Koinmerburra Ridge to Reef Restoration Project
01 June 2022
Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs
The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon
The Palaszczuk Government and Koinjmal People have embarked on a new partnership to improve ecosystems around Clairview and Wild Duck Island on Central Queensland’s coast.
Off the back of the Palaszczuk Government last year acquiring and protecting Wild Duck Island for turtle populations, Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon today announced the first stage of the initiative – known as the Koinmerburra Ridge to Reef Restoration Project.
Phase 1 will be delivered over six months by the region’s traditional owners, the Koinjmal People.
“The Central Queensland coast and its off-shore waters support important ecosystems vital to the health of the Great Barrier Reef, with seagrass meadows critical for the well-being of marine mammals including dugongs and turtles,” Minister Scanlon said.
“A healthy Great Barrier Reef is important both for our environment and our economy, with the Reef generating $6 billion in economic activity and supporting 60,000 jobs.
“This project is about working with Koinjmal People to develop a five-year implementation strategy for restoring terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems in the region.
The project is being coordinated by environmental consultants Ecosure Pty Ltd, in close cooperation with the Department of Environment and Science (DES), the Koinmerburra Aboriginal Corporation and CQUniversity (among others).
“The project’s first phase involves engaging with Koinjmal People to assess their Country for restoring cultural heritage sites, seagrasses, mangroves, coral reefs and improving water quality,” Ms Scanlon said.
“A six-day on-Country site investigation is underway, comprising three days at Clairview and three days at Wild Duck Island.
“Being able to attend on-Country with the Koinjmal People will help clarify their aspirations for their land and sea Country and capacity building of their people.”
Minister Scanlon said the Palaszczuk Government recognised Traditional Owners’ connection to country, and land management expertise throughout the state.
“For tens of thousands of years our First Nations’ peoples have cared for their land and it’s appropriate that the government looks to them for their expertise when restoration projects are being planned.
“This project will see on-ground restoration activities linking creeks, seagrass, mangroves and coral ecosystems with Indigenous Land and Sea Country management.”
Traditional Owner Samarla Deshong said the Koinjmal People welcomed the opportunity to work with DES and other project stakeholders to deliver on-Country cultural and environmental outcomes.
“This project means a great deal to us,” Ms Deshong said.
“We are not just involving Koinjmal People in restoration projects, we are training them and building their capacity to deliver on-Country land and sea management, working in collaboration with neighbouring First Nations groups.
“The cultural knowledge and environmental information we obtain will be shared with neighbouring Traditional Owner groups and can be used to support the success of further restoration projects,” Ms Deshong said.
Minister Scanlon said a number of other stakeholders would be consulted as the project progressed, including local landholders and councils, and relevant Natural Resource Management (NRM) bodies.
Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz - 0420 592 078