Geoff moved to Cairns in 1998 having grown up in the Royal National Park in Sydney.
He has a degree in Journalism and Political Science (University of Technology, Sydney) and a Masters with Honours in Science and Technology Studies (University of Wollongong).
In 1992 Geoff spent a year in Brazil where he was involved in the Earth Summit. He will be returning to Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 for the next Earth Summit +20. From 1995 to 2001 Geoff worked as a research fellow for the Institute for Global Futures Research and was editor of the Global Futures Bulletin.
He has been a member of the UNESCO-funded World Futures Studies Federation and participated in their world conference at the University of Queensland in 1997.
In Cairns, Geoff was instrumental in setting up the Cairns-coev online forum on sustainable development in Cairns and FNQ. This online forum continues 12 years on, and participants include the Mayor, Councillors and other political representatives, as well as people from the business sector and academic sector.
He has been involved in setting up community gardens in Cairns and is a member of Permaculture-Cairns. He was active in the successful Save False Cape campaign, and is currently coordinator of the Save City Place - Make It WOW! Campaign.
He recently spent two years in the Philippines working in a number of projects including building four permaculture food gardens for a rural children’s refuge. He also set up a Green Guide to the Philippines (http://greenlightguidemaharlika.net). He was Festival Director of EarthDance Cebu 2010, a 2-day festival bringing together artists and performers from different regions of the country, together with environmental organisations, renewable energy companies, appropriate technology groups and other NGOs, and over 5000 students attending from four universities.
Geoff has managed a number of businesses including an organic food business in Cairns, and more recently was Manager of the Tropical Institute in Lake St.
He has served on the Board of Sustainable TNQ made up of 15 major organisations including Cairns Regional Council, JCU, Cairns Chamber of Commerce, Advance Cairns, Tablelands Regional Council, TERRAIN, GBRMPA et al.
1. Cairns Airport Mangroves. Enact legislative protection of the wetlands surrounding Cairns Airport, and including all the Barron Delta Wetlands.
2. Save City Placeas a pedestrian-only precinct and enhance it to a design excellence standard equivalent to or better than the Esplanade Lagoon. Involve local businesses, local artists, including local aboriginal artists, and the community in general, in the renewal of City Place and in the Inner City Masterplan. Cairns Transit Network to go down Spence St, McLeod St, Aplin St, Lake St.
3. No military expansion in Cairns. Also discourage visits by war ships of any nation. Gradual demilitarisation of the world is our most efficient and effective long term security strategy. At present, as an active partner in the US Alliance along with the UK, we are encouraging greater, not less, militarisation and risk of war around the world.
4. No expansion of coal exportsin Queensland, to protect the Great Barrier Reef from risks associated with more shipping, to protect waterways (witness Gladstone Harbour and demise of local tourism), coastal communities, fishing, agriculture, biodiversity (eg Bimblebox Nature Refuge). Coal is already our biggest export industry. Let’s not get greedy.
5. No Coal Seam Gasin Queensland which threatens our water quality and aquifers as well as prime agricultural land.
6. No coal mine at Rinyirru (Lakefield), Cape York.
7. No GM Crops in the Cairns Region or in FNQ.
8. Prevent hillslope development and other key areas such as Taylor Pointto help retain our natural landscape values.
9. Economic diversification
Cairns history is one of boom and bust due to our excessive reliance on tourism. While we should continue to explore and promote opportunities in tourism, we need to put more effort into developing new sustainable sunrise industries in Cairns and FNQ.
10. 3-day Economic Sustainability Summitevery 6 months at the Cairns Convention Centre focussing on economic diversification and transition to a green sustainable economy. The Community Sector would be central in this Sustainability Summit, with the Small Business Sector, Corporate Sector, Government Sector, Academic Sector, Innovation and Venture Capital Sector, NGO Sector as spokes of a Community Sector hub. Prizes can be awarded for the most innovative and most promising ideas. The Tropical Innovation Awards would be part of this.
11. National Broadband Network for Cairns and FNQ.
12. Reduce red tape for small businesses.
13. Encourage government office relocation to inner CBD.
14. Solar electricity. Increase subsidies for home installation of solar electricity and solar hot water, with a new emphasis on solar for social/public housing, for rental accommodation, for apartments, and for commercial buildings.
15. Eco-tourism. Explore opportunities in niche tourism such as eco-tourism, eco-adventure tourism, eco-spiritual tourism, eco-health-wellbeing tourism, eco-WOOFing-Permaculture tourism.
16. Reduce global warming, programs to support this, and to protect Great Barrier Reef tourism asset.
17. Solar-thermal planton the Tablelands.
18. East Trinity Wetlands Parkwith JCU Centre of Excellence on wetlands rehabilitation and management – an expertise export industry.
