Far North Queensland: Do you want to make a difference to the future of the Reef?

Alice Ganfield actively encourages people in her area to look after the Great Barrier Reef. The Cape York teacher loves where she lives and gets out on the World Heritage-Listed icon as much as she can.  

“My job is incredibly rewarding and, with my education connections, I really felt I had something worthwhile to contribute to how the Great Barrier Reef is managed,” she said. ­­­

Ms Ganfield put up her hand to represent her community on one of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Local Marine Advisory Committees.  

“I enjoy coming together with other members who are interested in the Reef and bring a broad range of different perspectives to the table,” Ms Ganfield said. “The networks and the knowledge I have gained from the Cape York committee have been incredibly valuable.”

There are 12 Local Marine Advisory Committees along the Queensland coast that advise the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority about all things marine and coastal. Four are in Far North Queensland: Cape York, Douglas, Cairns and Cassowary Coast.

Nominations for membership for the next committees’ three-year terms are now open.

The committees were created to enable two-way communication between local communities and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Australia’s lead managers for the Reef. They meet five times a year.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority chairman Russell Reichelt welcomes nominations from a broad range of representatives from Queensland coastal communities.

“The Great Barrier Reef is a precious natural icon that we manage on behalf of all Australians and people throughout the world,” he said.

“Queensland coastal communities are important to the future of the Reef — they’re right alongside the Reef and are very interested in its long term-health. I thank them for their willingness to become involved in Reef management.

“People often ask us what they can do to help the Great Barrier Reef. Joining a Local Marine Advisory Committee is a really effective way to make a difference because members provide advice to marine managers and they can also get involved in local community actions.  All actions — big or small — are vital to the future of the Great Barrier Reef.”

Representatives from a range of interest groups are encouraged to apply to ensure the committees are as diverse as possible including fishing, Traditional Owners, tourism, farming, resources, recreation, education, research, conservation and shipping sectors. The Marine Park Authority encourages a mix of backgrounds, experience and expertise and is keen to get more young people on the committees so those aged 18–30 are particularly encouraged to apply.