We are Australia’s largest regional University strategically placed to lead world-class research and teaching in the sustainability of life on land. In particular, the University research profile focuses on biology, ecology, toxicology, biosecurity in the conservation of terrestrial, agriculture and marine and freshwater systems. Expansion of mining and industry in the Central Queensland region and serious environmental concerns associated with the development of Gladstone harbour and salinity in Australia’s second-largest river system (the Fitzroy and related tributaries) has resulted in a substantial increase in the demand for environmental research and training, for which we are a key service provider. 

Sustainable Engagement and Activities

CQUniversity is passionate about providing community education and sharing its knowledge with local, national and global communities. The below programs are a sample of programs facilitated in 2022 that have supported our work towards the Sustainable Development Goal 15 - Life on Land.

School Engagement and Outreach

  • EXCITED 4 Careers in Agriculture- An educational roadshow has been delivered in Darwin, Home Hill and South Australia to give students, teachers, and parents a taste of the exciting careers available in agriculture in their local region as well as introducing them to some of the region's innovative farmers.
  • Kids to Farms Project- seven school across North Queensland were part of a roadshow to educate kids about agriculture and aimed to increase primary school students' understadning of where and how their food are produced and the importance of agriculture.
  • Smart Grubs Project- Park Avenue State School  participated in a series of activities delivered by CQUniversity to educate them about alternative food waste solutions to landfills, and demonstrate how food waste can be processed, composted, and used to improve soil health.earn about their lifecycle and how the fly larvae can be used to compost food waste.
  • Isis and Gin Gin State High Schools- CQUniversity's Hinkler AgTech researchers visited the high school and shared a weather station and electronic cattle collar for use in their school agriculture programs.
  • National Agriculture Day- CQUniversity hosted an event filled with fun, food, and technology for high school students to celebrate and learn about Australia's important beef sector. More than 80 students from St Brendan's College and St Ursula's in Yeppoon had the opportunity to learn from industry mentors which included a researcher' vet' livestock nutritionist' and butcher.
  • RACE - Gippsland will deliver a range of hands-on, interactive, and engaging activities to primary and secondary students focused on raising aspirations in agriculture and building student capacity in STEM, digital technologies, agribusiness, manufacturing and food and fibre concepts.

Industry Engagement and Outreach

Community Engagement and Outreach

  • Farm Safety Events CQ- Community members had the opportunity to refresh their farm safety skills at the Next Generation Farm Safety Roadshow that visited Rockhampton, Blackwater and Emerald. Delivered by CQUniversity in partnership with AgForce, the sessions covered the hazards and dangers on farms that are particularly important for children as well as ways in which to mitigate risks and increase confidence to undertake safe practice.
  • Emerald Field Day- The latest varietal performance data and agronomy insights for dual-purpose peanuts, sesame and mungbeans was available to Central Queensland farmers at a field day in Emerald.

Global Outreach Activities

  • Wildlife Law and Protection in Vietnam- The tour partners with Education for Nature Vietnam and Vietnam National University School of Law and allows CQUniversity law students to understand first-hand the legal, cultural and environmental context of wildlife protection and illegal trafficking.





  • United Nations Global Environment Outlook- Dr Shaneel Chandra holds a role in the author team for the UN Global Environment Outlook which is the flagship report for the United National Environment Program and provides an integrated assessment of the state of the global environment. 
  • Latina America- CQUniversity has established a partnership with a leading Latin American research agency, with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Argentina’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MINCYT) and the National Council for Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET). The partnership will enable collaboration between post-doctoral researchers at CQU and CONICET in areas of mutual excellence, such as environmental science. 
  • The Ohio State University 
  • Argentina's National Institute of Agricultural Technology (INTA) 

Protection and Restoration

Koala CQ- Our Koala Research group has been collaborating with communities and industries since 1994 to enhance koala conservation through research. The group’s focus is on aspects of koala ecology, biology, history and community engagement in Central Queensland and beyond.

Integrated Habitat Restoration- This project will see the removal of three  unlawfully installed earthen causeways at the Rodd's Harbour Fish Habitat Area. The causeways obstruct aquatic bio passage and the fresh-marine continuum in this high-value coastal wetland system. 