19. Wind farm. Completion of a wind-farm at Archer Point and another wind farm on the Tablelands.
20. Import substitution. Look at products coming up from Brisbane, from other capital cities and from overseas and see which products we could produce locally. Provide support for new businesses.
21. Energy efficiency, improving by 50%.
22. Organic farming in the Barron Delta. Explore this option. Despite much of the area being flood prone, sugar cane is successfully being grown there. Much cane land is currently for sale. Look at potential for government-private sector consortia to buy up this land and invest in organic market gardening. Commercial bamboo another option .
23. Aquaculture and fishing (high environmental standards). Protect local fisheries until they regain original populations, then harvest sustainably to maximise income. Fishing tourism.
24. Community Engagement– improved in both State Govt. and Local Govt.
25. Better dialogue and relationship with Bama communitiesexploring new opportunities in education, health, career and business opportunities, home ownership.
26. No uranium miningin Australia
27. No US or any other foreign bases in Australia
28. Humane approach to asylum seekers
29. Healthy lifestyles and preventative medicine strategies. Healthy lifestyles education and taxes on foods that make people sick, costing us billions of dollars every year.
30. Organic agriculture in FNQ, and Food Security– paddock-to-plate food distribution such as the RealFood Network, local organic produce for a fair price to farmers. Legalise raw milk.
31. Cease fluoridation of the water supply. Whatever the supposed benefits of fluoride, it should not be forcibly imposed, or used as an excuse not to fund dental health. There is also considerable evidence to suggest fluoridation is bad for our health.
32. Cairns Bicycle Network1. Palm Cove - Gordonvale, 2. Stratford - Crystal Cascades, 3. Earlville-Kamerunga-Smithfield, with shade trees, rest stops and drinking water fountains.
33. Cairns Base Hospital to Tier 1 category reclassification.
34. Mental health and suicide prevention– community strategies for longterm root causes and solutions.
35. Dental health.
36. Home ownership to increase from 70% to 85% in the Cairns Region.
37. Reduce local unemploymentand sub-employment. Enforce award wages in service industry and a level playing field for all businesses.
38. Food self-reliance and food security in FNQ.
39. Free electric inner city loop bus service.
40. Shade trees especially fruit treesalong footpaths and parks, (5-fold increase).
41. Grand Boulevard. Create a pedestrian Grand Boulevard along Shields St from the Esplanade to Cairns Central on McLeod St
42. De-amalgamationof Cairns Shire Council and Douglas Shire Council. Local Government means local.
43. Community Associations– support for these in each suburb to promote and support micro-sustainability initiatives.
44. Cultivating leadershipfor tomorrow through Education and Youth engagement.
45. Presumption of Equal Parentingin the Family Court following family separation (Federal issue). Greater recognition of, and prevention strategies for ‘parental alienation’ behaviour.
46. Legalise Gay Marriage
47. Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissionsmore carrot incentives, less stick disincentives
48. World Heritage Listing for Cape York.
49. Wild Rivers Legislation but support improved Community Engagement with Cape Aboriginal communities, and greater investment in sustainable industries identified as priorities by Aboriginal communities. Eco-tourism and organic agriculture opportunities at Yarrabah if desired by Yarrabah community.
50. Increase the frequency of buses in Cairns from one an hour to one every 30 minutes. Budget for promotion of the Cairns bus system including a range of incentives.
51. Simpler bus ticketing system,reusable card, go-anywhere daily and weekly ticket.
52. Youth and unemployed concession bus fare applying to anyone under 18yrs or anyone with a Health Care Card.
53. Hybrid or electric buses for Cairns and review the viability of a light rail network examining cost-benefit assumptions. Free electric City Loop Bus in and around the CBD.
54. Refund on bottles– just as in South Australia.
55. Significant reduction in use of plastic bags.
56. Improve recycling. Improve recycling of building materials. Develop local industries in the emerging markets of recycled products.
57. Eco-hub for Cairns, drawing inspiration from Ceres Community Environment Park in Melbourne.
58. Cairns Community College– located in the CBD.
59. Cultural Centre (CEP) located on waterfront, but accurately costed and funded.
60. JCU – greater community engagement.
Cairns Performing Arts Institute (as championed by Brendan Fitzgerald, Katter’s Australian Party, Barron River) articulated with JCU but located in the CBD. This could tie in with the Indigenous Performing Arts Centre about to be launched and located immediately adjacent to City Place (another good reason to protect and enhance City Place!). It could also tie in with supporting and promoting traditional and contemporary performing arts pertaining to the many ethnic communities in the Cairns /FNQ Region.