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Managing the Great Barrier Reef is a collaborative effort. Actions taken outside of the Marine Park are central to the protection of the Reef and its communities. 

Through the Reef Guardian Council Program, local governments are delivering key management actions that address the threats facing the Reef and its heritage values. As key management partners, Reef Guardian Councils contribute to the long-term resilience of the Reef through the work they do outside of the Marine Park. 

Reef Guardian Councils undertake a wide range of environmental initiatives that: 

  • Limit the impacts of climate change
  • Reduce the impacts that land-based activities have
  • Protect, rehabilitate and restore natural habitats
  • Reduce the impacts of water-based activities
  • Conserve historic and cultural heritage
  • Support voluntary stewardship.

The Reef Guardian Council program proudly contributes to the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

Reef Guardian Councils are activating shovel-ready projects that will result in tangible benefits to the Reef over the next three years, thanks to grants funded by the Australian Government.

Is my Council a Reef Guardian Council?

There are 19 councils between Bundaberg and Cooktown, involved in the Reef Guardian Council program.  This accounts for an area of more than 300,000 square kilometres and includes approximately one million people – that’s almost the same size as the Reef itself. 

Each council undertakes various actions, unique to their communities that each help to address the key threats to the Reef. A voluntary partnership, Reef Guardian Councils join a network of like-minded councils and key partners to harness the power and knowledge of the collective.

Find out how your council is doing their part to protect the Great Barrier Reef. 

Bundaberg region is the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef. Renowned for its beautiful coastline, islands and reef. The Regional Council is the southernmost council in the program and covers more than 6400 square kilometres and is home to around 97,000 residents. 

The following projects in Bundaberg Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Washpool Creek Drain Naturalisation - The Washpool Creek corridor offers a unique opportunity to improve waterway health and reinstate the natural beauty of the area. Two projects will see the replacement of existing concrete channel with a naturalised riparian ecosystem providing significant water quality improvements for stormwater entering the receiving areas of both Bundaberg Creek and Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park which drain directly to the Burnett River, and in turn directly into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Also draining via Baldwin Swamp Environmental Park and industrial/commercial areas, Bundaberg Creek, the Burnett River and eventually to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 
  • The Telegraph Road Detention Basin Improvements project will contribute to improved habitat and biodiversity, ecology, amenity, urban cooling and carbon sequestration. The basin is an example of a typical detention basin which only provides a stormwater quantity function and provides little value to the environment. The treatment proposed for the detention basin is for it to remain free draining, and vegetated with native trees, shrubs and groundcovers to establish an ephemeral wetland ecosystem which will assist in removing urban pollutants via filtration. High plant diversity will allow for a self-sustaining ecosystem to develop with maintenance being limited to occasional weeding, with weeding requirements decreasing as the ecosystem matures.
  • Bundaberg Regional Council’s Waterways Rubbish Removal Program will directly remove significant amounts of rubbish from three major local rivers in the Bundaberg Region (Burnett, Kolan and Elliott rivers) and prevent this rubbish from becoming harmful marine debris in the Great Barrier Reef. The use of suitably qualified contractors, local First Nations Peoples and community volunteers will promote participation, stewardship and assist with reducing rubbish entering local waterways. 

Burdekin Shire is a thriving agricultural region with two major river systems, Burdekin and Haughton rivers, plus a number of waterways and lagoons that discharge into the Great Barrier Reef. The Shire covers 5044 square kilometres and supports a population of more than 17,000 residents. The Burdekin Shire Council has developed an Environmental Policy that incorporates ecologically sustainable development principles into council management systems and decision-making processes. These guide council in making sound environmental practices. 

