Noosa River Management

Boats on Noosa River

The Noosa River is a beautiful and complex waterway, and management of this dynamic system involves multiple agencies across all three tiers of government (Local, State and Commonwealth) in managing different locations, impacts and activities on the river. With that understanding, the local Noosa Shire Council (Noosa Council), and the State regulatory agency for coastal waters of Queensland, Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ), committed as co-chairs to a Noosa River Stakeholder Advisory Committee (NRSAC) with an aim to engage with local stakeholders and communities as an essential component in the management of the Noosa River and its catchment.

Noosa Council is working with the local Kabi Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) on a new engagement protocol to ensure First Nations perspectives are included in ongoing management of the Noosa River and its catchment.

Noosa Council and The Nature Conservancy’s Partnership on the Noosa Oyster Restoration Project is one example of this.

New Noosa River speed limits

Council welcomes MSQ's decision to reduce boating speed limits in some parts of the Noosa River ahead of the September 2023 school holidays.

The southern shore from Noosa Sound to Lake Doonella and the Dog Beach areas near the Noosa River entrance are now permanently limited to six knots.

The move is the first in a package of initiatives MSQ is phasing in to improve safety on the river as it implements a new Noosa River management plan following the consultation with the community, Council and the Noosa River Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

Existing speed limits for the river, including the normal "distance off" rules and areas that have temporary six knots speed limits in place for peak holiday periods, remain in place.

Boaties are encouraged to reveiw the new Noosa River speed limits to ensure they comply when out on the water.

Noosa River Stakeholder Advisory Committee

The Noosa River Stakeholder Advisory Committee (NRSAC) was formed in April 2021 with key community representatives across sectors of river use including community, recreational, fishing, tourism and environmental.

The purpose of NRSAC was to provide advice to Noosa Council and MSQ on sustainable use and management of the Noosa River and its catchment.

The objectives of the NRSAC included:

  • Prioritise issues impacting upon the Noosa River and catchment
  • Analyse problems and consider solutions including Initiation of ideas
  • Consider recommendations prepared by Noosa Council and MSQ and provide feedback
  • Support informed discussion and consultation within the community at appropriate times
  • Consider the long term best practice governance for the Noosa River and its catchment including clear vision and goals

Bringing Noosa Council together with MSQ has meant on-water river management issues could be dealt with in one forum. 

In April 2023 the NRSAC held its final meeting, having worked through the complicated issues of anchoring and mooring in the river, speed limits and other issues, and presented a range of recommendations to Maritime Safety Queensland, for improvements to the ongoing management of the waterway.

Options to improve river management were put out to public consultation by MSQ in December 2022 and January 2023.

MSQ has flagged the Noosa River process as a model for state-wide changes to anchoring and mooring.

NRSAC Committee Members

Name Sectors represented (as nominated by the candidate, primary sector first)
Scott Waters Joint Chair Noosa Shire Council
Kell Dillon Joint Chair Maritime Safety Queensland
Joanne Daley Recreational boating
Bruce Davidson Recreational Fishing 
Michael Gloster Conservation group, recreational boating
Jane Harris Recreational boating
Nick Hluszko Other – community leader experienced in river issues
Richard Howard NRM group, conservation group
Peter Hunnam NRM group, recreational boating
Chris Massoud Commercial fishing
Phillip Moran NRM Group
Agnes Reed Recreational boating
Lachlan Stevens Commercial boating, Tourism
Richard Wilschke Tourism Sector
Erica Hamp Tourism Sector
Amy Kimber Committee support provided by Noosa Council 

Community members on the committee were selected following publicly advertised selection processes in 2021 and 2022. Noosa Mayor, Clare Stewart and Member for Noosa, Sandy Bolton, were given a standing invitation to attend the NRSAC meetings as observers.

NRSAC Meeting Minutes

# Name Size File Type Download

Terms of Reference

NRSAC Terms of Reference


Media releases/updates

28 October 2021
13 September 2021 
1 July 2021
17 May 2021

MSQ Media Release - Noosa River Speed Limit Review - February 2022


MSQ previously undertook consultation on a proposal to reduce speed limits on the lower Noosa River to 6 knots.

MSQ now plans to undertake further consultation about the safety and amenity of the Noosa River and proposed changes to vessel waterways management practices to reduce congestion.

Community members are encouraged to complete a short survey online via the Queensland Government’s Get involved website up until 13 January 2023.

Noosa Council is proud to have convened the NRSAC with MSQ which has led to this landmark proposal to reduce vessel congestion and pollution on Noosa River.

Status of the Draft Noosa River Plan

The Noosa River Plan is Council’s key strategic document on maintaining the health of the Noosa River. There are many different agencies involved in the management of the Noosa River and some elements within the plan are within Council’s direct control, while for others Council takes an advocacy role on behalf of the local community.

In 2017, Council endorsed a review and update of the previous Noosa River Plan (2004) and a new Draft Noosa River Plan, incorporating a whole of catchment approach to managing the Noosa River system, has been developed. Public consultation on this new Draft Plan occurred in December 2019/January 2020.

This new Draft River Plan is not yet endorsed by Noosa Council and requires further targeted stakeholder engagement before finalisation. A key input to this will be the finalisation of Noosa Council’s Corporate Plan in early 2023.

More information about Noosa River System

Please email for more information