Calls to broaden free ferry pass
CAIRNS Regional Council will consider extending the free Daintree River ferry pass to the wider Cairns region.
Council yesterday adopted the review of the ferry concession.
The review recommended an increase to services such as charities and schools from the whole Cairns region.
Division 10 Councillor Julia Leu said they adopted the policy so people would be able to renew their ferry cards, which are expected to expire at the end of June.
“If this had not been renewed yesterday it would’ve disadvantaged a number of residents in Douglas and significant number across the river,” she said.
“The policy had to be approved before staff could reissue the new ferry card and the ticket books.
“However, amendments to the policy can be made any time and in general business I put forward a general motion and promised the report on the results of the Smart Card be tabled at council at the earliest to get the benefits of that analysis.”
Cr Leu said she would wait until the report on the smart card initiative was delivered to council but would like to see the concession extended to the great Cairns Regional Council area.
“There is an agreement by council that we would consider the extension to the rest of the CRC area with the benefit of the data analysis and recommendation results of the smart card initiative,” she said.
Daintree Marketing Cooperative chairperson Sheena Walshaw said the Smart Card trial saw an increase in visitors across the river.
“Some businesses really saw increased business through the smart card promo- tion,” she said.
“Removal of fees does encourage locals to travel here and businesses like campgrounds and stores saw massive increases in business.
“From our perspective any initiative that makes it easier for people to travel to this region and removes that financial barrier would be very welcome.
“Everyone who lives in this community under the Cairns Regional Council should have the right to that concessional card to travel here.”
Residents across the Daintree would like to see the ferry to be funded federally considering it is a main road.
“In 2015 when the ferry licence is renegotiated, we hope council would look toward the future where people don’t have to pay to cross the Daintree River,” Ms Walshaw said.