Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef

Further funds for water quality focused programs

Issue:

The health of Queensland's natural resources contributes to the prosperity and productivity of vast grazing and cropping areas, and the quality of water entering catchments, including the Great Barrier Reef. Beef cattle grazing and cropping is the major land use area in the Great Barrier Reef catchment with over 33.7 million hectares grazed across the six catchments draining into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon. 

Sediment loss into watercourses, poor water quality, and loss of agricultural potential as well as weeds and pest animals have imposed significant costs on landholders and governments in the past. Reef science has turned to primary producers as the main area of influence to improve Reef water quality. 

The Grazing and Grains industry is constantly improving our current practices to increase efficiency and productivity, as well as reduce impacts on our natural resource base. The United Nations Educational and Scientific Organisation's decision (UNESCO) to not list the Great Barrier Reef as endangered reflects positively on efforts to date to stabilise soils in reef catchments. Grazing land end of dry season ground cover has exceeded ReefPlan targets every year, according to Reef Report Cards from 2009 to 2016.

AgForce has always maintained that a voluntary industry-led best management practice model is the most appropriate way to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef is protected for the future, and supports real environmental and conservation work undertaken on farms every day.

Solutions that AgForce advocates:
AgForce calls for support for innovative solutions to tackling river catchment threats and fund projects that deliver environmental benefits and increase agricultural productivity:
  • Recognise that landholders in the Great Barrier Reef Catchments manage more land and understand better the responses in soil and vegetation that affect soil movement
  • Without industry support, no system, legislative or voluntary, can achieve real outcomes. It is only by working with industry groups to change practices that improvement to run-off water quality that is desired by all the community can be achieved
  • Adoption of best land management practices can provide co-existence between agricultural and environmental sustainability across the GBR catchments. AgForce seeks that Governments support industry to maintain sustainable agricultural practices in catchments adjacent to the reef.


Great Barrier Reef

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