Townsville City Council

Reef Assist makes waves in first phase

The Townsville City Council’s (TCC) Reef Assist – Business Activity and Environmental Restoration project was funded through the initial stage of the Queensland Government’s $33.5 million Reef Assist program.

It was proudly delivered by TCC, in collaboration with five business partners, including three First Nations and two not-for-profit local businesses.

During its first phase, spanning the whole of 2021, the project achieved a range of outcomes, including riparian vegetation restoration, foreshore restoration, bank stabilisation, flood debris removal, soil health remediation, weed removal and humification, and development of low-impact eco-trails.

The project also sought to enhance longer-term environmental outcomes for the region, building local skill and restoration capacity through employment, training, and creating opportunities for circular economy outcomes.

The engagement and upskilling of First Nations people as part of this project have provided the opportunity to connect to Country and deliver impactful management outcomes across key landscapes.

Training programs have amplified Townsville’s natural resource management industry and built the region’s capacity to undertake rehabilitation works into the future.

The project also provided a great opportunity to further develop the model for the reuse of weeds removed and harvested from riparian zones.

Previously, weeds removed were trucked to Waste Recycling Facilities, where materials could end up landfill at a cost. Now, harvested weeds can be generated into a stable and beneficial product for enhancing on-site soils.

The Reef Assist project has continued throughout 2022, delivering continued beneficial outcomes for local waterways, including the construction of leaky weirs and other sediment erosion control structures, and thousands more local native tree plantings.

“Reef Assist has been great for Ausfield Services to build our staff skills and capability in the delivery of environmental restoration projects,” Sharon from Ausfield Services said.

“Working collaboratively with the Townsville City Council sustainability team, community stakeholders, Indigenous groups and other small businesses has led to profitable relationships and made us a stronger company with knowledgeable crews.”