The following projects in Burdekin Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Pest weed removal – With the use of a Weedoo machine, this project will manually remove aquatic weed and restore and rehabilitate 11 water systems directly linked to Reef (encompassing 706Ha in area and 99 kms length). The project will reduce the use of herbicide which is currently used to manage aquatic weeds, and will also reduce the weed biomass settling to the bottom of the water system (which increases the organic load and affects water quality discharged to the Reef). Removed weed will be crushed by landholders and mixed with soil to serve as fertiliser. 
  • Rehabilitation and Restoration of Land – A contractor will be engaged to mechanically remove woody weeds declared in the Burdekin Shire Council Biosecurity Plan with minimum/nil use of herbicides on land parcels of participating landholders across grazing land area of 1700sqkm. 
  • Take Aim (feral deer) for Conservation – This project involves control and reduction in numbers of feral deer at known locations by 30% in 2 infestation zones (Rita Island and Woodstock-Giru area) to mitigate the damage caused by these animals on environment and subsequent impacts on the water quality affecting the Reef. 
  • Education on Wheels – An educational trailer will be purchased and fitted out for use at public events, field days and school visits to engage with community to foster positive relationships and share knowledge about the Reef. 
  • Reducing emissions – This project will see solar panels installed at Burdekin Theatre (40Kw System), Burdekin Memorial Hall (40Kw System) and Ayr Showgrounds Main Hall (25Kw System) to reduce Council’s carbon footprint.

Located in Far North Queensland, Cairns Regional Council covers an area of 1689 square kilometres, with a population of more than 17000 residents. 

The following projects in Cairns Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Clean Creeks is a partnership between Cairns Regional Council and the regions Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger organisations to reduce the amount of litter entering the reef lagoon from the Cairns region through a combination of:
    • Riparian and in-stream litter clean-ups.
    • Litter data collection and source reduction opportunities.
    • Community education and engagement about litter impacts and responsible disposal options.
    • Nature-based solutions for litter prevention, interception and habitat restoration.
  • Reducing emissions - With the activation of Council’s renewable electricity supply agreement with Clean Co from 1 July 2024, comes an opportunity to reduce fossil fuel consumption further, by piloting battery electric passenger vehicles in the Cairns Regional Council fleet. Despite being a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Cairns’ uptake of electric vehicles lags behind the national average. This project will build awareness of their benefits, provide training and drive down emissions, contributing to efforts which reduce climate change impacts on the Reef.
  • Conservation Partnerships is a multi-year initiative to revegetate bushland and riparian corridors in the Cairns region for water quality and habitat connectivity outcomes, helping to restore ecosystem services in collaboration with local conservation groups, land and sea ranger groups and natural resource management organisations. Key activities include:
    • native seedling propagation
    • revegetation and weed management
    • community engagement and education
    • supporting the conservation sector’s capacity to rehabilitate sites within the Reef catchment.

Known for its rainforest and Reef position, the Cassowary Coast Regional Council has a vested interest in protecting the Great Barrier Reef. The Region stretches about 150 kilometres along the coast between the major regional cities of Townsville and Cairns. The Region covers 4688 square kilometres and is home to 30,000 people. 

The following projects in Cassowary Coast Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Improving water quality to the Reef - This project will address the Reef 2050 outcomes by reducing the impacts from land-based activities by developing improved resilience and methodology in unsealed road management in the wet tropics. The project is anticipated to achieve a reduction in sediment loss of up to 200 tonnes per year by lowering and sealing a 2km section of road that is frequently inundated. Improved shoulder and drainage management will also occur based on outcomes of the Cleaner Road Runoff project occurring in the region. The site chosen for the project is adjacent to wetland of national and state significance, on the upper reaches of contiguous floodplains of the Tully and Murray rivers, in one of the wettest regions of Australia. Successful implementation of this project could also be applied to a further 35km of the 527km unsealed roads in the region.
  • Mitigate the impacts of climate change – This project will include undertaking a Green House Gas inventory and developing a Climate change strategy to provide clear direction on the required actions to support the state, national, and international targets of CO2 reduction, upgrades to the solar network, and installation of new generation capacity and enabling infrastructure to support the transition to an electrified vehicle fleet. 
  • Wetland rehabilitation - This project aims to undertake Traditional knowledge led wetland re-instatement in Innisfail to engage wider community in a practical restoration demonstration while improving urban and agricultural water quality outcomes and contributing to the overall improvement in receiving water quality of the Great Barrier Reef lagoon. Guided by the Warrina Lakes masterplan, First Nations people will be engaged alongside Cassowary Coast River Improvement Trust and Johnstone River Catchment Association to finalise design and implement a public wetland in central Innisfail. Multiple outcomes will be achieved including urban water quality improvements, fisheries and wetlands values, and increase in habitat of multiple endangered ecosystems and species.

