Media Release ·

$1.5 million to empower Reef Traditional Owners

Applications closed on 17 March 2019.

$1.5 million to empower Reef Traditional Owners

Traditional Owner groups that hold rights and interests in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the Reef catchment are invited to apply for grants which will deliver up to $1.5 million total funding for Reef protection projects.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) established a Traditional Owner Working Group to provide strategic guidance in the co-design and implementation of the Reef Trust Partnership.

GBRF Traditional Owner Working Group Chair Cr Larissa Hale said, “Recent events have demonstrated that current approaches alone are not enough to maintain or reverse the decline in Reef health. Approaches that are founded on Traditional Knowledge are required to support the health and resilience of the Reef.”

The Traditional Owner Working Group identified three priority areas for funding.

Firstly, offering support to undertake country-based planning so that Traditional Owner management capacity is strengthened and elevated.

Secondly, the implementation of existing land and sea country plans for both on-ground and in-water activities such as coastal, wetland, island and sea country actions, caring for culturally significant plants and animals, and research and monitoring.

Thirdly, investment in Indigenous junior ranger programs that support connections and intergenerational knowledge transfer between elders, leaders and youth.

“Current junior ranger programs have demonstrated significant positive benefits for capacity building and improved engagement of young people in our communities in land and sea country issues. This funding will allow us to significantly grow our junior rangers network as well as create co-ordinator roles to manage the programs holistically,” Ms Hale said.

Great Barrier Reef Foundation Managing Director Anna Marsden said these grants delivered through the Reef Trust Partnership are the first step in a broader program of investment in Traditional Owner Reef protection activities.

“The Foundation has allocated a total of $42 million to Traditional Owner Reef protection activities and this grant round is the start of that investment,” Ms Marsden said.

Each grant for land and sea country planning and implementation will be valued at up to $150,000 and junior ranger program grants will be valued at up to $50,000.

All applications close on 17 March 2019 at 11.59pm AEST (Queensland time). Guidelines for the grant program are available on the GBRF website.

The Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owner grant program is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. The Reef 2050 Plan identifies Traditional Owner actions as one of the six priority areas for investment, and accordingly, it was included as one of the key components for investment under the Reef Trust Partnership.

Under the Reef Trust Partnership, $12 million will be invested in Traditional Owner Reef protection. An additional $30 million will be invested in on-ground and in-water actions from the five priority areas under the Partnership, making a total investment of $42 million in Traditional Owner Reef protection activities. This is equivalent to 10% of the total Partnership funding. Further funding rounds for other Traditional Owner activities will be announced in 2019.

Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders are the first nations people of Australia and the Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef. More than 70 Traditional Owner groups have   rich, ongoing connections, rights, interests and aspirations in land and sea country along the length of the Great Barrier Reef. Traditional Owners are custodians of this place and through their customary Lores, traditions, protocols and customs protect and care for their country.

Media contact:

Sarah Henderson +61 429 890 087 | +61 3171 0403 |