Thomas Holden, Executive Director, Three Big Rivers, with NQ Dry Tropics CEO Dr Scott Crawford

Partnership to help close the gap and protect reef

A new project will create Indigenous jobs in North Queensland while supporting efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef and nearby coastal ecosystems.

NQ Dry Tropics has joined forces with Indigenous employment group Three Big Rivers on the Healing Country initiative, funded through the Queensland Government’s Reef Assist program.

Under the project, Indigenous participants will gain practical on-ground skills working on NQ Dry Tropics projects across the region, while undertaking an accredited environmental training program. 

NQ Dry Tropics CEO Dr Scott Crawford said the partnership would boost on-ground activities to improve land condition, protect aquatic plants and animals, and improve the quality of water flowing into local creeks and the reef.

“NQ Dry Tropics is offering participants a chance to work on country and gain practical experience on activities that benefit reef water quality,” Dr Crawford said.

“Tasks may include learning techniques to fix eroded gullies to reduce sediment runoff, or protecting sensitive creekbank areas with revegetation and weed control. 

“The project is also about brokering mutually beneficial relationships between landholders and Traditional Owners. 

“We hope the skills participants acquire will set them up for future careers in natural resource or rural management.

“We are excited to be partnering with Three Big Rivers, which will engage employees, and provide leadership, management, training and ongoing support.

“This partnership fits with our belief that meaningful Traditional Owner engagement leads to better, more sustainable Natural Resource Management outcomes.”

The crew will work on projects that improve water quality to the Great Barrier Reef

Gully remediation will be one of the skills acquired by project participants

Three Big Rivers Executive Director, Thomas Holden said the way the project had been developed  would help ensure sustainable Indigenous employment opportunities across the region.

“Co-designing this project with NQ Dry Tropics, with support through the Reef Assist program,  will support capability and capacity building that will provide lasting benefits,” he said.

“During the past 12 months, flooding and COVID-19 have affected employment opportunities for all North Queenslanders. 

“This project is a great opportunity to get things moving again, and members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community are excited to be part of it.”