The Central Highlands region is located at the top of the Fitzroy Basin which flows to the southern Great Barrier Reef. It covers 59,834 square kilometres and has a population of 27,000 residents. As part of the Fitzroy Basin, the second largest seaward draining basin in Australia, Central Highlands Regional Council recognises its region’s role in protecting the health of the Reef.

The following project in Central Highlands Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • The Central Highlands Regional Council Landscape-Scale Feral Pig (and other feral animals) Integrated Control Program seeks to strategically control the invasive feral pig species by implementing a landscape-scale management program. The program will include core actions of surveillance, collaring, monitoring, trapping and baiting activities over a period of three years. The activities will be carried out in Central Highlands Regional Council within the key project areas of Springsure, Capella, Duaringa and Bauhinia. Feral pigs are known for significant soil disturbance and therefore suppression of their population will improve water and habitat quality in the catchments that ultimately drain to the Great Barrier Reef.

Cook Shire is the largest shire in Queensland in terms of land area, covering more than 100,000 square kilometres and stretching most of the eastern and central parts of Cape York Peninsula. The shire is home to some 5000 residents.

The following projects in Cook Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Improving water quality – The Mt Tully Gravel Pit Remediation involves re-profiling and re-shaping existing gullies in the key run off sites, installing rock check dams to reduce flow velocities and capture sediment, and construction of a sediment basin to assist with sediment retention. Each site at Mt Tully will be unique and remediation strategies will be tailored to the specific conditions and requirement of the sites to ensure the maximum ongoing benefit to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • The Cooktown Sewage Treatment (STP) project will double the capacity of the current overflow tank at the STP by installing an additional 40,000L tank to catch the overflow of partially treated sewage and excess nutrients released into the Endeavour River during rainfall events. 
  • The Annan and Endeavour River Catchment Road Upgrade Project will include bitumen sealing and constructing small drainage structures on problematic roads within the catchment area to improve road stability, reduce maintenance and sediment loss to the Reef.

With tourism the major contributor to Douglas Shire’s economy, protecting the Great Barrier Reef is important to Douglas Shire Council. Douglas Shire covers 2445 square kilometres, with 95 kilometres of Coral Sea coastline linking it to the Great Barrier Reef. More than 12,000 people call Douglas Shire home.
The following projects in Douglas Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Erosion Sediment Control and Stormwater Education and Compliance Program The project aims to support both Council and the Construction Industry in implementing an erosion sediment control (ESC) and stormwater education and compliance program. The project will target active building, construction, land development and redevelopment activities to reduce sediment laden land-based run off. The project will consist of an education program involving staff training, builders field day, development of tools and resources and development of a standard condition for planning approvals and permits. The project will move into a compliance program with the purpose of monitoring and enforcement. The aim is to improve the quality of land-based run off and water quality through increased effective land management practices in coastal catchments.
  • Wastewater Treatment System Improvement and Education Pilot Program - The projects aim is to identify groundwater levels and conduct ground water monitoring in Douglas Shire’s non-sewered coastal communities to ensure only suitable On-site Wastewater Treatment Systems (OWTS), that won’t contaminate groundwater or stormwater are installed. A site assessment and analysis of OWTS will form the basis of an education program. The development of educational material and a localised standard for OWTS in non-sewered beach communities in Douglas will support Council and Industry in implementing best practice measures. The project will reduce ground water contamination from poorly functioning systems protecting coastal waters and the Great Barrier Reef. 
  • Reducing emissions - Douglas Shire Council (Council) is serious about managing climate risks. The Council monitors its environmental performance by calculating its own carbon footprint and looking for ways to reduce its carbon emissions. As energy consumption is one of the largest sources of emissions, Council is undertaking mitigation actions to address climate change by transitioning to renewable energy sources to reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions and their carbon footprint. In 2022, Council undertook a scoping project to identify suitable sites for future renewable energy projects. The multi-site solar review identified Council’s highest energy consuming sites and included a proposal to reduce energy costs and emissions through the installation of solar. This project aims to install 283.4kW of solar systems across different Council facilities, prioritising some of the highest energy consuming facilities. Solar systems will be installed on Council facilities located in Mossman and Port Douglas.
  • Feral pig control program - Feral Pigs are listed as Restricted matter under the Queensland Biosecurity Act 2014 and cause a range of environmental, economic and social impacts. Douglas Shire Council’s Feral Pig Management Program has been active for more than 20 years and historically was a joint funded program between the State and Federal Governments. Council currently employs one Feral Animal Controller to target pig activity North of the Daintree River on land adjacent to the World Heritage Daintree National Park. The project aims to increase Council’s Feral Pig Control capacity and build it into a Community Feral Pig Control Program through stakeholder engagement and cost share arrangement.  The project will target the protection of environmental and agricultural assets and assist to reduce the impacts of feral pigs on the natural environment.

