Cairns-Port Douglas Community Panel

on Novel Reef Interventions in the Great Barrier Reef

Cairns-Port Douglas Community Panel

One of the core activities of the RRAP is the formation of geographically based community panels to explore and discuss novel reef interventions.

A panel is now being formed for the Cairns-Port Douglas region, and will focus on interventions designed to harvest, grow and resettle more heat-tolerant corals on the reef and other potential approaches being explored.

The panel is expected to be comprised of 15-20 community members who will commit to taking part in a series of up to 5 one-day engagements over a 6-month period about proposed reef interventions.


We need your help

The aim of establishing community panels is to explore a new way of involving community members in a longer-term and deeper discussion with scientists and reef managers about proposed reef interventions for the Great Barrier Reef. The panels seek to draw on diverse community perspectives and aspirations for the Reef and its management.

To ensure we attract diverse views and interests, we ask interested community members to complete a short questionnaire that collects personal information including name, age in years, suburb of residence, postcode and contact details, along with brief statements about your interest in the Reef and motivation for being involved.

Register for the panel: 

You are invited to register your interest to be part of the panel by 1 March. The first meeting of the panel is scheduled for mid-late March 2024.

Please follow this link to register your interest and read on for further information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is the RRAP setting up community panels?

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is the world’s largest living structure and one of the seven wonders of the world. While it remains a vibrant ecosystem of great natural resilience and beauty, warming oceans are causing more frequent and serious bleaching events, which can kill coral. Alongside efforts to reduce emissions and continued best-practice reef management, new interventions are likely to be needed to sustain the Reef.

The RRAP brings together Australia’s leading experts to help design innovative new ways to help the GBR resist, adapt to and recover from the impacts of climate change and other threats. It is important these interventions are safe and aligned with the diverse values and interests of those living in and connected to the GBR region. All new interventions are also required to go through the normal regulatory permitting process of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. 

Understanding what is important to the community and future generations helps the RRAP understand and respond to potential environmental, social and technological challenges. Community panels are a way of examining these new interventions through a deeper and longer-term discussion with members of the community and bringing community priorities and aspirations to the future of reef management.

RRAP is nearing completion of the first 5-year phase of research and development. RRAP is now considering how new restoration technologies might be implemented as a series of local ‘pilot deployments’ planned for late 2025. Significant planning and consultation still needs to occur, including with local communities, industry and Traditional Owners before plans can be agreed and implemented. The Cairns-Port Douglas Panel can play an important contribution as an early step in this planning process.

Q: What is the community panel aiming to achieve?

Establishing community panels is one way of running a ‘deliberative’ engagement. Community panels provide opportunities for the public to explore and engage with the science behind the interventions and options for using those interventions in the marine park. These discussions will be part of guidance that is provided to the RRAP on benefits and risks.

Panels offer one avenue by which diverse members of the Australian public (i.e. local community residents with diverse perspectives) can share their knowledge, experiences, opinions, and suggestions as part of a two-way exchange with scientists and research teams working on the interventions.

One of the roles of the RRAP governance bodies will be to integrate the feedback from the panels as well as from other engagement activities used in the RRAP, to make informed decisions about program strategy, investments, and delivery options. 

Q: What commitment is expected of panellists?

The Cairns-Port Douglas Community Panel will be formed in early 2024. The panel members will work together over (approximately) a 6-month period, (preferably) face-to-face. Involvement will largely be comprised of participation in up to 5 interactive one-day workshops, and one-on-one interviews conducted during the period with the panel facilitator and/or CSIRO staff.

Workshop dates are yet to be set and may occur on weekdays and/or Saturdays. There may be opportunities to participate in additional optional activities such as tours/visits to field research sites.

Q: How is the panel selected?

An open Expressions of Interest (EoI) process is being held inviting members of the CPD community to register to be considered. To register interest, you need to complete a short online application form and answer a few questions to support our aim in achieving a diverse representation of inputs.

