
  • Cairns Gallery Precinct – what the community would like
  • How residents become aware of Council’s activities and news

Council performance

  • Rating interactions and dealings with Council’s Customer service staff, work crews, other Council staff and Councillors.
  • Rating the overall performance of Council in delivering a range of services relevant to residents’ needs.
  • Rating the upkeep, accessibility and facilities in parks, reserves and open spaces. (see Suburban Focus)

Key findings - Topical issues

1. Support to allow alcohol to be legally consumed on the Esplanade and other foreshore areas

There was strong support (total of 62%) to allow people to drink alcohol legally on the Esplanade and other foreshore areas. It must be noted that the greatest percentage of respondents (37%) were supportive but with limited days and times.

2. Support for banning cyclists from using CBD footpaths

There was overwhelming support (83%) to prevent cyclists from using CBD footpaths, with 45% agreeing outright while 38% wanted to ensure cyclists had a dedicated lane before any change was rolled out.

3. Support for allowing commercial hire of e-scooters

Mixed responses to this question, but the majority of respondents (38%) were totally against the introduction of the e-scooters because they are restricted to footpath use which they thought was dangerous. Those who chose the affirmative often chose YES but with conditions such as “only in the CBD”, and “only if they could use the road shoulder”. Only 19% chose YES with no conditions attached.

4. Support to host a Schoolies Week program in Cairns

The vast majority of respondents (63%) were opposed to any suggestion to host a Schoolies Week in Cairns, most likely based on what they perceive is Schoolies Week and the visuals often portrayed in the media from the Gold Coast’s Schoolies Week.

5. Support for one-laning of some CBD streets

The one-laning of some CBD streets generated 65% support from respondents. Of those who were against one-laning (25%), 64% of those had concerns it would cause traffic disruptions and 35% thought it would discourage people from going into the CBD.

6. Support for removal of car park spaces in some CBD median parking areas to allow for green spaces to be created

Removing some centre median parking in the CBD to create green spaces was supported by 69% of respondents. From comments on hard copies and comments to officers undertaking the community engagement, it is understood that some could not vote for this unless they were provided more information on what the “alternative parking” would be.

7. Residents feeling safe in their suburb and why not

46% of respondents say they feel safe in their suburb all of the time, 30% say during the day, and 16% say Sometimes. Note that only 6% say they do not feel safe. Because in the main crime occurs at night, the results could be interpreted that 52% do not feel safe other than during the day. Asked why they do not feel safe, the vast majority (68%) of residents say it is due to real crime (break-ins, car theft, assaults etc), 53% named the presence of itinerants or anti-social behaviour, and 40% said it was due to poorly lit parks and streets.

8. Residents being a victim of crime in the past 5 years and what type of crime

An overwhelming majority (71%) of respondents advised they had not been a victim of crime within the past five years. Those who opted for Yes, advised that theft of property (53%) and break-ins (51%) were the most common crime committed against them.

9. Support for Council to introduce suburban security patrols

Only 31% of respondents were supportive of Council introducing security patrols in the suburbs. The most common answer (40%) was because “crime is a police matter” and 16% noted they did not want their rates spent on this service. Of the 31% who voted yes, 49% said they would pay between $25-$50 annually in their rates to provide this service, with 23% prepared to pay $100 annually.

10. Support for expansion of CCTV in suburban areas

A large number (65%) responded Yes to expanding Council’s CCTV network into the suburbs so they would feel safer where they live.

11. Support for more police on Cairns streets

77% of all respondents said they would like more police on Cairns streets, but it must be noted that the majority of these (55%) recognised the need to tackle other issues such as homelessness, domestic violence, and substance abuse to bring about a real change to the situation.

12. Support to allow dogs to be legally in the CBD

There was great support (74%) to allow dogs to be in the CBD, but it must be noted that 57% agreed on the condition that pet owners be required to pick up after their animal or be made to do so by officers.

13. Support for a Signature Destination event to be developed and what theme

An overwhelming majority (84%) supported the idea to create a Signature Destination event for Cairns, with the most common themes nominated being Reef and Rainforest (43%) and Tropical (17%).

