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  • Writer's pictureMagnetic Community News

$600,000 For What???

Debbie Denison

Magnetic Island Community Development Association (MICDA) has announced that it has obtained a grant of $595,350 from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF). The Community Climate Action Grant for Magnetic Island (Yunbenun) is funded by the partnership between the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The media release then goes to say;

The backbone of the projects will be members and stakeholders of our Magnetic Island (Yunbenun) community-based Working Groups, Totally Renewable Magnetic (TRM) and Zero Waste Magnetic Island. The climate action projects will also employ three part-time staff (a coordinator and one for each of Energy and Zero Waste). The projects will focus


Creating a zero waste strategy for Magnetic Island.

Expanding the Island’s existing organic waste conversion to Humisoil and XLR8 liquid soil conditioner trials.

Commissioning a feasibility study for a micro-grid, including community battery storage, for a village on Magnetic Island.

Helping a selection of tourism businesses become zero waste and 100% renewable energy powered; and

Improve the capacity of visitors and residents to reduce their carbon emissions.

In a report written to DES by  MICDA  December 2023 their summary of the Zero Waste Magnetic Island the strategy would be:

‘Creating a ZW strategy requires engagement and buy-in by every resident

and business on the island.

Education and community engagement aimed at MI community members and

visitors to change their behaviours and to want to change their behaviours

around waste.’

In the  report summary for the Totally Renewable Magnetic (TRM) group the report states:

Stage 1: Feasibility Study: estimated cost $300,000 for 4 villages

Based on work previously undertaken by TRM and Townsville Council (e.g.,

pre-feasibility study for TCC by SMEC) a full feasibility study would be needed

before undertaking any capital works.

So in a nutshell there will be 3 part time jobs  - an overall paid  co-ordinator (?),and one paid  co-ordinator from both TRM and Zero Waste Groups. Who are these people or is it a MICDA closed shop?

MICDA will also take a fee to auspice  the grant which could range between 5% - 20% of the total grant.

The projects will run for just under two years and are due for completion by October 2025.

Many Magnetic Island  residents are questioning what is the value of this  grant for the wider community? Where is the bang for Taxpayer bucks?

The island is struggling  coming off the back of the Cyclone Kirrily

event. The rising cost of living, where many households are having to make some very difficult choices between putting food on the table and paying their morgage/rent.

PhillipThompson MP  Federal Member for Herbert told the MCN “More than half a million dollars is certainly a lot of money and I  know most Island residents, would hope that it’s put to good use.


Mr. Thompson went on to say “We do need to be doing what we can to protect the environment and the Reef and I would call on the Minister to make sure there’s value for the taxpayer dollar here.”

Surely these tax payer monies could  have been  better spent on helping our community with much needed equipment for our emergency services for example, our health services and our ageing population. There definitely needs to be transparency and MICDA need to be held accountable.


Mr. Thompson concluded by saying “There are many pressing issues on Magnetic Island and I would encourage locals to continue to let me know what’s important to them so we can work together to find solutions.”

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