Media Release ·

Reef Trust Partnership

Reef protection through Traditional Owners

Reef Trust Partnership

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation has today announced the largest single investment for Traditional Owner Reef protection as part of the Investment Strategy for the Reef Trust Partnership.

A total investment of $42 million or 10% of the total Partnership funding will be allocated to Reef activities with Traditional Owners. This will build on and scale up the work already being done by more than 200 Indigenous Rangers and 70 Sea Country groups within the Reef catchment.

There has been a consistent need for genuine partnership in the overarching governance of the Reef and far deeper ownership of, and participation in, its active day to day management through the co-design, co-delivery and co-management of Reef protection programs.

GBRF Managing Director Anna Marsden said, “Traditional Owners have an enduring connection to the Reef and have been working to conserve and restore it for generations. Today’s announcement will ensure that a strategic plan of action can be co-developed with Traditional Owners, building on and scaling up existing activities which include tagging turtles, cleaning beaches, monitoring the health of waterways and remediating land and sea country along the Reef.”

The investment in Traditional Owner Reef protection is one of five areas of investment under the Reef Trust Partnership.

The Investment Strategy provides a road map for investment in five areas:

1.      Water Quality – Improve water quality through changed farming practices such as reduced fertiliser use and adopting new technologies and land management practices.

2.      Reef Restoration and Adaptation Science – Harnessing the best science to implement reef restoration and support Reef resilience and adaptation.

3.      Crown-of-thorns Starfish Control – To expand the fight against the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

4.      Integrated Monitoring and Reporting – Enhance Reef health monitoring and reporting to track progress and inform better management.

5.      Traditional Owner and Community Reef Protection – Support Indigenous and community Reef protection activities to increase Traditional Owner and broader community engagement on the Reef, including Indigenous sea country management, coastal clean-up days and awareness raising activities.

“During the International Year of the Reef (2018), the Australian Government announced the largest ever single investment in Reef protection, $443.3 million for the Reef Trust Partnership over six years,” Ms Marsden said.

“The funding will build on and directly support the intensive work already underway through the Australian and Queensland Governments’ Reef 2050 Plan which is based on the best available science, draws on 40 years of analysis and is underpinned by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s strong management.

“The Reef Trust Partnership is an investment not only in the future of the Great Barrier Reef, but also in Australian jobs and our economy as the Reef attracts visitors from all over the world.

The investment announced today builds on previously announced initiatives under the Reef Trust Partnership including the establishment of the Traditional Owner Working Group as well as a number of grants programs.

“Grants of between $50,000 and $100,000 for citizen science community groups to monitor the health of the Reef are now open and applications for the first round of water quality grants have already been received and will be announced shortly.”

Further information is available including an Executive Summary and the Investment Strategy under resources.


Sarah Henderson +61 429 890 087 | +61 3171 0431 |