14. Support for higher density housing options in suburbs

A number of questions came under this section to ascertain residents’ views on higher density development and where these types of development would work well. Smaller Lots – 34% supported only in the CBD and inner suburbs, there was reasonable support for smaller lots to be around shopping, business and education hubs, 25% said Nowhere and 15% said Everywhere. Duplexes and Triplexes - 36% supported only in the CBD and inner suburbs, there was reasonable support for smaller lots to be around shopping, business and education hubs, 24% said Everywhere and only 10% said Nowhere. Low Rise Apartments – Half of all respondents thought low rise apartments were best suited to the CBD and inner suburbs, 26% said near Tourist Precincts and there was general support of around 20% for areas near business, shopping and education hubs. 19% said Everywhere while only 8% said Nowhere. High Rise Buildings – generated the maximum support for only CBD and inner suburbs at 61%. Also generated the maximum score for Nowhere (23%), while there was only moderate support (11-19%) for areas near tourist, business, education and shopping hubs. Only 5% opted for “Everywhere.

  1. Need to provide higher density housing beyond the CBD – 58% broadly agree, reflecting an understanding that urban spread is not preferable.
  2. Higher density housing should occur near shops and services – 81% broadly agree reflecting an understanding that development should be near existing services and facilities.
  3. Rural land should be protected for agriculture – 81% recognise the importance of protecting rural land for agricultural purposes.
  4. Higher density housing should be built within existing urban areas – Overall, 43% were concerned about higher density being built in existing suburbs, with 25% strongly disagreeing to the sentiment of the question.
  5. All suburbs should have a mix of housing types – 64% broadly agree all suburbs should have a mix of housing types, 34% disagree to some extent.
  6. Higher density housing in suburbs will create more affordable housing options – 34% disagree with this statement but this may be due to a lack of understanding of what the statement poses.
  7. Higher density housing should reflect the tropical character around it and feature tropical design elements – 96% recognise and embrace the premise that higher density housing should be designed to suit the tropics and respect the character of existing suburbs.
  8. Importance of a big back yard – 86% rate a big back yard as important.

15. To establish use of public transport and reasons for not using public transport

83% of respondents advised they do not use public transport. The most common reasons for not using public transport was that people had to use their vehicle for other things during the day (43%); it takes too long to get to your destination (34%); times are not regular enough (24%) and they do not feel safe (19%). The other question associated with this subject was whether people would be more likely to catch a public bus if they were modernised, quieter and electric-powered, with only 12% saying they would Absolutely use it; 32% answered Maybe; and 54% ruling out any suggestion of using public buses.

16. To identify areas of traffic congestion residents want improved

The responses to this question resulted in no surprises, with 47% rating traffic congestion on Sheridan St between Airport Ave and Arnold St inbound as an issue, followed by 45% for Cairns Western Arterial Road (CWAR) heading to the city, 42% for CWAR going north, 42% for Sheridan St between Lily Street and Airport Ave inbound and outbound, and 36% nominating Pease St / Anderson St roundabout and Reservoir Rd intersection as a problem area in the afternoon.

17. To identify how residents feel about the health of the Great Barrier Reef

There is broad recognition that the health of Great Barrier Reef is not as good as it could be, with only 15% agreeing it’s alive and well, while 51% accept there has been some negative consequences for the reef due to bleaching, and 33% believe the Reef is in trouble and in danger of dying.

18. To identify what infrastructure residents think Cairns needs to grow

Hospitals (59%), infrastructure for water security (47%), roads (41%), new tourism assets or attractions (40%), and energy – generation distribution (38%) topped the list for what infrastructure that Cairns needs to grow, showing residents appreciate the importance of improved health facilities and services, a robust water storage and water network, and an improved road network in allowing Cairns to grow.

19. To identify what industries should be prioritised for stimulus and development

Health and social assistance (51%) topped this list indicating how important quality health services are considered by our community. Renewable energy (46%) rates highly, not surprising given that high energy costs for households is a concern in our area. Respondents indicated how important they believe the region is as a food bowl, opting for food production as the third highest industry rated (37%), followed by waste recycling and reprocessing (34%), supporting Council’s pursuit for the region to become the Smart Green Capital of Australia.

Key findings - Liveability and values

1. Identifying the extent of activities that enhance the liveability or quality of life in Cairns.

The survey posed 18 subjects for residents to rate in relation to the extent these activities enhance their quality of life in Cairns. Highest ranked was eating at restaurants and cafes (rating 4.3), followed by using tracks and paths for exercising or walking (4.1), spending time in parks and natural areas (4.1), visiting the reef and engaging in tourist experiences (3.6), going to local markets (3.6), attending arts and cultural events (3.2), visiting a library (2.9), and attending sporting events (2.9).

2. Satisfaction with efforts being made to protect and conserve the environment, provide a socially inclusive environment, provide a liveable built environment, and protect heritage buildings and places.

