Who we are (Old)


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 east coast 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 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 Coral Sea marine park, Cape York World Heritage assessment, and promotion of domestic solar panels.


Far North Queensland is a community that protects, respects and connects with our unique natural tropical environment.


CAFNEC is the peak environmental body advocating for the protection of the unique tropical natural environment of Far North Queensland in partnership with the community and other environmental organizations.


We understand that our natural environment has intrinsic value in addition to the social, cultural and economic values derived from human endeavour. Consequently, we have a duty to pass on our inherited natural environment in the best possible condition for the benefit of future generations, both human and non-human.

We acknowledge the cultural values of Traditional Owners of Far North Queensland and will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, recognising and respecting their vital role in conservation.

We seek to achieve high ethical values in both conduct and image by being professional, honest, inclusive and mutually respectful in our words, actions and relationships while remaining strategic and focussed on our mission.


  • GOAL 1: To provide opportunities for the community to take action to promote ecological sustainability of the FNQ environment.
  • GOAL 2: To undertake campaigns which influence decision making to promote environmental protection of the FNQ region in accordance with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development.
  • GOAL 3: To demonstrate leadership and actively engage with all other environment groups and networks in the region, providing support as appropriate. 
  • GOAL 4:  To ensure long-term financial and organisational health.

Ratified by the Management Committee – 14 April 2015

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 Little 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.

CAFNEC is 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
20 Sustainable TNQ
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.