Capricorn Yellow chat- The Capricorn yellow chat is listed as Endangered under Queensland Nature Conservation Act 1992, and as Critically Endangered under the Commonwealth Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. CQUniversity has conducted research and assessment of this sub species 

Wildlife Trafficking- This research project is a partnership between CQUniversity and Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) on wildlife trafficking and aims to protect the douc langur, a critically endangered genus of money. 

Noosa Tree-planting- Funded by the Noosa Biosphere Reserve Foundation (NBRF) along with supporting partners' Noosa Council' Zero Emissions Noosa' Greenfleet' and Noosa Landcare, the CQUniversity-led study aims to understand why many people particularly young people' suffer ongoing feelings of hopelessness and despair about the future due to climate change and how they can overcome their concerns by taking action. Tree planting is a positive action that can be undertaken relatively simply but is often overlooked in its importance in the fight against climate change. The event is part of an iconic revegetation project in Noosa Shire with results also contributing to a large study into eco-anxiety across Australia. 

Woorabinda- A community event held at Horseshoe Lagoon in Woorabinda included native tree-planting, water quality testing, birth watching, and learning about water life and creatures. This event was run in conjunction with the Woorabinda Rangers, Greening Australia, BMA, Darumbal Rangers, Birdlife CQ, and the Department of Environment and Science. 

Bringing Nature Back to Frenchman's Creek- This project allows participants to study local flora and fauna, control exotic weeds and support bush regeneration by planting native plants. View more here


Alien Species Management

BROLGA- Designed for Indigenous students in years 5-12, the BROLGA program is a mix of on-campus and 'on country' learning experiences that incorporate elements of community, country, and culture. As part of this program, the cohort looks t problematic weeds and feral animals and how to manage them. For more information email brolga@cqu.edu.au

Precision Weeds Sprayer- This project uses drones, AI and image processing to develop technology to effectively manage weeds in farming crops. 

Laser weed management- This project aims to investigate the use of laser irradiation to kill weeds precisely and study the feasibility of incorporating laser weed killing technology with farming autonomous platforms such as farming robots or drones.

Toads to Tadpole Baits- 2022 saw changes to the collection and use of cane toads in first year Biology. The Environmental Science team were able to source toads that were collected routinely by community toad ‘busts’, where people rally to collect toads and euthanise them humanely. 80 tads were used by students during residential schools and the rest were processed by technical staff. All specimens had the paratoid glands removed. The glands were then sent to Watergum in Brisbane where they will be used to make cane toad tadpole baits to help in the ongoing cane toad eradication programs. Read more about this on page 7 of the 2022 Sustainability Report

Precision Horticulture- CQUniversity’s Precision Horticulture team is focused on improving the productivity and profitability of Queensland’s major horticultural commodities. Specialist research skills within the team include pest physiology, drone-based crop sensing for early detection of pests and diseases, plant parasitic nematode management in vegetable crops and automated pest insect monitoring systems.

Plastic Waste

Drain Buddies

The Drain Buddies project, led by Dr Angela Capper at our Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC), will modify and install microplastic traps across Rockhampton and Livingstone shires, with monitoring to determine where the littering is occurring.

Clean Up Australia Day

CQUniversity is a Platinum Business Supporter of Clean Up Australia Day with events held across our campuses. Each year our staff and students step up and collect up to one ton of rubbish at simultaneous Clean Up Australia Day events across all mainland states. The 13 campus locations that participate in the annual event include Adelaide, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns, Gladstone, Mackay Ooralea and City, Melbourne, Noosa, Perth, Rockhampton, Sydney, and Townsville.

Reusable Cup Initiative

This initiative partners with Plastic Free CQ and encourages all staff and students to use reusable cups when purchasing coffee on campus in a step towards a plastic-free future.  The on-campus café at Rockhampton North 'Cups and Muffs' offers discounts to customers who bring their own reusable cups and also offers a cup library to borrow and return.

Ditch the Disposables

The Ditch the Disposables campaign is an ongoing initiative that continues to educate staff and students throughout our national footprint about the harmful effects of single-use plastic and encourages them to ultimately ‘ditch the disposables’ because small changes will have a big impact. The University has embarked on a long-term sustainability journey focusing on key areas with the greatest impact demonstrating its commitment to the environment.

