To ensure fair, equitable and active participation from Traditional Owners within the formal governance arrangements of the Partnership, the Foundation has established a strong Traditional Owner governance arrangement to underpin the co-design and co-delivery of the Reef Trust Partnership. ​​This includes a Traditional Owner Advisory Group and Traditional Owner Technical Working Groups.

#Traditional Owner Advisory Group

The role of the Traditional Owner Advisory Group is to provide strategic advice on the Reef Trust Partnership until such time that the 2050 Reef Traditional Owner Alliance is formalised. The group is not a decision-making nor representative body.

Larissa Hale

Larissa Hale

Traditional Owner Advisory Group, Chair

Manuwuri Forester

Manuwuri Forester

Traditional Owner Advisory Group

Malcolm Mann

Malcolm Mann

Traditional Owner Advisory Group

Gavin Singleton

Gavin Singleton

Traditional Owner Advisory Group

Stan Lui

Stan Lui

Traditional Owner Advisory Group

#Traditional Owner Technical Working Groups

Traditional Owners have asked for leadership roles and the opportunity to influence decision-making that contributes not only to setting strategic directions in Reef management but in the design and appropriate delivery of programs that directly impact on and enable Traditional Owners’ caring for their Land and Sea Country.

Outcomes from the Reef-wide Co-Design Workshop (hosted by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation Traditional Owner Advisory Group in May 2019) reinforced this call, which was supported through the Partnership Management Committee meeting in May 2019.

The task of Technical Working Group members is not to represent their Traditional Owner groups, but to contribute their lived experiences, diverse skillsets and professional expertise to identify and create outcomes that have co-benefits to Traditional Owners of the Reef and Catchment areas.  

Water Quality (Healthy Water) Traditional Owner Technical Working Group

Membership includes:

Dr Cass Hunter, Chair Kuku Yalanji and Maluiligal 
Dennis Ah-Kee Wanjuru - Yidinjii 
Samarla Deshong Koinmerburra and Kabi Kabi 
Ben Gertz Gugu-Badhun 
Jade Gould Woppaburra and Butchulla 
Malachi Johnson Gooreng-Gooreng 

The role of these members is to actively participate in the co-design and co-delivery of a water quality program of works delivered under the Reef Trust Partnership.  

This includes:  

  • Specific, detailed input into the design and implementation of the program of works related to the Healthy Water Component. 

  • Working in a collaborative partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owner Partnerships team to provide specific technical advice and support to the Traditional Owner Advisory Group and Great Barrier Reef Foundation. 

  • Active participation in regional workshops and working group meetings to ground-truth ideas and concepts with the broader base of Traditional Owners for the Great Barrier Reef and Catchment areas that inform delivery. 

  • Undertaking minor consultancy work, as required.  

Reef Restoration and Adaptation Science Traditional Owner Technical Working Group

Membership includes:

Bob Muir, Chair Woppaburra 
Kenny Bedford Erub 
Manuwuri Forester Lama Lama and Nywaigi 
Brian Singleton Yirrganydji 

The role of members is to support the co-design and co-delivery of Traditional Owner-led activities, as well as contribute to the broader Research & Development program under the Reef Restoration and Adaptation Program. This has been made possible through a collaborative arrangement with the Australian Institute of Marine Science to enable two of the Traditional Owner staff to be on this Technical Working Group. Tasks that members are delivering are: 

  • Supporting co-design and engagement for a local reef restoration pilot program as part of the Cairns/Port Douglas reef restoration hub.  

  • Supporting co-design of the broader TO-led reef restoration program.  

  • Supporting/ developing and implementing, with partners, an engagement process to communicate, engage and inform Traditional Owners about the RRAS Component;   

  • Supporting/ developing education material in collaboration with partners to inform Traditional Owners about reef restoration and adaptation including findings, research, and opportunities;   

  • Supporting/ developing bio-cultural protocols, principles and guidelines for the RRAS program, including ethics to inform resilience and restoration work, and adoption strategies to facilitate uptake by partners;   

  • Supporting/ mapping career pathways and training opportunities related to reef restoration, and  

  • Exploring innovations that may reside in Traditional Knowledge and practices to inform new ways to undertake Reef restoration and adaptation activities.  

