Remote Area Nurse - Masig Island Aerials
Remote Area Nurse - Masig Island Aerials

Project to tackle Reef island waste

A PILOT project to cut the toes off three Great Barrier Reef islands' inflated carbon footprints is about to kick off.

 

The Department of Environment and Science has released tenders for private enterprise to help "decarbonise" remote island communities that rely on high-waste activities to survive.

The program will look at Masig Island (also known as Yorkey Island) in the Torres Strait, Magnetic Island and Palm Island, seeking to "understand how they can respond to climate change and the global shift towards a low carbon economy".

T10 Masig Island.
T10 Masig Island.

"The GBR islands typically import resources, export waste, and engage in high energy activities, all contributing to higher carbon footprints within the protected marine park, and subsequently potentially harming local ecosystems," the tender documents acknowledge.

"However, some of the most effective decarbonisation strategies around the world have been demonstrated in island communities, with significant eco-tourism benefits.

"Pre-emptive activities such as this project can help to safeguard Queensland communities from decline as the global economy and our climate shifts.

"This project is a demonstration of the Queensland Government's commitment to its people and communities, as well as strong and decisive action on climate change."

The documents identify a range of key areas for investigation and consideration in the business case development, including water (potable and wastewater), waste management, transport and resilience.

Successful tenderers will conduct sustainability audits for the islands, undertake significant stakeholder consultation and present a suite of options for consideration.

Separate audits will be developed for each of the islands along with dedicated business cases when possible.

"A long list of decarbonisation options needs to be developed …" the tender documents state.

"However, cultural sensitivity must also be exercised, to ensure permission to share learnings, particularly where incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge in potential solutions, is granted, and appropriate recognition is given."