Located in the heart of the Southern Great Barrier Reef, the Gladstone Region covers more than 10,000 square kilometres and is home to more than 63,000 people.

The following project in Gladstone Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Accelerating Councils transition to emissions reduction - This project will facilitate Gladstone Regional Councils transition towards a net zero emissions future by reducing greenhouse gas emissions within Councils operational control contributing to the global efforts at a local level to support Reef health. This will be achieved by:
    • Delivery of a renewable energy project at the Tannum Sands Waste-water treatment facility to generate sustainable energy
    • Undertaking energy audits for facilities and Council assets
    • Optimisation of energy consumption and nitrogen-removal at waste-water treatment plants by installing Dissolved Oxygen instrumentation and undertaking studies and developing the relevant Receiving Environment Monitoring Program

Hinchinbrook Shire Council is a proud custodian of the Great Barrier Reef and is committed to delivering climate change action at the local level. Located along the coastline connecting to the Central Great Barrier Reef, Hinchinbrook Shire covers 2800 square kilometres and is home to 11,000 residents.

The following projects in Hinchinbrook Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Reducing emissions - This project involves a series of well-coordinated activities spread across three years to ensure the successful integration of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems into Council facilities. Each year has distinct activities tailored to the unique requirements of the sites and their energy profiles. 
    • Year 1: Lannercost Street Office Solar Installation (100kW)
    • Year 2: TYTO Centre Solar Integration (130kW)
    • Year 3: Ingham Martin Street Depot and Water Treatment Plant Solar (60kW)

Isaac Regional Council believes in the power of collective change and is aware of its role as a Great Barrier Reef champion and leader of change. In 2020, the council was awarded for its sustainability efforts. The Isaac region is located in Central Queensland, at the northern end of the Southern Great Barrier Reef. It covers 58,708 square kilometres and has more than 20,000 people.

The following projects in Isaac Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Water Quality Improvements through Feral Animal Control – Feral pigs are a key threatening process under the Environmental and Biodiversity Protection Act 1999, a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014, a priority feral animal under the Isaac Region Biosecurity Plan 2020-2023, and improving coordinated feral pig control is a national priority (National Feral Pig Action Plan). Feral pigs cause extensive environmental, cultural and economic damage, including:
    • Increased erosion and sedimentation in the Reef Catchment.
    • Destruction of native habitat and carrying zoonotic diseases.
    • Release of soil bound CO2 to atmosphere through soil disturbance. 
    • Predation of native species including turtle eggs. 
    • The objectives of the Water Quality Improvements in the Great Barrier Reef Catchment through Feral Animal Control are:
    • Coordination of enduring feral pig control activities incorporating aerial culling in the Connors and Isaac River Catchments.  
    • Provide advice, training, and support to landholders to develop feral pig management programs.
    • Supplement Council led baiting programs.
    • Collect, manage and analyse data on all feral pig activities, including the assessment of damage caused.
    • Promote feral pig management in the wider community by increasing awareness of feral pig impact on the Great Barrier Reef, other environments, climate, economy and community.
  • Restoring coastal habitat for marine species - This project will engage with two environmental groups at two locations on the Isaac coast. The Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation at the St Lawrence wetlands to protect marine fish nursery habitat from weed inundation and biodiversity loss and Sarina Landcare to protect a turtle nesting beach and a critically endangered ecological community that shelters seabirds at Notch Point from the pressures of camping, 4WDs and improper human waste disposal. Removal of weeds, planting of endemic native species and fencing and educational signage will protect and enhance the ecological values of these sites whilst communicating their importance to the community. 
  • Installing Solar Power Systems on Community Facilities - A three-year program involving the procurement, installation and commissioning of solar power systems on Council community facilities and assets in the Isaac Region.