  • Establishing the framework for Traditional Owner Research & Development partnerships and engagement, to ensure that Traditional Owner input and guidance is obtained throughout the earliest planning and prioritisation phase of the R&D program.   

  • Reviewing draft R&D plans and providing advice  

  • Reviewing targeted communications products to be used to explain proposed projects to Traditional Owners  

  • Guidance on establishment of proposed partnerships and co-designed projects, achieving consent and ongoing Traditional Owner collaboration.  

The Technical Working Group were also invited to comment on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s draft intervention policy in 2020. Click here to read a copy of the Technical Working Group’s submission and attachment.  

Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Traditional Owner Technical Working Group

Membership includes:

Chrissy Grant, Chair Kuku Yalanji Jalun Warra and Mualgal/Kubin 
Scott Anderson Nywaigi 
Gail Barry Eastern Kuku Yalanji  
Samarla Deshong Koinmerburra and Kabi Kabi 
Cass Hunter Kuku Yalanji and Maluiligal 
Malachi Johnson Gooreng - Gooreng 

The role of these members is to actively participate in the co-design and co-delivery of an integrated monitoring and reporting program of works under the Reef Trust Partnership.  

This includes:  

  • Specific, detailed input into the design and implementation of the program of works related to the Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Component. 

  • Working in a collaborative partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owner Partnerships team to provide specific technical advice and support to the Traditional Owner Advisory Group and Great Barrier Reef Foundation. 

  • Active participation in regional workshops and working group meetings to ground-truth ideas and concepts with the broader base of Traditional Owners for the Great Barrier Reef and Catchment areas that inform delivery. 

  • Undertaking minor consultancy work, as required.  

Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Control Traditional Owner Technical Working Group

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is exploring methods to target Traditional Owner engagement and leadership for this technical working group.  

#Member Selection Process

The following section details our process for securing membership within Traditional Owner governance arrangements.

Traditional Owner Advisory Group 

The member selection process began with the Foundation working closely with an external consultant to develop an Expression of Interest (EOI) and information pack. The EOI was distributed to Reef Traditional Owners on the Foundation’s contact list and circulated to Aboriginal land councils, corporations and body corporates.

The call for applications remained open for three weeks (14 September to 5 October 2018). A six-person assessment team - made up of four Reef Traditional Owners and Torres Strait Islanders, and two other Australians - assessed the applications against the EOI criteria. The conflict of interest process was managed by the Foundation’s Risk Manager. Due diligence was carried out on a shortlist of applicants before the successful applicants were informed of the outcome on 10 December 2018.

The member selection process began with the Foundation working closely with an external consultant to develop an Expression of Interest (EOI) and information pack. The EOI was distributed to Reef Traditional Owners on the Foundation’s contact list and circulated to Aboriginal land councils, corporations and body corporates. 

The call for applications remained open for three weeks (14 September to 5 October 2018). A six-person assessment team - made up of four Reef Traditional Owners and Torres Strait Islanders, and two other Australians - assessed the applications against the EOI criteria. The conflict of interest process was managed by the Foundation’s Risk Manager. Due diligence was carried out on a shortlist of applicants before the successful applicants were informed of the outcome on 10 December 2018.

Traditional Owner Technical Working Groups

An Expression of Interest process was made available to Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef and Catchment areas to establish four new Traditional Owner Technical Working Groups to align with Partnership components and existing governance arrangements. 

Importantly this opportunity invited Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef and Catchment areas to work with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation as part of the workforce to co-design and co-deliver the Reef Trust Partnership. Only Traditional Owners of the Reef (and Catchments in the case of the Water Quality Technical Working Group) were eligible to apply. The Expression of Interest opened for seven weeks from 20 December 2019 to 9 February 2020. 

The assessment panel was made up of members of the Traditional Owner Advisory Group and staff from the Foundation's Traditional Owner Partnerships team.

  • Integrated Monitoring and Report Traditional Owner Technical Working Group: Established March 2020
  • Water Quality (Healthy Water) Traditional Owner Technical Working Group: Established March 2020
  • Reef Restoration and Adaptation Science Traditional Owner Technical Working Group: Established July 2020
  • Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Control Traditional Owner Technical Working Group: In progress

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation inducted the Water Quality and Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Technical Working Group members in March 2020. It had been planned to meet face-to-face in Townsville for the induction however due to COVID-19, the induction was successfully delivered through an interactive online platform.