The EoI process will be managed by CSIRO. Panel members will be selected on the basis of their answers to the EoI questions. The process will strive for a diverse representation of the CPD regional community.

Q: How else can the broader community be involved?

If you’re not selected for the community panel, there are a number of other ways to take part in consultation about the management of the GBR, which may include other community engagement activities in RRAP. These activities include other research projects involving stakeholders and Traditional Owners that are part of the RRAP.

To ensure a diverse range of perspectives and voices are heard and included in the process, targeted discussions may also be sought from some groups that are usually less likely to participate in a formal survey or submission process.

Q: What will the panel focus on?

The panel will discuss novel reef interventions designed to harvest, grow and resettle more heat-tolerant corals on the reef and other potential approaches being explored.

Q: Will panel members be paid?

In return for their contribution to the panel, a $400 gift card will be offered for participation in each full day workshop. Where agreed in advance, reasonable travel and accommodation costs may also be reimbursed upon the provision of receipts. Food and beverages are included.

It is recognised that panel members may have personal commitments and changes in circumstances, and we will try to accommodate these where possible when scheduling workshops and other engagements.

Q: What will happen with the panel’s input?

The panel’s input will be used to inform RRAP decisions about benefits and risks related to intervention proposals and research and development activities in the region, including considerations around site selection and deployment methods.

At the conclusion of the period, the panel’s input will be used to produce a de-identified report or communique, maintaining the confidentiality of individual participant contributions, and we will not identify panel members in any public document without their express written permission. The report or communique will be made available on the RRAP website and made available to the RRAP Board and Steering Committee.

There may also be an opportunity for panel members to present the outcomes of their deliberation to a regional or RRAP conference in Townsville, Cairns or similar location.

Regular communication will be maintained with the panel during the process, including to advise where their recommendations might usefully inform other processes in the RRAP.

Q: Who will facilitate the process?

The delivery of community panels is being developed and coordinated by CSIRO on behalf of the RRAP. CSIRO researchers will be present at all panels.

An independent facilitator will also be appointed by CSIRO and their role will be to support the panel in their discussions, which will take a flexible action learning approach, as well as build relationships with participants for the duration of these engagements.

Q: Who is eligible to join?

Anyone 18 years and older living in the Cairns and Port Douglas region.  

Q: How is my personal information used and stored?

Personal information provided by applicants and selected panel members is protected by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) and CSIRO will handle your personal information in accordance with this Act and the National Health and Medical Research Council National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007, updated 2018).

Your personal information, including your name, contact details, and opinions shared in panel meetings and any responses collected in interviews will be collected for the purpose of the project and related scientific research. 

CSIRO may also collect your sensitive information, including your image, if you consent to having your photograph taken, for the purposes outlined above.

CSIRO may disclose your personal information to third parties for purposes necessary for or related to the project where it engages with them, or uses their services or products, to facilitate the project. This may include an external facilitator, contracted third-party transcription provider, communications platform and other participants present at panel meetings. 

While CSIRO does not intend to disclose your personal information overseas, it is possible that some incidental overseas disclosure of your personal information may occur during the conduct of an online meeting or through ordinary email correspondence (particularly if you, another participant or a service provider are located overseas). By participating in this study and providing us with your personal information, you understand that any of your personal information disclosed overseas will not be subject to the requirements of the Privacy Act.

It is intended that the information obtained through the panel meetings and interviews will be de-identified and published and/or presented in a variety of forums. This includes the production of a final publicly available report, as well as scientific journal publications, factsheets, media releases and conference presentations.

The CSIRO Privacy Policy, available at, outlines how your personal information will be handled, including details about how you can seek access or correction of the personal information we hold about you, how you can lodge a complaint about a breach of the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) and how CSIRO will deal with the complaint. If you require further information on how your personal information will be handled, please contact

Q: How does this panel complement other existing networks?

The community panel is intended to be a short-term discussion platform, with a specific focus. The EoI will be distributed through existing networks and the panel will aim to have communications back to existing networks to help strengthen dialogue and broader understanding.