Our vision is to put people, country and culture back together in a sustainable way in the current environment. Our participation in economic activities such as tourism that will generate small business for future generations and the preservation of our identity and culture.


In 2014 MYAC secured funds from the Indigenous Land Corporation to develop a Strategic Property Management plan for Lot 158. This work was completed in 2015 by Ethos Urban (formerly known as Buckley Vann) in consultation with the MY Community over a series of several meetings.


In 2016, consistent with the identified technical studies to investigate and mitigate challenges and constraints specific to the site, MYAC proceeded with the support of the Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Indigenous Land Corporation and the Queensland Government (DATSIP), engaged a team of experts to develop the Development Application for submission to the Cairns Regional Council. The Development Application was formally lodged on the 13th of September 2017.

Our Vision


The Development Application submitted to the Cairns Regional Council includes the following:


  • Technical studies
  • Refined concept
  • DA preparation and assessment
  • Land tenure
  • Jetty Pontoon & Vessel Design
  • Detailed design
  • Source funding
  • Other approvals
  • Detailed design


The MYECTIP site is located on Lot 158 Crown Plan NR5877 – 721.587 hectares (Surveyed), and Mandingalbay Yidinji Dedicated Indigenous Protected Area – East Trinity Reserve, adjacent Cairns CBD.


Steps for Trustee Lease


1. Submit Draft Land Management Plan to DNRM for approval

  • Complete Draft Land Management Plan
  • Obtain Approval in Principle from DNRME to Draft Land Management Plan prior to public consultation
  • Advertise in the paper seeking public comments (4 week public consultation).
  • Consider public submissions and amend Draft Land Management Plan if appropriate

2. Finalise and agree on lease conditions (concurrently with Land Management Plan)

  • Incorporate standard terms, special conditions, and rental.
  • Incorporate conditions of development approval.
  • Construction and Maintenance Environmental Management Plan approved


3. Submit Trustee Lease for DNRME for approval.


4. Register DNRME approved and executed Trustee Lease with the Titles office.


The Mandigalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation (MYAC) is seeking a Development Permit for a landing structure at Hills Creek, East Trinity. This structure is to be part of the Mandigalbay Yidinji Eco Cultural Infrastructure Project (ECIP) proposed by MYAC. This structure nominally consists of a floating pontoon and fixed platform, supported by stairs or similar access features.


The structure is proposed in Hills Creek, East Trinity, Queensland adjacent to the existing East Trinity Bund, formally described as Lot 158 on NR5877. A new lease area within the parent lot has been proposed as a part of the ECIP (separate to this Development Permit process). The lease land is approximately 50 m wide and 1.1 km long, orientated in a generally north-south direction and is parallel with the Trinity Inlet (located to the west). This area covers the ECIP including the proposed landing structure.

The structure will be used to ferry passengers to and from the Cairns Marlin Marina, as part of the operations of the ECIP. As the mouth of Hills Creek is tidally constrained, the frequency of vessel movements to and from the jetty will be determined by tides and the boat purchased for the project.


No bed-levelling or dredging within Hills Creek is proposed based on current operational requirements.


MYAC is seeking a Development Permit for Operational Works, being a landing structure at Hills Creek, East Trinity. This structure is to be part of the Mandingalbay Yidinji ECIP proposed by MYAC.

The ECIP aims to establish a tourism facility that offers to showcase the
ecological significance and value of Cairns’ eastern wetlands and provide
environmental education opportunities.


The project will also highlight indigenous practices, knowledge of Country for the Mandingalbay Yidinji (MY) Aboriginal people and provide a legacy of self-sufficiency, community pride and shared learnings/experiences of a unique and ancient culture.


It aims to function as a fully-contained facility, operated entirely by the Traditional Owners of the land and to upskill MY people. The ECIP will consist of a series of tower structures serving as activity centres and connected by a raised boardwalk. The boardwalk would terminate near the Hills Creek bund and provide access to the proposed landing. Near the connection of these two structures would be passenger administration and waiting areas.


The proposed landing in Hills Creek is required to support the ferrying of visitors to and from the Cairns Marlin Marina. Ferrying people to the site from the marina is preferred as it is significantly quicker than access by road via Pine Creek Yarrabah Road (5-10 minutes by vessel vs. ~1 hours by road).


The proposed landing comprises four main components consisting of (1) a floating access pontoon, (2) two steel piles, (3) a gangway and (4) a concrete pad footing. Concept design plans for the structure are attached in Appendix B. Final design of the structure will be developed as part of a design-and-construct tendering process, subject to any relevant approval conditions.