Livingstone Shire is located along the Capricorn Coast in Central Queensland. The shire covers approximately 11,776 square kilometres, with 36,000 residents.

The following projects in Livingstone Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Our Living Coast Restoration: Bangalee and Todd Avenue Projects – will involve partnership with the Darumbal people to ensure cultural heritage values and knowledge are incorporated in the project and will engage local residents and stakeholders in a co-design process.  Ten thousand plants will be grown in the Council's Community Local Native Plant Nursery for planting into the Bangalee and Todd Avenue sites.  This will rehabilitate native plant communities, including remnants of littoral rainforest (a threatened community), trapping sand, taking up nutrients and improving water quality. Restored habitats will support a range of wildlife of local to national significance including marine turtles (predominantly Green turtles)that nest on this beach. 
  • Oxford Road Water Quality and Habitat project - will involve partnership with the Darumbal people to ensure cultural heritage values and knowledge are incorporated in the project and will engage local residents and stakeholders in a co-design process.   Fifteen thousand plants will be grown in the Council's Community Local Native plant Nursery for planting into the Oxford Road sites and other waterway sites to create diverse native plant communities that will trap sediment, take up nutrients and improve water quality. Restored habitats will support a range of wildlife of local to national significance including, Cycas ophiolitica, the Marlborough Blue Cycad, locally endemic and Endangered at State and Federal level. Earthworks will be undertaken within the watercourse to re-create ponds and riffles that give the water settling areas to allow sediment to drop out of the water and be naturally treated as it passes over rocks and vegetation before flowing downstream.
  • Yeppoon Solar Retrofit project - incorporates two key components: the purchase of eight streetlights, each with two solar panels and four batteries, to be installed on the Scenic Highway at the entrance to Causeway Lake; and the purchase and installation of a solar BBQ (electric BBQ, light and solar panels/roof structure) at Farnborough Beach to replace a gas BBQ.
    • Both installations will be 100% off-grid, stand-alone solar powered facilities. The ongoing contribution of the renewable solar power will reduce power costs and provide an excellent demonstration to encourage the broader community to transition to renewable power sources. Signage will be installed at both locations to promote the project and highlight the threat of climate change to the Great Barrier Reef.

Mackay Regional Council is committed to helping to protect, conserve and enhance the values of the Great Barrier Reef for future generations. Located where the Southern Great Barrier Reef meets the Central Great Barrier Reef, the Mackay region covers more than 7600 square kilometres and is home to 120,000 people. Mackay Regional Council’s actions as a Reef Guardian Council are working towards improved water quality and helping build Reef resilience.

The following projects in Mackay Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Jolimont Creek Fishway, Goosepond Creek Aerator and Gross Pollutant Traps - Jolimont Creek Weir is in Kuttabul, approximately 40km north-west of Mackay. The project will construct a partial width rock ramp fishway allowing anadromous and commercially important fish to move around this weir and causeway. Designed to resemble rapids of a natural watercourse, it will be constructed using rock to form a series of small pools and riffles at regular intervals. 
    • The Jolimont Creek Fishway Project is especially important as this waterway falls within the catchment of the St Helens Beach to Cape Hillsborough Net Free Fishing Zone introduced by the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in November 2017. Net free fishing zones are closed to all commercial netting and aim to increase recreational fishing opportunities, supporting tourism and economic growth in the region. 
    • In addition, the aerator in Goosepond Creek will improve oxygen levels throughout this system, making the creek better habitat for key fish species such as barramundi. This will reduce the potential for future fish kills, which have been experienced in this creek. Gross Pollutant Traps will be added to the stormwater network within Mackay to trap rubbish and other debris. This activity improves stormwater quality and reduces the amount of pollutants entering our watercourses and ultimately impacting the Great Barrier Reef.

