Abstract: Under a funding agreement contributed to by four Commonwealth Agencies and the State of Queensland, TSIRC was the proponent of and project managed the delivery of a $23.8M coastal defence project. The project effectively created at perimeter defence around the Saibai community from extreme tidal and storm impacts, and with provision to counter future sea level rise impacts. Additional works were undertaken at Boigu Island to improve seawall and bund wall integrity, in the first stage of the overall coastal defence works. Under a separate funding arrangement, coastal erosion protection works were undertaken by TSIRC staff with support from local indigenous persons at Poruma Island in 2018. Additional works on these and other islands are currently in the planning and design phase. This paper explores the threats and reviews the process that TSIRC has undertaken over the last few years to develop a positive way forward for these communities. It considers the roles and need for various expertise that was drawn into the work, including planners, community leaders, coastal engineers, council staff, agencies and contractors. It is hoped that the paper will lay bare how well-intentioned decisions in the past have led to issues today and highlight the way an integrated approach backed by government agencies can lead to good outcome.