Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's Reef Guardian Council.
The GBR stretches over 1500km along the Queensland coast. Photo courtesy of The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Both mayors and senior staff from councils along the Great Barrier Reef coastline will meet in Cairns over the next two days to help shape the direction of the GBRMPA's Reef Guardian Council program.
The Reef Guardian Council Steering Committee meeting is being hosted by the Cairns Regional Council and will cover a range of topics including coastal ecosystems and their value to the communities and broader environment.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) Chairman Dr Russell Reichelt said the high level group provides valuable input and advice regarding the roles that councils can play in ensuring the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
'The 2009 Outlook Report identified that the reef was at a crossroads and predictions of the impacts of a changing climate dominate most aspects of the reef's outlook over the next few decades,' Dr Reichelt said.
'The Reef plays a major role in the lifestyles and livelihoods of many Queenslanders and our Reef Guardian Councils clearly recognise the importance of keeping it.
'The recent extreme weather events impacting on the Queensland coastline makes it all the more important to continue to work with councils and to recognize and promote the variety of environment actions and activities that councils are undertaking to help build a better future for the Reef.'
Cairns Regional Council is a proud participant of the Reef Guardian Council program and pleased to have the opportunity to host the Steering Committee's visit. Cairns Regional Council will conduct site visits to Cattana Wetlands and the Northern Waste Water Treatment Plant and provide presentations on the Natural Assessment Management System project, plus Council's Sustainability Scorecard.
These four projects demonstrate Council's commitment to improving the sustainability of the region by restoring the natural environment, creating animal habitat, using recycled materials, installing renewable energy systems and improving water quality from waste water treatment to the Great Barrier Reef. The sustainability Scorecard project presentation will show all Council reports and projects are now assessed using a Sustainability Assessment tool, which is the first of its kind for Australian local governments.
Partnerships with organizations such as GBRMPA are crucial for local governments to take innovative steps to plan for the future.
'Cairns Regional Council has made a commitment to be Australia's greenest council and that starts with recognizing the value of our natural assets, including the Great Barrier Reef,' Cairns Mayor Val Shier said.
'What we do on land affects the oceans and ensuring the Reef's health and protection is a priority for council and the community.'
The Reef Guardian Council initiative seeks to recognize and promote the important role of local government in helping to protect and conserve the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park for future generations. It aims to achieve this by recognizing the valuable work local government has been undertaking towards environmentally sustainable practices with a view to encouraging identification of future opportunities and actions that will help in protecting the Great Barrier Reef.
There are currently 13 councils along the Great Barrier Reef coastline officially signed up to the program, covering all coastal councils from Bundaberg to Cooktown and equates to 317 271 km2 and a combined population of greater than 890 000.