emPower ~ yourself, your community, your world...                                                           emPower ~ yourself, your community, your world...                                                           emPower ~ yourself, your community, your world...

~   Vision FNQ 2025  ~

The below document is the result of 'Vision FNQ 2025', a three hour public forum held at 7pm on 11th July as part of our 2007 emPower Energy Fest at the TANKS in Collins Avenue in Cairns. The forum was attended by about forty people.

This document has also been published on www.futureofcairns.net. Please feel free to comment on it there. It has also been supplied to state government, local politicians, stake holders and everyone we know of being involved in the FNQ 2025 planning process.
State government and the 2025 planners have been asked to consider this community vision for our common future when they draft the 2025 plan.

To help make this document more powerful, please add yourself as a signatory

Thank you

Svargo Freitag for the emPower team

Vision FNQ 2025


  • 1) Overarching Principles

  • 2) Lifestyle

  • 3) Environment

  • 4) Land Use

  • 5) Transport

  • 6) Urban Footprint

  • 7) Housing

  • 8) Infrastructure

  • 9) Economy

1) Overarching Principles

We ask that the overarching principles for FNQ2025 planning shall be:

  • to develop FNQ into a model community showcasing state of the art technologies and practices that can help the world to minimise the imminent threats from climate change and adapt to them.

  • sustainability for generations to come and a high level of self-sufficiency

  • de-centralisation and localisation

  • community focused settlements and developments

  • lifestyle and environmental qualities to have precedence over growth, monetary values and any development

  • planning for a sustainable, natural and social built environment

  • encourage ongoing active cooperation of all stakeholders to achieve a holistic approach to problems and their solutions

  • respect for and integration of indigenous knowledge and culture

2) Lifestyle

We envision FNQ to have a high quality lifestyle in 2025.

FNQ 2025 and any other future planning shall support and encourage:

  • a relaxed and more simple lifestyle minimising stress

  • enrichment of spiritual aspect and happiness

  • enjoyment of nature and outdoor activities suited to our tropical climate

  • living in harmony with our environment

  • a healthy lifestyle

  • development and promotion of a local tropical culture

  • seasonal celebrations

  • creative arts (music etc), resourcefulness and manual creation

  • tooled community workshops to foster creativity

  • encourage seasonal foods rather than un-seasonal imported foods

  • integration of Yarrabah, Mona Mona and other Aboriginal communities

  • Adequate social services to minimise rich/poor divide and resulting crime

  • social services to eliminate domestic abuse and education and support to assist change for dysfunctional families

  • free health care and education

  • use of natural medicine

  • respect and empowerment for both white and Aboriginal elders, integrating them into society, rather than separating them into 'retirement homes'.

  • provide local information to all new comers (rental or home owners), especially on native fauna and flora

3) Environment

We recognise that without a healthy environment we cannot have a sustainable economy, which is why any land useage has to respect, support and compliment our natural environment

2025 and any other future planning shall:

  • protect sufficiently large areas of all existing habitats as a priority so they will become and remain long term sustainable

  • identify and link eco-sensitive areas and create a matrix of connecting corridors linking presently fragmented ecosystems

  • set aside corridors to allow for fauna and flora migration to higher ground as temperatures rise

  • protect and encourage beach-side vegetation and mangroves

  • ensure river water to be of drinking quality to support a healthy native flora

4) Land Use (Forestry, Agriculture & Mining)

  • integrate agriculture and forestry

  • create diverse mixed native forestry plantings

  • encourage native food production

  • encourage and promote community supported agriculture (CSA)

  • encourage and promote the use of Terra Preta for soil enrichment and carbon sequestration

  • diversify agriculture to encourage local food supply

  • encourage tropical crops - eg coconut, sago, hemp, bamboo, taro

  • discourage large mono culture farming to increase climate resilience and minimise oil dependency

  • encourage and promote biodynamic, organic and permaculture methods to maximise resilience to extreme weather, to minimise our areas exposure to peak oil (fuel and fertiliser) and to improve soil quality to be long term sustainable

  • discourage chemical fertilisers and use of toxins

  • encourage and promote non tilling methods of farming to reduce erosion through wind and rain

  • FNQ shall be a GM free zone

  • encourage conversion of beef cattle production to farming native animals

  • decentralised produce distribution, eg a network of farmers markets, to minimise food miles

  • origin labelling and food miles of agricultural and all other products

  • encourage and promote holistic land management

  • encourage land stewardship – eg encourage farmers to plant food trees for native animals (eg flowering trees to keep fruit bats from fruit crops)

  • mines shall be managed and operated without any permanent negative impact on our environment respect and sensitivity of environmentally and cultural values

  • to value our ecosystems above money generation

  • support traditional Aboriginal land use knowledge/practices

5) Transport

  • transportation corridors – tramways utilising existing cane rail corridors (adding a third rail to allow faster trains), light rail commuting system carrying bicycles and passengers

  • Gordonvale to Cairns train service on existing rails can be introduced immediately (again allowing bicycles and electric bikes to be taken into carriages)

  • provide plenty of parking for cars and bikes at strategic bus stops and all light rail stations.

