Solutions in the Mackay coastal region by locals for locals

Solutions in the Mackay coastal region by locals for locals

A CSIRO-led project “Design and implementation of Management Strategy Evaluation for the Great Barrier Reef inshore”, funded as part of the NERP Tropical Ecosystems Hub, has been working closely with a community group in the Mackay region to look at what they value most, and what local solutions can be found to manage the biodiversity in the Mackay coast.

A small sub-committee of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s Mackay Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC) has met almost every month for the past year to workshop coastal biodiversity management goals, and help develop possible solutions to their perceived issues.

The project, with its partners from the Federal and Queensland State Government, and James Cook University, has undertaken a review of all stated objectives from organisations and NGOs within Mackay. These were then reviewed by the Mackay group and turned into a tree of objectives, with branches ranging from high level aims such as “Protect and restore inshore environmental assets”, Improve governance systems” and Improve regional economic and social well-being” to more localised ones such as “Ensure community equity” and “Minimise conflicts between stakeholders”.

In order to get a broader community view of the importance of these different objectives, Mackay residents have been asked to undertake a survey that closes in November (see

While the survey has been undertaken, the local group has created an issues register and possible solutions. Topics covered so far are seagrass, mangroves and inshore corals. For each topic, a local or outside expert in the field has presented Mackay-specific information such as their biology, where the species occurs and what affects their sustainability. The group then workshops over a Mackay map what they perceive as being issues affecting the species and how best to approach these. They are always asked to think of both standard and non-standard management approaches. Ideas such as education videos on specific topics have been suggested. Given that most of the key management bodies are embedded in the project, thoughts on how to start moving these ideas forward has already begun.

Is it possible for the local community to raise and develop local management ideas for their own coastal space that effects change? This project is trying to help this process.

Dr. Cathy Dichmont, CSIRO

For more information, contact Cathy Dichmont at:


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