Reef Assist creating regional jobs and protecting environment

JOINT STATEMENT

The Palaszczuk Government today announced a $10 million Reef Assist funding boost to create regional jobs and support environmental projects in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the program – announced as part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan – would support 11 projects and create around 130 regional jobs.

“Our plan is all about creating jobs to steer our economy as we recover from the global pandemic and the communities and industries that rely on the Reef are the ones who will benefit from this $10 million Reef Assist program,” the Premier said.

“This program will fund 11 on-the-ground projects in partnership with local governments and natural resource management organisations and create around 130 local jobs.

“The Wet Tropics Management Authority, NQ Dry Tropics and the Palm Island Aboriginal Shire Council will deliver five projects providing training and over 50 job opportunities through landscape restoration, restoring critically endangered species’ habitat and remediation works.

“In addition, almost 50 jobs will be generated by Jaragun Ecoservices, Reef Catchments NRM, Terrain NRM, and Douglas Shire Council which will deliver four projects that repair and restore riparian areas, control invasive species, improve natural ecosystem condition, and improve coastal resilience from the Wet Tropics to the Whitsundays.

“Two projects from the Townsville City Council and Reef Catchments NRM will generate around 25 jobs by growing conservation and nature-based tourism and improving land management of coastal areas.”

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said these successful projects will also draw on the skills and knowledge of our First Nations peoples to create improved environmental management skills that cover both cultural and scientific practices.

“As Queensland recovers from the financial impacts of COVID-19, the Palaszczuk Government is the only government committed to creating job opportunities and these projects will provide a much-needed boost to our regional economies while protecting the Reef,” Minister Enoch said.

“Our total Reef investment is now $340 million since 2015 and the casual, short-term and full-time positions created from Reef Assist projects will also result in contractors, tourism providers and other local businesses benefiting from the flow-on effects of the projects.

“The Reef Assist program is all about investing in land management activities that provide environmental benefits, while also supporting regional Queensland and regional jobs.”

Dennis Ah-Kee, a Wanjuru-Yidinjii Elder and Director of Jaragun Ecoservices, said that he is thrilled for people of the Russell River catchment.

“The Reef Assist funding means eight new jobs will be created for Aboriginal people, enabling them to undertake catchment restoration while reconnecting and working on country,” Mr Ah-Kee said.

“This funding will also provide a welcomed economic boost to the township of Babinda, which has experienced some of the highest rates of unemployment in the region during the past decade.”

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