The access pontoon will be located adjacent to the western bank of Hills Creek, in the deepest portion of the channel. The access pontoon will be fixed to two steel piles located on the southern side of the pontoon. The gangway will connect to the access pad and to a concreate pad footing on the western bank of Hills Creek.


The concrete pad will interface with the most northern part of the facilities boardwalk allowing passengers to transfer from the transport vessel into the eco-cultural tourism experience. This interface will be developed as part of detailed design phases.


The design of the development has aimed to minimise vegetation clearing to the greatest extent possible, however it is envisioned that the development of the proposed landing will require the removal of marine plants for the construction of the gangway. It is likely that the removal of marine plants will only require a small quantity of trimming and/or removal that will not exceed 25 m2.


All construction works are intended to be undertaken by barge (i.e. from water). This includes transportation of material to the site and construction activities. Where necessary, an unloading and laydown facility will be developed on already cleared land above the high-water mark. If required, limited transport of materials to the site may occur by road, utilising a limited access internal road, connecting to Lee Yan Road and the Pine Creek Yarrabah Road.


The main construction activities anticipated are:


  • Transport of material to site
  • Piling to depth to achieve suitable stability
  • Other marine civil works associated with the new landing structure and gangway
  • Connection of the gangway to the top of the bund
  • Removal of excess material from the site


Construction is intended to be undertaken independently of works required forthe remainder of the ECIP.


The actions listed below are those MYAC is committed to for the post-approval phase of the project. These are aimed at finalising details for construction, design and environmental management based on the matters discussed in this report.


These actions include the following:


1. Identification of a preferred boat for passenger transport to update design and establish scheduling requirements.


2. Detailed design of the structure, including preparation of detailed design drawings, forming the basis for updated construction methodology and operational management strategy (e.g. cyclone contingency plan).


3. Finalisation of the construction methodology and environmental management measures in consultation with the relevant construction contractor, including development of a Construction Environmental Management Plan consistent with approval and legislative requirements and the ASS Remediation Plan for East Trinity.


4. Where necessary, conducting a protected plant survey within the construction footprint and applying for additional clearing permits as
necessary for any protected plant species identified.


1. Preparation of a Marine Execution Plan, in consultation with MSQ and the Regional Harbour Master (RHM), and preparation of a Notice to Mariners for the marine-based aspects of the works.


2. Submission of ‘as constructed’ drawings to Department of Environment and Science (DES) following completion of works.


3. Implementation and review of the operational management strategy. Hills Creek is located within the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) World Heritage Area (WHA) and National Heritage Place (NHP). The site of the proposed landing contributes to the broader values of these areas, as it remains within a significant community of mangrove forest supporting various values including recruitment of juvenile fish and improving water quality.


The entire footprint also lies within the Port of Cairns and Trinity Inlet Nationally Important Wetland, listed under the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia (DIWA). These wetlands are not specifically protected under legislation; however, they do provide significant environmental value including:


  • Support for large populations of birds, fish and prawns
  • Research opportunities
  • An area of recruitment for commercial fish stocks
  • A natural area that increases the quality of life in the region
  • A valuable sediment and nutrient sink for runoff from Cairns and surrounding areas




  • Guided cultural tours and performances
    (dance, story telling, demonstrations) – day and night
  • Activities – high ropes, rock climbing, zip lines, Segway tours
  • Research – Djunbunji programs, visiting academics, courses, MY training, school groups
  • Accommodation – Croc huts, hammocks, research (non-visitors)
  • Souvenir stores and cafes


Day and night operations


  • Monday – Saturday (9am – 8pm)
  • Open 42 weeks of the year
  • 100 day trip visitors (1-3 hour tours)
  • 2 night stays per week, maximum of 9 months/yr
  • 40 people per month




  • 3-4 night time events/month (30 people)
  • 6 annual events/year with 100 participants
  • 4 training courses/month in rooms (30-80 people)
  • Meeting room hire – 5 events/month (30-80 people)
  • Night events cease at 12am at latest




  • Visitors taken via 45 seater vessel in scheduled rotations
  • Boat moors in Hills Creek
  • Staff and maintenance via Lee Yan Rd using existing roads and bund wall
  • Vehicle trips by road max 20vpd

Business Case




  • Financial feasibility assessments
  • Cost benefit analyses, including social and intangible benefit assessments
  • Economic Impact Assessment
  • Economic Development Opportunities


Cost and Construction Estimates

Eco Culture


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