The following answers address a range of commonly asked questions.

De-amalgamation Process

Dealing with the new Council

Rates, Fees, Charges and other Financial Matters

Applications, Licenses and Customer Requests




How can I contact the Transfer Manager in relation to de-amalgamation?

Anyone wishing to contact the Transfer Manager should email

When will the Council election be held?

The Local Government Minister, the Hon. David Crisafulli – MP has announced that the Council election will be held on 9 November 2013. For more information please contact the Electoral Commission Queensland by telephone on 1300 881 665 or visit their website at

How much will de-amalgamation cost?

Douglas Shire Council is required to pay all costs associated with the de-amalgamation process from the date of the poll for de-amalgamation (9 March 2013) to the changeover day (1 January 2014). While all effort will be made to keep these costs as low as possible, the reality is that it will cost a significant amount to implement the de-amalgamation. In assessing the submission for de-amalgamation prior to the vote, the Queensland Treasury Corporation estimated that total de-amalgamation costs would be $4,455,697, but final figures will not be known until the first half of 2014.

Who pays for de-amalgamation?

The legislation requires that all costs directly attributed to the de-amalgamation will be the responsibility of the de-amalgamating council, not the remaining council. This means that ratepayers in the new Douglas Shire Council must cover the costs of de-amalgamation. The amount and timing of the rate increases to cover these costs will be determined by the new Council.

How has the number of staff to be transferred been decided?

The Cairns Regional Council’s Chief Executive Officer is responsible for deciding the number of positions and the staff to transfer to Douglas Shire Council.

The Transfer Manager has prepared an interim organisational structure which will commence on 1 January 2014 and will remain in place until the new council adopts a new structure.

The interim structure provided for approximately 140 staff.

When will a budget for Douglas be prepared?

The 2013/14 Budget provides for the whole of the Cairns Regional Council area until 31 December 2013 and there is a legislative requirement that Douglas Shire Council will prepare and adopt its own budget for the period 1 January 2014 to 30 June 2014 by 1 February 2014.

Where will Douglas Shire Council’s offices be located?

The existing Customer Service Centre at 64-66 Front Street, Mossman will become the primary location for the new Council after 1 January 2014.

Will citizenship ceremonies be conducted by Douglas Shire Council?

Yes. These ceremonies will be conducted by the new Mayor after 1 January 2014.

Are bin collections days likely to change after 1 January 2014?

No. It is anticipated that the collections will remain the same.

Will anything change for regular users of Mossman and Port Douglas halls?

Nothing will change.

What happens to my preferred supplier status?

The Cairns Regional Council Preferred Supplier list will transfer across to Douglas Shire Council on 1 January 2014. The Preferred Supplier businesses have signed contracts and those contracts are still legally binding on the new Council until they expire.

Suppliers will need to set up new accounts for the new Douglas Shire Council, and Council staff will be contacting them to explain what is happening and what they need to do. In the new year, local businesses not on the preferred supplier list can apply to Council, however existing preferred supplier contracts will be fulfilled.

What will happen with my Daintree ferry Smartcard?

All Daintree ferry Smartcards issued by Cairns Regional Council will transfer over to Douglas Shire Council from 1 January 2014 and remain current.

What is the new Douglas Shire Council’s ABN?

Douglas Shire Council’s ABN number will be the same as it was before amalgamation : 71 241 237 800

How/where should I pay for rates, registrations bills, licences etc?

Because local government authorities do not accept payments on behalf of neighbouring or other councils, the question of where you should pay any bills is determined by which Council raised the charge.

All charges raised prior to 1 January 2014 will be from Cairns Regional Council (CRC), so they must be payed to this Council. They may be paid using any of the available on-line options, or you can pay at any CRC service centre. Note, however, that from the 1 January, the current service centre located in Mossman will transfer to the new Douglas Shire Council, and will no longer be able to take payment for CRC charges after this date.

From 1 January 2014, the new Douglas Shire Council will be raising charges on its own behalf, and these will need to be paid to Douglas Shire Council, either using one of the available on-line options, or in person at the Mossman service centre. Douglas Shire Council charges cannot be paid at any of the remaining CRC service centres from 1 January

Will the money I pay for my July rates be spent in the Douglas Shire area?

All rates, fees and charges paid by residents/property owners to Cairns Regional Council will be used to fund services and programs as outlined in the 2013/14 Budget which includes the Douglas Shire area up until 31 December 2013.

Will my direct debit transfer over?

If someone has an authority with Cairns Regional Council then legally it transfers by virtue of the Regulation. We are looking at the practical implications, but it is unlikely people will have to complete additional paperwork as the direct debit should be automatically changed.

What happens if my balance is in credit on 1 January 2014?

Any credit balances for Douglas Shire residents will automatically transfer to the Douglas Shire Council on 1 January 2014.

What happens if I have an outstanding balance on 1 January 2014?

Any outstanding balances from charges such as rates, animal registrations, licences and venue hire for Douglas Shire residents will automatically transfer to Douglas Shire Council.

Do I need to take any action to claim my pensioner rebate from Douglas Shire Council?

No. If you have already claimed your pensioner rebate with Cairns Regional Council, your eligibility will transfer over.

Will Capital Projects transfer to Douglas Shire Council

Yes. All Capital Budget Projects that were previously underway with Cairns Regional Council will rollover to the new Douglas Shire Council on 1 January 2014.

This means that roads works and capital works will continue until they are completed.

Will the water bill cycles change?

No. The current water billing cycle will continue until the expiration of the current contract (October 2014).

What will happen to my animal registration and other registrations/licences after 1 January 2014?

All licences and registrations issued by Cairns Regional Council will transfer over to Douglas Shire Council from 1 January 2014 and will remain current until their expiration date.

Will any outstanding requests I have lodged with Cairns Regional Council transfer over to Douglas Shire Council and will my request number change?

Outstanding requests will transfer over to the new Council and will be allocated a new request number.

I am a Food Business Licence holder – do I need a new licence to display after 1 January 2014?

No. Cairns Regional Council issued licenses will remain valid until their expiry date. You will need to apply to the new Douglas council prior to this date to arrange for renewal.

I have lodged an application with Cairns Regional Council (plumbing, development, building) – will it transfer over?

Yes. Both applications that are in progress, and those that have been completed will transfer over.

Where do I send my library books and can I still borrow from Cairns Regional Library?

With the de-amalgamation of Cairns Regional Council and Douglas Shire Council, Douglas Libraries will become part of Rural Libraries Queensland.

You will be able to reserve items from over 60 locations to collect at Mossman or Port Douglas. Rural Libraries Queensland will give you 24/7 access of over ¼ million items including…

  • eBooks
  • Free downloadable music
  • eAudio books

Will I need a new library card?

Yes. You will need to obtain a new Rural Libraries Queensland (RLQ) card. Your RLQ card can be used at 28 Local Government Councils around the State, primarily in regional and outback Queensland.

We will provide further information on how, when and where you can obtain the new cards closer to the date of de-amalgamation.

Can I still borrow from Cairns Libraries?

From 1st January you will still be able to borrow items from any of Cairns Libraries branches with your Cairns Libraries card. However, you will need to both BORROW and RETURN your items at any of Cairns Libraries branches (Smithfield, Stratford, City, Earlville, Manunda, Edmonton, Gordonvale and Babinda). Cairns Libraries members are bound by Cairns Regional Council regulations and fees and charges.