Mareeba Shire Council is doing its part to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. Mareeba Shire is located at the base of the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland. It covers an area of 54,491 square kilometres and is home to more than 22,500 residents.

The following project in Mareeba Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Barron River Catchment Sewer Infrastructure Upgrade – will increase capacity and strengthen the sewer network in Mareeba and Kuranda by remediating sewer manholes in the Barron River catchment. The proposed upgrade of essential water treatment infrastructure will significantly mitigate the risk of sewage overflows within the Barron River catchment, and ultimately the Great Barrier Reef. Land-based run-off is identified in the Outlook Report 2019 as one of the top four threats to the Great Barrier Reef. The Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (the Reef 2050 Plan) states that sewage treatment plants can be intensive point sources of water pollution. By reducing nutrient runoff, Mareeba Shire Council’s project aligns with the Reef 2050 Plan’s goal to improve urban water management.

Rockhampton Regional Council is proud to be a Reef Guardian Council. The Rockhampton region includes extensive wetlands, creeks and river systems, covering six per cent of the total region. The Fitzroy River is the region’s major waterway and the largest river catchment flowing to the Great Barrier Reef. Located on the Tropic of Capricorn and covering an area of 6570 square kilometres, the Rockhampton region is home to more than 82,000 people.

The following project in Rockhampton Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Installation of solar - The Rockhampton Airport Solar project will deliver a 976kW solar system at the Rockhampton Airport Terminal, a key initiative outlined in Council’s Reef Action Plan. As Council’s second highest electricity-consuming facility, the Rockhampton Airport is critical regional infrastructure that is owned and operated by Rockhampton Regional Council, supporting 600,000 passenger movements through the Rockhampton Region each year. The installation of behind-the-meter solar at Rockhampton Airport supports the Reef 2050 Plan objective of ‘limiting the impacts of climate change’ by providing renewable energy to lead the community by example and cost-effectively accelerate the local transition towards net zero emissions.

The Tablelands region is located in Far North Queensland, covers 11,293 square kilometres and is home to more than 25,500 people. While having no coastline, the region recognises the connection of land to Reef.
The following project in Tablelands Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Riparian Restoration on Private Land – this project will improve the condition of land, land management practices and the overall health of the regional waterways, while providing support, training and information to landholders to encourage improvement in the management of private land within the shire.
  • Solar Panel Installation – this project involves the installation of solar panels on existing buildings owned by Tablelands Regional Council with the primary goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting environmental sustainability. By harnessing solar energy to generate electricity, the project aims to contribute to the Reef 2050 objectives of limiting the impacts of climate change by transitioning towards cleaner energy sources.
  • Priors Creek Riparian Restoration and Interpretive Walk – The Priors Creek Precinct (PCP) is a regionally significant project for the Tablelands and broader region. The PCP will create a sense of place that enhances the Atherton Tablelands, brings together the community and enhances our natural environment. As a key component of the PCP, the Priors Creek Riparian Restoration and Interpretive Walk project (the project) aims to improve water quality through riparian restoration, revegetation and erosion control while offering education and awareness to the local community and visiting public. A walk through a variety of vegetation types with interpretive signage will allow people to immerse themselves into nature, learn about different Regional Ecosystems (RE's), local flora and fauna.
  • Soil Conservation and Stormwater Drainage Improvements – this project aims to deliver critical works on stormwater drainage infrastructure, including soil conservation works, in the Tolga area to improve sediment control and increase stormwater quality. Works will comprise of both survey and design components (Lindgren Close only) in addition to practical infrastructure program delivery to address identified issues and risks such as scouring, failed infrastructure, vegetation management issues and risks to conservation of soil at site.
  • Alternate Roadside Vegetation Trial – this project will be a practical trial inspired by/related to a report completed by the School for Field Studies, looking at tree alleys and native vegetation to shade out weeds along roadsides, aiming to minimise maintenance needs over time resulting in reduced carbon dioxide emissions and chemical use related to roadside maintenance that is generally required through traditional methods.
  • Community Feral Pig Program - Feral pigs are a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014 and a priority feral animal under the Tablelands Biosecurity Plan 2019-2024. Feral pigs cause extensive environmental, cultural and economic damage, including erosion, sediment, uprooting carbon trapped in soil and releasing carbon dioxide, destroying native flora and fauna (e.g., marine turtles) and carrying zoonotic diseases. Feral pig numbers are increasing throughout Far North Queensland and Australia and improving feral pig control is a national priority (National Feral Pig Action Plan). 
    • The objectives of the Tablelands Community Feral Pig Management Program are: 
      • Coordination of feral pig control activities in the Tablelands. 
      • Providing advice, training and support to landholders to develop feral pig management programs. 
      • Providing access to smart traps, advanced baiting systems, aerial shooting, monitoring cameras, AI and image recognition. 
      • Undertaking control activities on public land and in high priority areas.
      • Collecting, managing and analysing data on all feral pig activities, including the assessment of damage caused.  
      • Promoting feral pig management in the wider community by increasing awareness of feral pig impact on environment, climate, economy and community.

