The Cairns and Far North Environment Centre (CAFNEC) is a not-for-profit incorporated association which acts as conservation council for the region from Cardwell north to Torres Strait and from the coast west to the Gulf of Carpentaria. The Great Barrier Reef and Wet Tropics World Heritage Areas are included. Collaboration with other conservation organisations on environmental issues of state and national importance has become increasingly important.
CAFNEC also plays an important role within the broader environmental movement, collaborating with other organisations focusing on environmental issues of state and national importance.
CAFNEC regularly employs at least three part time staff – a Coordinator, Campaigner and Administrator and relies heavily on the work and dedication of volunteers and supporters. A voluntary management committee is elected by association members, both individuals and conservation groups. Membership is open to anyone who values the natural environment and accepts the objectives and rules of the association.
Most of our funding comes from donations, fundraising and small government grants. Special purpose grants from foundations and government agencies, each separately acquitted, have covered such varied projects as a sustainability conference, rehabilitation in the Cairns Central Swamp, a campaign for a ‘ no-take ‘ Coral Sea marine park, Cape York World Heritage assessment, and promotion of domestic solar panels. Sympathetic corporate sponsors of events and projects are welcomed, but not sponsorship of CAFNEC itself. CAFNEC looks back with pride on participation in:-
- Development of the twenty five year plan for the Great Barrier Reef;
- The successful campaign for World Heritage listing of the tropical rainforests of FNQ;
- Resistance to construction of a ‘ Tully- Millstream dam’;
- Development of the Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy (CYPLUS) ;
- Establishment of the regional Environmental Defenders Office of North Queensland (EDONQ) ;
- Opposing the broadscale development of the East Trinity bunded wetland and participation in the trinity Inlet Management Plan;
- Quiet support for individuals and local groups with project and campaign proposals ;
- Two decades publication of Ecotone, CAFNEC’s quarterly newsletter.
History and Purpose
CAFNEC was formed in 1981 by members of a number of local conservation groups. It was felt that group coordination and a higher profile for regional environment issues was needed with a single, accessible contact point. Since 1991 that contact point has been both an office and library in Cominos House, a restored Queenslander at the corner of Greenslopes and Lily Streets, where the then city council chose tenants for their contribution to restoration and to co-operative management. Cominos House is one of the most well know cultural and historical buildings in Cairns, close to the Flecker Botanic Gardens. Since CAFNEC’s establishment it has been the focal point for environmental action and education in the region.
To lead and support the community in valuing the natural environment through conservation and ecological sustainability.
CAFNEC’s Key Functions
- Campaigning for the FNQ environment – everything from grass roots activism to political lobbying at a local, State and Federal level;
- Representing environmental interests in the Far North region to tourism, agricultural/industry and other sectors of the community;
- Providing communication services for the region’s environment movement;
- Sponsoring grants for projects and research on matters relating to the region’s environment;
- Maintaining an easily accessible community library and resource centre with materials relating to environmental issues;
- Aiding the establishment of, and providing support to, like-minded local organizations;
- Raising awareness and understanding of environmental issues to members and the wider community.
- Publication of ‘Ecotone’, CAFNEC’s quality quarterly newsletter, over nearly two decades
CAFNEC is currently represented on the following Committees
|1||Wet Tropics Management Authority, Tourism Working Group|
|2||Wet Tropics Management Authority, Conservation Sector Liaison Group|
|3||Cape York Tenure Resolution Implementation Group (CYTRIG)|
|4||Northern Gulf Resource Management Group (NGNRG), member|
|5||NGRMG Conservation Sector Director|
|6||Local Marine Advisory Committee (LMAC)|
|7||Mitchell River Catchment Management Group|
|8||Mt Peter Planning Advisory Group|
|9||Integrated Catchment Management Groups – Weipa|
|10||Environmental Defenders Officer (NQ Branch), Management Committee|
|11||Cairns Port Long Term Dredge Spoil Disposal Technical Advisory Committee|
|12||Friends of Cominos House Board of Management – Ruth Zee|
|13||Crocodile Management Advisory Committee|
|14||Terrain NRM Ltd|
|15||Cape York NRM|
|16||National Environment Roundtable|
|17||State Environment Roundtable|
|18||Future Forum (new version of the Mittagong Forum)|
|19||Future Forum Interim Steering Committee|
|21||Sustainable TNQ – Planning Working Group|
|22||Sustainable TNQ – Energy Working Group|
|23||Tablelands Regional Council Environment Sector Reference Group|
|24||Gulf Energy Group (on behalf of NGRMG)|
|25||Wet Tropics Water Resource Plan Community Reference Panel|
|26||Australian Environment Network Steering Committee|
CAFNEC would like to thank Steven Nowakowski, Kerry Trapnell and Barry Traill for use of their photographs on our web site. CAFNEC would also like to acknowledge the many other individuals, conservation groups and agencies who have helped contribute information towards this web site.