  • identify corridors for future transport needs eg light rail services and bicycle path

  • use of Skyrail for commuting

  • efficient Sunbus service

  • developing phone and SMS based systems for buses, taxis and car-sharing

  • jetty / ferry services from northern beaches

  • localisation of public services eg hospital to minimise distances travelled

  • car / bicycle pooling

  • southern electric rail tunnel – White Rock to Mareeba for passengers, bicycles, B-doubles, cars – with regenerative braking, combined with a limited upgrade of Kuranda Range Road

  • minimise the need for transportation through good planning

  • shift the airport to higher ground, probably best to existing Mareeba airport

  • retain community input/ control into the airport

  • encourage the use of plug-in electric cars to reduce emissions and fossil fuel dependency and lobby manufacturers for their production

  • bicycle corridors - tree shaded and designed for efficient commuting (allowing for use by bicycles and electric bikes; eg wide enough for easy overtaking)

  • facilitate increase of public transport and encourage reduction of individual transport (more rail, less roads)

6) Urban Footprint

  • development of sustainable villages and urban nodes linked by bike-path, trains and public transport

  • higher density urban nodes with communal green spaces and facilities (to encourage community life) rather than large suburban or rural residential blocks

  • allow for eco villages in local planning

  • no further hill-slope developments in Cairns

  • development and settlements shall be allowed only in areas of least environmental impact (especially on the Tablelands)

  • restriction on house animals in areas around sensitive biotopes and world heritage areas – eg cats and dogs banned

  • transforming and retrofitting existing built-up areas to encourage community life

  • design settlements for natural airflows to minimise heat effects and allow for wide fire breaks especially in eucalypt forest (wide enough to stop possible crown fires)

  • establishing a duty of care for land owners

  • regulate pace of growth to avoid boom/bust cycles

7) Housing

  • integration of housing into natural landscape rather than bulldozing and replanting

  • renewable energy as prime source for house energy needs (eg photo voltaics, small windmills, geothermal air-conditioning and solar hot water)

  • sustainable green architecture and tropical house design eg passive cross ventilation, tree and roof shading, energy efficiency (passive and active) etc

  • give preference to building materials which are locally resourced and have a low embedded energy input

  • encouragement of individual rather than mono-cultural housing

  • encourage, favour and promote less obese housing (possibly consider “tiny housing”)

  • encourage owner builder - self education

  • rain water tanks in all new housing and encourage retrofitting of existing housing

  • re-use of grey water in all new housing and encourage retrofitting of existing housing

  • incorporation of zero waste

  • encourage native plant species and discourage introduced species in house gardens

  • encourage and promote permaculture and food production in house gardens

  • encourage native animals

8) Infrastructure (other than transport)

  • sea walls or progressively turning roads into canals to prepare for rising sea-levels in Cairns

  • infrastructure and population to harmonise and fit within environment

  • local energy generation from renewable energies

  • renewable energy as prime energy source

  • decentralisation of energy sources

  • high voltage DC transmission to facilitate renewable systems and minimise line losses

  • FNQ nuclear free zone (like Herberton Shire)

  • sewage plants converted to methane digesters to provide energy and fertiliser

  • increase re-use and recycling

  • minimise land fill and ultimately zero waste

  • public spaces for recreation and creativity

  • diverse, native plants and food plants for public spaces

  • drought tolerant landscaping

  • storm water treatment and recovery

  • water collection towers in arid areas (eg western Mareeba and Herberton shire)

  • rain water storage tanks in public buildings

  • maximising water collection – incorporated into new developments

  • decentralising water supply and treatment

  • resorts to minimise water usage on gardens

  • solar powered desalination plant

  • environmental and practical school education (eg cooking, gardening)

  • community involvement in schools

  • smaller well funded schools and diverse options for education and health care

9) Economy

As a consequence of rising oil prices and climate change there is a high likelihood of a decline in tourism and possibly export of agriculture products. To mitigate those effects and make our FNQ economy more resilient we envision:

  • FNQ to become a model of sustainability

  • federally recognised research and development of alternative technologies and agriculture

  • educational centres for alternative technologies and agriculture (like Freiburg in Germany)

  • export of technology and know-how

  • encourage rain-farms to export drinking water

  • encourage reduction of needless consumption

  • politically more autonomous bio-regions

  • encourage community banks

  • encourage cooperation of all stake holders

  • barter, trade and skill sharing systems

  • diversification – create as many products locally as possible

  • diversified education to encourage wide range of local trades and production, minimising our dependence on imports

please feel free to comment on this document at futureofcairns.net

To help make this document more powerful, please add yourself as a signatory. Thank you



Copyright (c) Jayde InterActive Technologies, 2007