The community is largely satisfied with efforts in all of these areas, with only 17% not satisfied with efforts to protect and conserve the natural environment. Only 10% thought Cairns did not provide a socially inclusive environment; 10% were unhappy with the city’s liveable built environment; and only 13% did not think we were doing enough to protect heritage places and buildings.

3. Identifying the importance of environmental issues

Respondents were asked to rate 10 issues related to the environment to identify how important these were to them and the community. All of these issues rated highly, reflecting the community’s awareness of how important the environment and sustainability is to this region. Highest rated was protecting reef and rainforest (4.7), Protecting natural habitats (4.6), Reducing waste (4.5), Greening our city (4.4), Supporting renewable energy (4.3), Protecting coastlines from erosion (4.3), More sustainable transport options (4.1), reducing carbon emissions (4.0), and Helping industry to transition to low carbon (4.0).

Key findings - Suburban focus

The table below lists the 3 Top things residents in each suburb want Council to focus on.

Minor improvement works that would benefit their area

More than 1000 respondents ticked Yes to this question and gave details of what the improvements were, ranging from missing sections of footpath to water bubblers, seats in parks and dog waste bag dispensers.

Upkeep, accessibility and facilities in relation to suburban parks

The vast majority of respondents (91%) were satisfied with the UPKEEP of parks, reserves and recreational areas. 80% were satisfied with the ACCESSIBILITY to these areas, while 61% were satisfied with FACILITIES offered within these areas.

Also of note is that 1000 respondents ticked Yes to the question regarding the need for more accessibility to parks and gave details of the park in question.

SuburbTop 3 issues

Aeroglen

  • Traffic congestion
  • Road maintenance
  • Parks maintenance / Street trees
Aloomba
  • Road shoulders
  • Litter
  • Road maintenance
Babinda
  • Footpaths
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Road maintenance / Street trees
Bartle Frere
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Speeding traffic
  • Dogs barking
Bayview Heights
  • Speeding vehicles
  • Street trees
  • Dogs barking
Bellenden Ker
  • Litter
  • Kerb and channel
  • Playgrounds / Dogs wandering
Bentley Park
  • Speeding traffic
  • Street trees
  • Dogs barking
Bramston Beach
  • Playgrounds
  • Parks Maintenance
  • Litter / Speeding traffic
Brinsmead
  • Traffic congestion
  • Cycleways
  • Footpaths
Bungalow
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Litter
Cairns City
  • Footpaths
  • Speeding traffic
  • Litter
Cairns North
  • Street trees
  • Footpaths
  • Speeding traffic
Caravonica
  • Speeding traffic
  • Traffic congestion
  • Cycleways
Clifton Beach
  • Traffic congestion
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
Deeral
  • Speeding traffic
  • Road shoulders
  • Parks lighting
East Trinity
  • Speeding traffic
  • Road shoulders
  • Litter
Earlville
  • Traffic congestion
  • Footpaths
  • Speeding traffic
Edge Hill
  • Footpaths
  • Speeding traffic
  • Cycleways
Edmonton
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Playgrounds
Fishery Falls
  • Speeding traffic
  • Seasonal Flooding
  • Roads Maintenance
Freshwater
  • Footpaths
  • Street trees
  • Cycleways
Goldsborough
  • Dogs barking
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Dogs wandering
Gordonvale
  • Footpaths
  • Cycleways
  • Street trees
Holloways Beach
  • Street trees
  • Footpaths
  • Seasonal flooding / dogs barking
Kamerunga
  • Traffic congestion
  • Footpaths
  • Cycleways / Street trees
Kanimbla
  • Speeding traffic
  • Playgrounds
  • Traffic congestion
Kewarra Beach
  • Traffic congestion
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
Machans Beach
  • Street trees
  • Seasonal Flooding
  • Dogs wandering / barking
Manoora
  • Speeding traffic
  • Street trees
  • Litter
Manunda
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Street trees
Mirriwinni
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Playgrounds
Mooroobool
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Dogs barking / Street trees
Mount Sheridan
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Street trees
Packers Camp
  • Cycleways
  • Speeding traffic
  • Playgrounds
Palm Cove
  • Footpaths
  • Speeding traffic
  • Traffic congestion
Parramatta Park
  • Footpaths
  • Litter
  • Speeding traffic
Portsmith
  • Drainage
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Footpaths
Redlynch
  • Traffic congestion
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
Parramatta Park
  • Footpaths
  • Litter
  • Speeding traffic
Portsmith
  • Drainage
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Footpaths
Redlynch
  • Traffic congestion
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
Smithfield
  • Traffic congestion
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
Stratford
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Drainage
  • Footpaths / cycleways
Trinity Beach
  • Speeding traffic
  • Traffic congestion
  • Footpaths
Trinity Park
  • Traffic congestion
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
Westcourt
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Footpaths
  • Speeding traffic
White Rock
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Dogs barking
Whitfield
  • Cycleways
  • Footpaths
  • Street trees
Woopen Creek
  • Road maintenance
  • Litter
  • Speeding traffic
Woree
  • Speeding traffic
  • Footpaths
  • Street trees
Wrights Creek
  • Footpaths
  • Road shoulders
  • Road maintenance
Yorkeys Knob
  • Footpaths
  • Seasonal flooding
  • Street trees

