Reef Guardian Councils







The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) wishes to support Indigenous Councils which border the reef, to help them develop stewardship of the reef through the care of the land and waterways impacting on the reef.  The GBRMPA have contracted Digital Learning Futures to assist the GBRMPA to develop working relationships and projects with Indigenous councils.

The GBRMPA wish to assist councils to meet the standards to become Reef Guardian Councils.  For councils, the benefits of the Reef Guardian Council brand are substantial.

The brand

With the branding of Reef Guardian Council:

councils can ask GRMPA for support to undertake environmental projects

councils can work together under the brand to undertake large projects

councils can obtain professional advice from the GBRMPA and other groups

the GBRMPA can assist councils to support reef preservation practices

the GBRMPA and councils can work together to develop strong policies and practices which improve the environmental record of councils.


The process

Digital Learning Futures are undertaking the following processes with Indigenous councils who want to be involved:

investigate the range of environmental actions already being undertaken in community councils and use this to provide advice to council on their progress towards the standards

talk to council staff, councilors and mayors about the benefits of Reef Guardian Council branding and potential processes to meet the standards

assist councils to pass a motion at a council meeting that they want to pursue Reef Guardian Council Status and motions for any actions required to pursue that status

work with councils to identify the range of environmental activities they undertake that are recognised by GBRMPA as standards

work with council to develop an action plan which will assist them to meet adn sustain the required number of actions to meet Reef Guardian Council status


The standards

As we investigate the work already being undertaken by Indigenous councils, we have been impressed with the range of environmental projects being undertaken in building codes, water quality, run off, erosion control, rubbish collection, community awareness campaigns and whole of community development with an "environmental eye".

We are working now, with the GBRMPA staff, to use the community information we have gathered to finalise the standards required for Reef Guardian Council status. The standards for large councils are well established and already met by urban councils along the coast. However the standards for Indigenous councils needed to be negotiated with them in such a way that recognises their previous and current work, but which also enables them to strive for levels of environmental sustainability that will protect the reef.   It is likely that councils will need to have 15-20 continuous and ongoing projects, practices or polices across 6 categories to attain Reef Guardian Council status.