REEF ASSIST PROJECTS PUT BOOTS ON THE GROUND
TERRAIN AUSPICES OVER $500K FOR COMMUNITY GROUPS
29 SEPTEMBER 2020
Five new environmental projects for the Tropical Far North are the “first step towards a ‘green’ economic recovery for the region.”
The Queensland Government has announced nearly $4 million will be invested in Wet Tropics Reef Assist projects that will create jobs while protecting wetlands, improving wildlife corridors, stabilising creekbanks and making the region more resilient to natural disasters. The initiative has been championed by Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch as part of Queensland’s Economic Recovery Plan.
Local environmental management organisations including Terrain NRM have welcomed the funding as a smart cost-effective way to create jobs quickly and improve the health of the key natural assets that support our economy.
Terrain secured $520,000 on behalf of the Johnstone River Catchment Management Association and Johnstone Regional Landcare Group to revegetate areas beside waterways and extend wildlife corridors in the Innisfail, Babinda and Tully regions.
Sam Pagano, Chair of JRCMA, said he was thrilled to receive the funding that will create at least eight new jobs and enable the planting and maintenance of nearly 40,000 trees across more than 8 hectares of riverbank.
“We have identified six sites across three catchments that we will be revegetating, mostly on agricultural land. Some will become demo sites for the local agricultural community,” he said.
“The benefits of these environmental projects are multi-faceted. Riparian vegetation provides wildlife habitat and is also important for waterway health by stabilising riverbanks to minimise soil erosion during floods and intercepting groundwater flowing off agricultural land, which all have associated economic benefits,” he said.
Terrain CEO Stewart Christie applauded the Queensland Government for launching this innovative approach to economic stimulus and said the new projects aligned with the Tropical North Queensland Green and Blue Economic Stimulus Package – a $180 million proposal calling for governments to invest in a ‘green recovery’ by expanding ‘shovel ready’ reef and land management projects.
“This project is a great example of the kind of ‘boots on the ground’ initiatives that we are lobbying the government for on behalf of the Wet Tropics community. This is a smart cost-effective way to create jobs quickly and improve the health of the key natural assets that support our economy. It will inject dollars directly into the local economy by creating new ‘green’ jobs and by purchasing all the resources needed from local businesses, including native plants and consumables,” he said.
“This funding shows that the government is listening and understands that investment in ‘green and clean’ initiatives is good for the environment and good for jobs and the economy.”
Mr Pagano said employees will also undertake training in conservation and land management to increase their skills and knowledge for future career opportunities and also to nurture future land stewards. Additional volunteer support will also be required to propagate plants and maintain the sites for up to two years.