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Think Global, Act Local

Climate change is the greatest threat to the Great Barrier Reef and to corals worldwide. While a global response is needed, every little bit helps. Here’s how our councils are taking action.

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Local Councils are leading the way to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions

Reef Guardian Councils are reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, helping to reduce climate change impacts on the iconic Great Barrier Reef. Actions include adopting clean energy, changing street lighting to LED, using landfill gas for energy production, recycling organic waste and developing policies and strategies that support emissions reductions.

Climate Actions by Councils in our region:

Cairns Regional Council

In the past decade Cairns Regional Council has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 46.5 per cent from 2007/08 levels through landfill gas management, wastewater treatment, energy efficiency and rooftop solar systems.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council

This council is installing solar systems on its major buildings, implementing a recycling program and a compost bin rebate program, raising awareness about reducing waste and holding native tree give-away days for residents.

Douglas Shire Council

In addition to supporting the Plastic Free Places program, Douglas Shire Council is instigating circular economy initiatives to reuse waste materials. The council has a recycling program and a community waste education program to reduce the source of waste. It is also supporting a small-scale food composting trial.

Hinchinbrook Shire Council

The southernmost council in the Wet Tropics is working with ecoBiz to identify actions to reduce energy consumption including solar energy and a waste management program with options for reuse and recycling.

Mareeba Shire Council

Largely based in dry country, Mareeba Shire Council is implementing fire management plans including cool burns to reduce wildfire risk and to limit carbon emissions. The council is also installing solar panels and looking to establish a buy-back shop to reduce waste.

Tablelands Regional Council

Tablelands Regional Council is developing a climate risk strategy to direct action towards a low carbon economy, and is a partner in the Land Restoration Fund pilot program, Permanent Tropical Reforestation with Native Conifers, Riparian and High Biodiversity Rainforest Plantings, which seeks to demonstrate how carbon farming activities can sequester or abate greenhouse gas emissions, alongside environmental, social and economic, and First Nations co-benefits.

Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council

Located in the Daintree, Wujal Wujal opened a new recycling centre in 2020 that includes a container deposit facility. It is planning to install a glass crushing machine to convert bottles into construction materials, which will reduce ‘waste miles’ and create local jobs.

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council

This small shire southeast of Cairns is upgrading its waste transfer system and working on using a recycling centre in Cairns. It is also undertaking a solar microgrid feasibility study.

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The Reef Guardian Councils program is a collaborative stewardship arrangement between local governments in the Great Barrier Reef catchment and the Reef Authority.

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