2020–2022 Reef Assist 1.0 projects

The 2020–2022 projects funded under the Reef Assist 1.0 program (the program) tackled a range of environmental issues and delivered key outcomes including:

  • stabilising streams and riverbanks
  • undertaking riparian revegetation and gully remediation
  • protecting critically endangered species habitat
  • rehabilitating dunes to improve resilience to natural disasters
  • removing weeds and other invasive pest species
  • developing conservation-based tourism expeditions and undertaking coastal island revegetation works.

Some projects also focused on the skills and knowledge of First Nations people, and included a cultural heritage component, with training and environmental management skills for First Nations job seekers.

2020–2022 program outcomes

The program supported more than 230 full-time, part-time, and casual positions:

  • around half identified as First Nations
  • over a third were youth
  • a fifth were women
  • over 80% of participants received training, with more than 110 unique training courses delivered (including 50+ formal qualification courses) covering 40 different themes.

The program also delivered some huge environmental benefits for the Great Barrier Reef catchments including:

  • improved environmental condition
  • improved water quality and resilience to future floods through riparian vegetation, engineered bank stabilisation and gully remediation
  • improved soil condition with enhanced soil microbe communities and on-site composting of weeds across a 34,000m2 area.

These environmental benefits have been achieved through the following activities:

  • Over 120,000 native seedlings planted
  • Over 310 hectares of revegetation using more than 52 native species
  • Over 177,000 native seeds collected for propagation
  • 25 cassowary food species planted
  • Weeds removed from over 1300 hectares
  • 975 kilograms of marine debris collected
  • Work undertaken on 220 coastal island restoration sites
  • Over 45 kilometres of riparian vegetation zones revegetated
  • Five kilometres of engineered streambank stabilisation works
  • 230 gully erosion remediation structures built, covering an area of 38 hectares.

Seven Whitsunday charter boat companies undertook island and coastal environmental protection and rehabilitation works, which included the removal of marine debris and invasive weeds from turtle and seabird nesting beaches, in addition to supporting other coral, marine and coastal habitat restoration works.


Wet Tropics region

Wet Tropics Management Authority: Boots on the Ground

  • tackling on-ground threatened species and climate resilience work in the Atherton Tablelands area
  • training job seekers to undertake land management activities for weed removal, seed collection, native plant identification, revegetation, nursery maintenance and threatened bird and mammal monitoring.

Wet Tropics Management Authority: Creating a Sustainable Environmental Economy

  • creation of a sustainable environmental economy to support Indigenous employment and training in the Yarrabah indigenous community
  • landscape restoration works improved the condition of native vegetation, remove weeds, control feral pests, and marine debris removal.

Watch a video about the Wet Tropics Management Authority Reef Assist projects.

Jaragun Ecoservices: Environmental Restoration in the Russell River Catchment

  • stabilisation of stream banks on Babinda Creek and McPaul Creek
  • protection of wetlands and improved wildlife corridors that link Bellenden Ker Range, the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the Great Barrier Reef.

Watch a video about Jaragun Ecoservices Reef Assist project.

Terrain Natural Resource Management: Riparian Revegetation – Johnstone, Murray and Russell Catchments

  • revegetation of at-risk riparian sites in the Johnstone, Murray and Russell catchments.

Douglas Shire Council: Dune Rehabilitation in the Douglas Shire

  • rehabilitate dunes and developed foreshore management plans to improve their resilience to natural disasters such as flooding and cyclones.

Burdekin region

Townsville City Council: Community Based Riparian Recovery Works and Ecotourism Infrastructure Project

  • improved riparian vegetation buffers, removed weed waste and debris, and investigated opportunities for ecotourism trails across the region.

NQ Dry Tropics: Healing Country

  • partnered with Indigenous job seekers to undertake landscape restoration works in the Burdekin region.

Watch a video about NQ Dry Tropics Reef Assist project.

Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council: Clump Point Road and Frances Creek Rehabilitation Works, Palm Island

  • remediation works on two culverts on Clump Point Road to prevent sediment run-off to the Reef lagoon.
  • rehabilitation of Frances Creek which has been impacted by sedimentation and weeds.

Mackay Whitsunday Region

Reef Catchments: Leading Economic Stimulus Through Land Management Action

  • used a variety of conservation and land management activities, including the control of invasive species, to improve natural habitat condition and build resilience of natural habitats.

Reef Catchments: Whitsunday Tourism and Environment Taskforce

  • supported and trained Whitsunday marine tourism operators in island and coastal environmental protection and rehabilitation works.
  • supported activities included marine debris removal from sea turtle and sea bird nesting sites, foreshore weed removal, coral reef surveys, coral larval reseeding, and coral out-planting.