Key findings - Awareness, use of Council services and facilities

My Cairns app

It is clear from the results that Council should do more to promote the My Cairns app, with the top answer (33%) and third highest answer (25%) indicating that either respondents did not have the app or did not know about it. In relation to features most used, Events was highest (26%), followed by Reporting a non-urgent issue (18%), Disaster information (15%), Council news (14%), Alerts from Council (11%) and Jobs at Council (10%). The other features rated only single digit percentages.

Council’s website and online services

Use of Online services

The survey asked what online services people used most frequently, resulting in the following:

  • Animal registration and renewal is popular with 36% ticking this, followed by
  • Rates payments and inquiries (35%),
  • Library services (28%),
  • Reporting a non-urgent problem (28%),
  • Waste services (14%), and
  • Arts and Culture Map (8%).

26% said they did not use online services, with 40% indicating they did not know about them and 32% saying they preferred to deal with a person.

Online services people want

It is clear that most respondents want

  • their own portal page (56%) where they can see all details in relation to their property, followed by
  • an Outage Finder for water and road disruptions (43%),
  • a page where they can suggest an idea (35%),
  • a page where they can access rates and water notices (34%) and
  • the ability to live chat with customer service officers (27%).

Free parking in CBD centre median parking areas

It was pleasing to see that 69% of respondents were aware that parking in the centre median in the CBD is free.

Cairns Alerts

It is clear that more promotion and awareness of this important tool needs to be increased, with 42% of respondents advising they did not know about Cairns Alerts, followed by 38% who said they had signed up and 19% who stated no.

Disaster Dashboard

Similar to Cairns Alerts, 46% of respondents advised they were unaware of the Disaster Dashboard, while 32% said they were aware. Understandably 20% advised they only use the tool in the wet/storm season.

Household Emergency Kit

It was comforting to see that our community thinks it is ready for a disaster, with 56% advising they do have a household emergency kit, or they knew where everything they would need is and could grab it quickly (37%).

Libraries

Libraries are important to the community, especially seniors and those who do not have computer access, with 53% advising they were members of Council’s Library service. Of the 46% who said no, the top reason was that they had their own internet (56%), followed by that they were not interested (24%). Visiting a Library was rated reasonably highly in the questions about how much this activity enhanced people’s lives with a rating of 2.9.

Lake Street multi-storey car park

A resounding no to this question with 88% saying they do not use the Lake Street car park. The top reason provided was It is too far away from where they wanted to go (43%), followed by It’s too expensive (25%) indicating they are not aware the cost is the same per hour as on-street car parks, or cheaper per hour for those who park all day at the facility.

Recycling

It is clear that the majority of the community (96%) is committed to recycling, with 74% saying they recycle even if it requires extra effort. 60% indicated they recycle everything they can, while 38% indicated they do not.

How many times per year Council facilities and recreation areas are visited

The Esplanade Lagoon rated highest in this list, with a 5.4 rating and 26% of respondents indicating they visit 10 or more times a year. This was followed by Botanic Gardens (3.9), Centenary Lakes (3,1), Tanks Arts Centre (2.9), MMP (2.6), Cairns Performing Arts Centre (2.3), Cairns Art Gallery (1.9), Cattana Wetlands (1.8), and Barlow Park (1.5).

Cairns Gallery Precinct – what the community would like

The community is looking forward to festivals and events (53%), night and day activation (48%), a regular program of entertainment (40%), and high quality touring exhibitions (35%) when the Cairns Gallery Precinct is completed.

How residents become aware of Council’s activities and news

The top 5 ways people learn of what Council is doing was Radio (46%), Other social media (37%), Council’s FB pages (36%), free-to-air television (35%) and Council’s website (34%).

Last updated: 17 November 2020