Fifty people attended the first public meeting of Cairns Action for Sustainable Transport (CAST), on March 11 at the Serbian Centre in Edge Hill. Attendees engaged in a lively discussion about improving Cairns's public transport and bikeways.
CAST members opened the meeting with a series of presentations that raised environmental, economic and social justice arguments for sustainable transport, options for mass transit, regional rail freight, cycling and walking, and the principle of sustainable urban planning. Climate change was an important theme.
Current government policy gives priority to cars and road transport, and freeway and highway construction is planned for the major traffic corridors of the city. Meanwhile, public transport provision will only follow demand and is planned to be no more than 20% of any route's movements.
This, CAST members argued, was wrong in the face of an environmental emergency and a growing city.
Two candidates for mayor, Val Schier and Selwyn Johnston, and seven council candidates made statements to the meeting. The Cairns 1st ticket was best represented.