Reef Councils Investment Strategy

An Investment Strategy was developed following a high-level options analysis followed by a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) process. The aim was to test these processes and guide investment in WWTP stewardship to reduce nitrogen loads to the GBR while also generating case studies with broad relevance to Reef Councils.


The strategy also provides recommendations to inform potential governance, monitoring and evaluation of trials when they are selected for investment. The aim is to capture learnings from the work undertaken to form this investment strategy and summarise it to provide high-level principles for consideration in any future work.

Ten applications were received from nine Councils. Five were selected for further analysis using the high-level LCA process developed for this study. They are:

  • Burdekin – macroalgae treatment process
  • Douglas – upgrade to full recycling capacity
  • Fraser Coast – irrigation of hardwood plantation.
  • Generic lagoon treatment – membrane polishing package plant.
  • Mackay – offsets including farm fertiliser management.

The remaining applications were not evaluated using the LCA process, but were still considered as high-quality trials worthy of further investment and are summarised in this Investment Strategy. They are:

  • Cairns – bubble licence investigation
  • Tablelands– offset with minor upgrades
  • Townsville – offsets programs at Condon and Magnetic Island.
  • Whitsunday – high-tech WWTP upgrade.
The Investment Strategy document is available to Queensland councils here.

Next Steps

The high cost of WWTP improvements and affordability issues for councils mean that broader thinking about the problem and innovative solutions are required. The Cleaner Wastewater Initiative seeks to address this problem and see better solutions rolled-out in Reef catchments. The Investment Strategy is the final outcome of Stage 1 of the Cleaner Wastewater Initiative, and is a guide for prospective investors to the potential alternative solutions along with example methodologies for comparing them. It also provides a series of pre-assessed sites that are ready for further analysis and investment to protect the Reef and build useful case studies for other Reef Councils.

Links to other Reef pages

Reef Rescue Plan | STP Upgrade Considerations | Options Matrix | Life Cycle Analysis