Improving the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef is a critical area for investment for the Australian Government – and we’re already making strong progress.
We are tackling this challenge from a range of angles – including working directly with farmers.
Over the next decade the Federal and Queensland governments will invest around $2 billion to protect the reef.
Just last week, the government called for applications for grants under the $5 million Reef Trust Tender—Wet Tropics programme.
The Wet Tropics programme is just one of the ways we are helping farmers help the reef by improving their land management practices, particularly their use of fertilisers.
In partnership with other agencies, industry and communities we are making strong progress in reducing the runoff of pesticides from sugarcane and horticulture into the reef catchment.
There is still work to be done, but the combined 2012 and 2013 Reef Plan Report Card reported that 59 per cent of the horticulture producers and 49 per cent of sugarcane growers – the major users of pesticides – were already improving their land practices.
And the average pollutant loads entering the reef had reduced by 10 per cent for nitrogen, 11 per cent for sediment and 28 per cent for pesticides.
We’re also taking a very significant step to protect the reef by banning the dumping of capital dredge material in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
We are ending a century-old practice that was fully embraced by Labor Governments at federal and state level. Labor had the chance to do this but did nothing.
We inherited five major proposals from Labor to dispose of dredge spoil in the Marine Park. We have reduced this to zero and are now taking the next step to enshrine a ban in law.
We will continue to work together with our partners on the vital task of protecting the Great Barrier Reef for generations to come.