28th-29th April 2021

Pullman Reef Hotel Casino

35-41 Wharf Street, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia




The NESP Tropical Water Quality (TWQ) Hub is one of six hubs established under the Australian Government’s National Environmental Science Program (NESP). Like those Hubs, the Tropical Water Quality Hub has operated from 2015-2021. During that period, we have funded ~90 projects, mostly focused upon water quality and ecosystem condition of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

The Tropical Water Quality Hub has been administered and managed by the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre (RRRC) which has drawn upon more than 200 researchers, mostly from our six partner research institutions – James Cook University, CSIRO, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Griffith University, the University of Queensland and Central Queensland University.

Reflecting on the priorities for GBR water quality, Day One showcases our work in reducing nutrient, sediment and pesticide runoff to the GBR from both farm and catchment management, and also via restoring and managing coastal wetlands. Day Two showcases our work in the marine environment which receives catchment runoff. Here we share our demonstrated outcomes in reducing the impact of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish on the Reef, responding to the 2016-2017 mass coral bleaching events and improving the management and monitoring of the Great Barrier Reef.

NESP TWQ Hub research is driven by end-user needs and is thus highly applied, focusing upon delivering tangible on-ground outcomes for environmental management, policy development or social/behaviour change, within the timeframe of the program. We are proud of our achievements in this regard and this final event offers an opportunity to display and share with our partners and collaborators, many of the topics we have worked on and successes we have had, over the last six years. We have postponed this event several times during the 2020-COVID19 affected year but are pleased to be able to host this event before the Hub concludes all operations in June 2021.

Although the Tropical Water Quality Hub will shortly come to an end, we will continue on in a different but related guise, managing one of four NESP Hubs established under the next iteration (2021-2027) of NESP – the NESP Marine and Coastal Hub. The Marine and Coastal Hub will have a much broader geographical and topical remit than the current Tropical Water Quality Hub, encompassing all of Australia and potentially considering all coastal and marine issues. The experiences we have learnt during the Tropical Water Quality Hub will greatly benefit us in this new, larger endeavor. We will continue with the same applied, end-user driven ethos, working to ensure that this approach to research becomes embedded as a standard practice.

We do hope that you are enriched by what you hear, see and learn at this event and that the pathways to improved social, economic and environmental outcomes from the work of the TWQ Hub are evident. Thank you for taking the time to share this last major public event with us and are very grateful for your commitment and efforts working constructively with us over the last six years.


Leith Boully, NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub Steering Committee Chair

Sheriden Morris, NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub Administrator &
RRRC Managing Director

Damien Burrows, NESP Tropical Water Quality Hub Leader