Reef Guardian Councils

The Reef Guardian Council program showcases environmentally sustainable practices undertaken by councils in the Great Barrier Reef catchment. The program recognises the effective management and protection of the Reef requires a coordinated effort from industries, communities and all levels of government.

There are 19 councils between Bundaberg and Cooktown in the Reef Guardian Councils program undertaking a range of projects. This covers an area of more than 300,000 square kilometre and includes a population of approximately one million people.

These councils are working together to protect and conserve the Marine Park through activities that improve the health and resilience of the Reef (in alphabetical order):

Solar panels on Livingstone Shire Council's Foreshore Lagoon building, as part of their work as a Reef Guardian Council.

Solar panels on the council's new Foreshore Lagoon Building © Livingstone Shire Council

  • Bundaberg Regional Council
  • Burdekin Shire Council
  • Cairns Regional Council
  • Cassowary Coast Regional Council
  • Central Highlands Regional Council
  • Cook Shire Council
  • Douglas Shire Council
  • Gladstone Regional Council
  • Hinchinbrook Shire Council
  • Isaac Regional Council
  • Livingstone Shire Council
  • Mackay Regional Council
  • Mareeba Shire Council
  • Rockhampton Regional Council
  • Townsville City Council
  • Whitsunday Regional Council
  • Tablelands Regional Council
  • Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council
  • Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council

Find out more about their work in the Reef Guardian Council Highlight Report 2017-18.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council promote key waste management messages and remind residents: Don’t let your litter bug our reef

Council promotes key waste management messages. © Cassowary Coast Regional Council

Many local residents assume their councils only deal with rates, roads and rubbish but Reef Guardian Councils are doing much more than this in an effort to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

Reef Guardian Councils undertake environmental initiatives in the following areas:

  • water management - waterways rehabilitation, water monitoring, urban stormwater treatment, wastewater and trade waste treatment
  • waste management - source reduction, waste avoidance, waste reuse and recycling
  • land management - vegetation and pest management, resource assessment, erosion control, and land planning and management
  • climate change - planning and policy, energy and resource efficiency, and community education
  • community - education, capacity building and developing partnerships.

Reef Guardian Councils have an important role in planning for sustainable population growth, approving environmentally sound developments, and preparing the community for climate change impacts. Whether Reef Guardian Councils and their communities are large or small, they are all making continuous improvements to help the Great Barrier Reef.