“Green” economic recovery / New Reef Assist environmental projects underway


Five new environmental projects for the Tropical Far North are the “first step towards a ‘green’ economic recovery for the region.” The Queensland Government has provided nearly $4 million for five Reef Assist projects that will create jobs while protecting wetlands, improving wildlife corridors, stabilising creek banks and making the region more resilient to natural disasters. 

Terrain NRM CEO Stewart Christie has welcomed this initiative, saying: “This is the first step towards a ‘green’ economic recovery for the region. It’s a smart cost-effective way to create jobs quickly and improve the health of the key assets that support our economy.”

Terrain NRM secured $520,000 for the Johnstone River Catchment Management Association and Johnstone Regional Landcare Group to revegetate areas beside waterways and extend wildlife corridors in the Innisfail, Babinda and Tully regions.

The Wet Tropics Management Authority will be partnering with nine organisations to undertake land restoration works to the value of $2.6 million. The partner organisations include Gunggandji-Mandingalbay Yidinji Peoples Prescribed Body Corporate (GMYPPBC), Abriculture, NQ Land Management Services, South Endeavour Trust, Rainforest Reserves Australia (RRA), Rainforest 4 Foundation (R4), Tree Restoration on the Evelyn and Atherton Tablelands, James Cook University and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.

Funds have also been committed to Jaragun Ecoservices to stabilise stream banks, protect wetlands and improving wildlife corridors and Douglas Shire Council to rehabilitate sand dunes to improve their resilience to natural disasters.

The Authority’s Executive Director Scott Buchanan said the new projects aligned with the Tropical North Queensland Green and Blue Economic Stimulus Package – a $180 million proposal calling for governments to invest in a ‘green’ economic recovery by expanding ‘shovel ready’ reef and land management projects.

“The two World Heritage Areas on our doorstep are our biggest economic assets, contributing an estimated $11 billion into our regional economy. Investing in projects to improve the resilience of these environmental assets will also create ‘green jobs’, training opportunities and build capacity to attract private sector investment for those most affected by the COVID-19 downturn – young people and First Nations people.”  

Wet Tropics Management Authority Executive Director, Scott Buchanan

GMYPPPBC Chair Dewayne Mundraby said, “This is a great opportunity for the Gunggandji and Mandingalbay Yidinji People to create a sustainable environmental economy that supports indigenous employment and training while protecting our country, the World Heritage Rainforest and Reef.”

“The Reef Assist program will provide positive benefits for the Yarrabah Community and create employment for ten Indigenous rangers. This is a great outcome for our community and the GMYPPBC will leverage from this opportunity to secure further support to continue this project into the future.”

Terrain NRM CEO Stewart Christie said the Green and Blue package is also calling for investment to make Tropical North Queensland the Smart Green Capital of Australia.

“This proposal was developed by more than 20 industry and business organisations who recognise the need to diversify our economy to lessen the impact of future economic shocks,” he said. 

“Public and private sector investment is growing rapidly in renewables, waste reduction, climate adaptation and a circular economy and we are well positioned to take advantage of these new opportunities – they play to our natural advantage and are an opportunity to diversify and future-proof our economy.”

Terrain NRM CEO, Stewart Christie

The new Reef Assist projects are:

  • On-ground threatened species and climate resilience work in the Barron, Mulgrave and Johnstone river catchments (Wet Tropics Management Authority on behalf of Abriculture, NQLMs and others)
  • Rehabilitation of dunes to improve their resilience to natural disasters such as flooding and cyclones (Douglas Shire Council)
  • Stabilisation of stream banks on Babinda Creek and McPaul Creek, protecting wetlands and improving wildlife corridors that link Bellenden Ker Range, the Wet Tropics world heritage area and the Great Barrier Reef (Jaragun Ecoservices).
  • Revegetation of riparian sites in the Johnstone, Murray and Russell catchments (Terrain Natural Resource Management on behalf of the Johnstone River Catchment Management Association and Johnstone Regional Landcare Group)
  • Creating a sustainable environmental economy supporting Indigenous employment and training (Wet Tropics Management Authority on behalf of GMYPPBC)

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