Traditional Owner coral monitoring will care for sea country

02 June 2022

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef and Minister for Science and Youth Affairs

The Honourable Meaghan Scanlon


A Traditional Owner-led coral and marine water quality monitoring project is helping assess the health of the Great Barrier Reef in the Gladstone and Burnett Mary areas. 


Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon today said a further $102,000 from the Palaszczuk Government would help Gidarjil and Butchulla sea rangers continue inshore coral and water quality monitoring in the southern Great Barrier Reef for another 6 months. 


It comes off the back of the Palaszczuk Government allocating $65.6 million earlier this year to continue efforts to address water pollution running off into the reef. 


“We are providing the funding to the Gidarjil Development Corporation to deliver the program, which will build on the sea rangers’ previous work monitoring 15 inshore coral and water quality sites in the Burnett Mary region and neighbouring Gladstone area,” Minister Scanlon said.


“Having a constant expert eye on the reef is vital to identifying the type of work that needs to be done to address threats like water pollution. 


The Coral and Inshore Water Quality Monitoring by Traditional Owners in the Southern Great Barrier Reef Project is a partnership between the Gidarjil Development Corporation and the Department of Environment and Science (DES) with valuable input also provided by the University of the Sunshine Coast and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).


“The project will continue to focus on the impact of water quality on the southern inshore coral communities.


“Using their strong connection with sea country, Traditional Owners are combining their knowledge with scientific techniques to monitor inshore coral and local marine water quality.”


Gidarjil Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Dr Kerry Blackman said he was delighted that the Queensland Government had provided funding for the program to continue.


“With the Queensland Government’s support, we have been able to have two additional Indigenous female sea rangers join the Gidarjil sea ranger team and take the lead with the marine water quality monitoring project. 


“Traditionally, women in Port Curtis Coral Coast sea country have had a custodial role to look after the waterways and through this project they are being supported to continue this vital role. 


“This continues to be a very exciting project for our Traditional Owners as we have deep and enduring spiritual connections to our land and sea country,” Dr Blackman said.


Minister Scanlon said Queenslanders expected governments to do all they can for the reef. 


“It was only because the Palaszczuk Government was elected and took meaningful action that the reef was kept off the in-danger list in 2015,” Minister Scanlon said. 


“Since then, we’ve committed over a billion dollars to directly support the reef and initiatives like this – not including our actions to address climate change.” 


For more information on the Palaszczuk Government’s work to protect the Great Barrier Reef visit




Media contact: Francis Dela Cruz – 0420 592 078