Townsville City Council is a proud Reef Guardian Council and champion for environmental protection and sustainability principles. Council’s corporate plan sets the ambitious target of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040 and zero landfill by 2030. The Townsville region covers an area of 3726 square kilometres and has a population of around 200,000. As the most populous city located along the Great Barrier Reef and a major regional hub, Townsville acknowledges the importance of the Reef to its city, residents and economy.
The following project in Townsville City Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Landscape-scale Restoration – This project will include on-ground actions for enhancing water quality outcomes within the Black-Ross basins (Great Barrier Reef Catchments) through delivering holistic restorative actions – collaborating with First Nations for: 
    • gully restoration 
    • enhancing remnant native vegetation communities in riparian, grassland and coastal natural assets – through revegetation and seed collection activities 
    • exploring and integrating water quality and carbon credits; including accounting and financing for stacked off-sets. 
    • The project will provide resourcing to continue, build-upon and amplify landscape-scale restorative actions which TCC have been delivering through a range of funded programs (local and state government funded).
  • Project areas also encompass essential habitat for environmentally significant species at both a state and national level and indicative of landscape condition and health (CSIRO), particularly the Southern Sub-species of Black Throated Finch, Squatter Pigeon and several species of bats. Woody weed invasion, unsuitable ground layer composition, bare soils, and erosion issues triggered by human activity (i.e. development, clearing, recreational landuse and over-grazing/stocked grazing/feral animals) are contributing to the overall decline of these species. Where existing recovery plans and habitat management guideline actions align with the project scope, it is expected that there will be a benefit to our landscape grazing lands and riverbank conditions from a focus on these species.
  • Riverway Precinct Renewable Energy Microgrid – This project will enable Townsville City Council to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions through the installation and integration of a new battery energy storage system (BESS) at its regionally important community facility, the Riverway Precinct, as part of its broader Energy Transition project. The estimated 100kW / 160kWh BESS will complement and amplify the site’s existing renewable energy assets (solar PV), ensuring Council can continue to provide the community with key services and leisure activities whilst contributing to climate change mitigation and the protection the Great Barrier Reef.

The Whitsundays region is located in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef. Whitsunday Regional Council is working to protect the Reef through recycling, revegetation and solar, among other actions. The Whitsunday region is renowned for its natural beauty. Covering 23,800 square kilometres, the Whitsundays is home to more than 36,000 people.