Learn more about our sustainability

Policies and Procedures

CQUniversity is guided by policies and procedures in relation to the Sustainable Development Goal 15: Life on Land. Our policies ensure that staff, researchers, students, contractors and all others involved with the university take responsibility on topics such as biosecurity, waste and sustainability.

As outlined in the Procurement and Policy and Procedure, CQUniversity is committed to protecting the environment and doing business with ethical and sustainably responsible suppliers during all stages of the procurement process. Buyers must plan, identify and integrate the practice of sustainability into the procurement of goods and/or services. Preference should be given to environmentally preferable goods and services that have a lower impact on the environment over the life cycle of the good or service when compared with competing goods or services serving the same purpose.

Refer to 4.6 Sustainable, social and Indigenous-focused procurement for more information.

This Sustainability Policy outlines the requirements of the executive, managers, employees and students in meeting the environmental sustainability objectives of the University. The Policy sets a clear turning point about the image it is portraying and various benchmarks the University is set for its teachers, students, employees, service providers and stakeholders about the sustainability of its activities.

Sustainability at the University is holistic through interconnecting elements to signify that one’s actions are connected to the larger picture and we are guided by our Sustainability Framework. Our sustainable development is focused on balancing social, economic and environmental needs and will be implemented through:

  • engaging and empowering our employees, students and the community on sustainability issues
  • establishing University-wide targets to reduce energy, water, solid waste and pollutants
  • fulfilling our commitment to sustainable building designs and facilities
  • developing sustainable campuses, and
  • incorporating sustainability topics for teaching and research as interrelated components in all fields offered at our university.

The Code of Conduct for Research establishes the framework for managing CQUniversity’s responsibilities to conduct research ethically, responsibly, with integrity, and in compliance with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research. The Code of Conduct for Research outlines the importance of respect for the environment and the community.

The Contract Management Policy and Procedure policy outlines the necessary requirements all contractors need to abide by, including that local biodiversity is included in planning and development.

Clause 4.10 outlines the commitment to the Environmental Protection Act 1994 where both the contractor and the contract manager have certain responsibilities in relation to work health and safety and, depending on the type of project, environmental protection.

The Contractor Occupational Health and Safety Management Procedure has been developed to provide a safe system of work incorporating a risk management approach to ensure that potential risks to health, safety and the environment are identified, assessed and controlled, allowing contractors to work safely while on CQUniversity worksites.

Outlined in clause 3.5 - 3.12 is the environmental protection information which includes information on pollution, sustainable land management and procedures to prevent any potential incidents towards the environment.

The purpose of the Institutional Biosafety Committee (IBC) is to provide a forum for addressing biosafety issues across the University. It also has a duty to protect students and staff of the University, as well as the Australian people and environment, by establishing procedures to minimise risk due to the release of any harmful organism into the environment.

The (IBC) has the specific responsibility to consider and advise on the following types of activity within research and teaching programs:

  • The use of potentially infectious agents in laboratories (under Australian Standard AS/NZS 2243.3 and related professional and regulatory policies).
  • Work with genetically modified organisms (under the Gene Technology Act 2000) and other guidelines provided by the Office of Gene Technology Regulator (OGTR).
  • Activities relating to the safe handling and disposal of imported biological materials (Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources).

The Research Higher Degree Integrity Policy and Procedure defines integrity as it applies to research higher degrees (RHDs). It sets out CQUniversity’s expectations of research candidates to act in a manner that upholds the highest standards of integrity. It also sets out CQUniversity’s responses to and processes for addressing alleged breaches of research integrity by RHD candidates, including those of research misconduct.

This policy and procedure outline actions required when there are potential breaches to the environment.

The Engaging and Communicating with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or First Nations People Protocol outlines the engagement practises to be followed with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or First Nations People and the acknowledgment and engagement required to work on cultural land.

The Research Involving Humans and or Animals for Ethical Clearance Policy and Procedure outlines the requirements of staff and students when working with animals for research purposes. All projects involving animal subjects shall be conducted in conformity with the NHMRC’s Australian Code for the Care and Use of Animals for Scientific Purposes. This code of conduct also includes information on alien species management.

CQUniversity's Handling and Storage of Hazardous Chemicals and Dangerous Goods Procedure outlines the hazardous material handling requirements for all people bringing hazardous materials onto CQUniversity campuses.

Institute for Future Farming Systems

Our world-leading agriculture research program