PROJECT SPOTLIGHT — Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owner Taskforce

Walking alongside Reef Traditional Owners to grow a community-led and Country-centred solution.

© Josie Olbar

Seed and grow community-led solutions

A community-led and Country-centred nature solution.

We’re proud to partner with ReefTO to structure and scale a community-designed and led model to co-govern, care for and sustain Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

Our approach is to scale deep, working at the speed of trust, walking alongside community leaders to explore, test, and launch innovative nature and climate solutions.


Great Barrier Reef Traditional Owner Taskforce

Traditional Owner connection to and stewardship of Australia’s iconic World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef extends for time immemorial.

There are over 70 Traditional Owner groups along the Queensland coastline whose traditional estates extend from the coastal lands into the Great Barrier Reef and many more groups whose customary estates form part of the Reefs Catchment. It is a rich cultural land and seascape, and Traditional Owners have always been caretakers, leading efforts to care for Country.

Since the 1990’s Traditional Owners have been coming together to seek more cohesive approaches to achieve their aspirations for a ‘Healthy Reef and Healthy People’.

In 2022 the Reef Traditional Owner Steering Group published the Reef 2050 Traditional Owner Implementation Plan. The Plan brings together decades of aspirations and sets out priority actions including establishing an eight-member Traditional Owner Taskforce and coordination unit.

A priority of the TO Taskforce is to engage with Traditional Owners across the catchment on options for a Sea Country Alliance. The vision for a Sea Country Alliance has culminated over many generations for Reef Traditional Owners to establish their own representative body – by mob for mob.

The Taskforce’s role extends beyond the coordination and delivery of the Reef TO Implementation Plan priority actions; it aims to amplify Traditional Owner perspectives, collaborate with government and non-government organisations, and champion systemic changes for genuine partnerships and co-governance.

Image credits

Gudjuda Indigenous Land and Sea Rangers © Queensland Government

© Yanguang Lan

© Andy Bridge

© Bridget Ferguson

© Geo Nadir

© Joan Li


Our Model

Pollination Foundation has been proud to walk alongside the Reef Traditional Owner Steering Group and support the transition to the TO Taskforce.

Over the next three years Pollination Foundation will host the TO Taskforce providing a culturally safe and stable environment to unlock capability. Drawing on our expertise we’ll support the team to establish a standalone independent Traditional Owner led organisation to enact the aspirations of Reef Traditional Owners, guided by the Reef TO Implementation Plan (2022) as a living document.

Partnering with the TO Taskforce enables us to share our knowledge and experience, connect community leaders with Pollination’s global network of expertise and establish transparent corporate governance processes. All of which supports reaching the vision for a Reef wide Sea Country Alliance.

Pollination Foundation’s role includes:

  • Entering into TO Taskforce related Grant Agreements as the Grant Recipient.
  • Maintaining the legal and financial responsibility to meet the terms of Grant Agreements.
  • Providing services to the TO Taskforce, in accordance with a Host Corporate Services Plan; and
  • As agreed, providing professional services to assist in delivery of the TO Taskforce purpose and key priorities.

Learn more about ReefTO via the ReefTO website and the video below:





Supporting Partners


Project Contacts

Ariadne Gorring

Co-CEO Pollination Foundation

Ariadne is passionate about Indigenous-led cultural conservation, working with the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) for over 20 years on native title and cultural and natural resource management. Ariadne worked with 14 Native Title groups to register the West Kimberley on the National Heritage List. She led the registration of the North Kimberley Savanna Carbon Projects – the first in Australia to be registered on native title lands. She has engaged with national and international networks to promote best practice models of Indigenous led conservation. She was a Committee Member, World Indigenous Network Conference in Darwin; and Presenter at World Parks Congress, Sydney, and United Nations Climate Change Conference, Paris. She’s an Atlantic Fellow for Social Equity Melbourne University; and recipient of The Nature Conservancy’s Barbara Thomas Fellowship in Conservation Financing.


Recent Publications

Traditional Owner Implementation Plan

Download Report


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