The following project in Whitsunday Regional Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Improvements to Stormwater Quality - This project will aim to reduce sediment and nutrients entering Pioneer Bay and the Great Barrier Reef.
    The tasks associated with this project are:
    • To conduct Erosion and Sediment Control training for Council staff and the development industry.
    • To conduct a training workshop in Water Sensitive Urban Design to improve uptake and implementation of these concepts. 
    • To undertake Urban waterway riparian restoration projects in the Pioneer Bay catchment (2 ha).
    • To conduct a dugong and marine turtle population monitoring survey Program for Pioneer Bay using drones.
    • Gather water samples and analyse them as part of the Whitsunday urban water quality monitoring Program.
    • Conduct marine debris removal from foreshore areas.
  • Integrated Pest Management Project - The Whitsunday Regional Council’s Biosecurity Plan (2021-2025) applies to all land within the shire and lists priority pest plants and animals and tasks and actions to reduce the impact of pests on the region’s biodiversity and environmentally sensitive areas. 
    This project will:
    • conduct aerial shooting activities to reduce feral pig populations and their impact on coastal wetlands and waterways.
    • conduct Yellow Crazy Ant eradication actions to control and reduce infestation.
    • fund detailed Yellow Crazy Ant surveys of infestations.
    • fund the removal of Leucaena weed in coastal areas which are or may impact native vegetation and its biodiversity.

The connection between land and Sea Country must be acknowledged when protecting the health of the Great Barrier Reef. Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council is proud to do its part as a Reef Guardian Council. Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire is located in Far North Queensland, covering just 12 square kilometres and with a population of more than 300 residents. The shire is nestled between Douglas and Cook Shires and is the traditional country of the Kuku Yalaji, Kuku Nyungul and Jalunji people. Wujal Wujal is the local Kuku Yalanji clan name meaning ‘many falls’ in reference to the spectacular waterfalls in this rainforest region. Today’s residents know from stories retold over thousands of years how their ancestors adapted to natural variations in the climate, including sea level rise. Now the coastal community is on the front line of rapid climate change, with disruptions to seasonal bush food calendars and increased exposure to severe weather events.

The following project in Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Cultural Cemetery upgrade to reduce road run-off and sediment damage - This project aims to significantly decrease erosion and sediment runoff into the Bloomfield River, which ultimately flows out to the Great Barrier Reef. Key activities involve road stabilisation, erosion control, and sediment trapping. This site experiences high visitor traffic and reducing sediment run-off from roads will significantly improve the quality of water entering the river and local ecosystem, therefore supporting Reef restoration and protection, as well as the preservation of cultural sites. 

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council is a small shire with a big commitment to taking climate change action. Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire lies to the east of Cairns, with coastline from False cape around Mission Bay, past Cape Grafton and Kings Point, and south to Palmer Point. The shire covers approximately 159 square kilometres, with almost 2600 residents. Yarrabah is the traditional country of the Gunggandji and Mandingalbay Yidinji people.

The following project in Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council’s Reef Guardian Council action plan are being activated via funding from the Australian Government’s Reef Trust to support the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and the Reef’s long-term resilience:

  • Sewage Treatment Plant upgrades - The project is to undertake works at Yarrabah Aboriginal Councils Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) and to improve the quality of the final effluent prior to discharge to the local creek, specifically by desludging the lagoons and replacing the existing electrical infrastructure at the plant to ensure it operates efficiently. The project will also include the installation of a surface aeration system. The addition of surface aeration improves the quality of the final effluent by lowering the Biological Oxygen Demand within the effluent and conversion of ammonia to nitrate. 
  • Installation of above ground fuel tanks – This project will remove existing, aged, underground tanks, install above-ground refuelling tanks with advanced safety features, and establish monitoring protocols preventing soil and water contamination from potential fuel leaks. The upgraded and replacement system will mitigate contamination risks, enables rapid leak response, sets environmental stewardship example, reduces reef stressors, promotes education on sustainability.

Reef Guardian Councils Map

Councils taking actions on climate change.

Climate change remains the biggest threat to the Great Barrier Reef. Councils are taking actions big and small to reduce their climate impacts. Find out what each council is doing to contribute to the collective reduction of impacts on the climate through the climate change initiatives snapshot.

Reef Guardian Council News

Created
Updated 28 Jun 2024
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