Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Creating an even greater Barrier Reef

Media Release

PF045/2018

14 May 2018

Joint release with:

Terry James

Deputy Mayor Cairns Regional Council

Warren Entsch

Federal Member for Leichhardt

Management of Cairns' waterways is about to become smarter, with a high-tech water monitoring project to provide new insights to the quality of urban stormwater run-off.

The Reducing Urban Impact on the Great Barrier Reef project will use smart technologies to monitor the quality of water flowing through one of Cairns' major urban catchments.

Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said the project would include installation of up to 30 water-monitoring sensors that will deliver real-time data on levels of nutrients, sediments and other contaminants that may be carried out to sea.

“The world heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef is one of the most iconic natural wonders of the world, which contributes billions of dollars to the Australian economy—this project will help protect it,” Mr Fletcher said.

“The data collected will help plan and improve stormwater infrastructure and water treatment processes to ensure urban water run-off is not harming the reef or its marine life.”

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said the pilot project would ultimately improve the quality of water entering the Saltwater Creek catchment of the reef.

“The Reducing Urban Impact on the Great Barrier Reef project is receiving $827,894 in Australian Government funding through the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program,” Mr Entsch said.

“We are pleased to be providing half of the project cost in partnership with Cairns Regional Council and the various funding partners. In the recently announced Budget the Australian Government committed $500 million to the protection of the Great Barrier Reef—one of the state and nation's greatest natural assets.”

Deputy Mayor of the Cairns Regional Council Terry James said the city was proud to lead the way in adopting new technologies for environmental benefit, especially since 2018 is the International Year of the Reef.

“To be a smart city is to be continually ready to accept new technologies as they emerge and apply them to the challenges we are facing,” Cr James said.

“For Cairns, protection of our environment is our top priority and it makes sense that our city should be setting the benchmark in environmental management.

“We are the custodians of this very special ecosystem, which is recognised globally as a place of natural wonder. We have a responsibility to protect the reef for future generations.”

JCU's Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Chris Cocklin, said researchers from the University's Internet of Things (IoT) program would bring both local knowledge and cutting-edge expertise to the project.

“JCU's IoT engineers already use smart sensor networks to deliver real-time data from tropical field sites, enabling researchers to monitor marine and natural environments from anywhere in the world,” Professor Cocklin said. “We see great potential for this technology to help make Cairns a truly smart city.”

The Australian Government is committing 50 per cent of the funding for the $1.66 million project with Cairns Regional Council, James Cook University, Wet Tropics Healthy Waterways, Itron Australasia and FNQ NRM Ltd providing the remainder.

All infrastructure for the project will be in place within the next 12 months.