Aus Government’s $30m investment for water quality is good news for Reef

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the Australian Government’s $30m funding announcement to address pollution from land-based run-off.

“We welcome the government’s investment in innovative projects to reduce the impacts of chemical and sediment pollution entering the Reef,” said Jaimi Webster, the AMCS GBR Water Quality Manager.

Inshore ecosystems, such as seagrass meadows on which threatened dugongs and turtles depend, have been severely degraded by sediment and nutrient pollution. Poor water quality from fertiliser and sediment pollution has been devastating the Reef for decades, sediment and algal blooms (caused by nitrogen rich run-off) is smothering our seagrass, putting dugongs and other wildlife at risk of starvation.

Reef protection regulations were introduced in 2019 by the Queensland government to reduce chemical and sediment run-off from agricultural activities in the Reef catchments.

“The work the farmers and graziers are doing to improve water quality and comply with the new regulations will go a long way to giving the Reef the clean water it needs,” Ms Webster said.

The most recently published Reef Report Card has shown progress on water pollution targets and management actions is too slow:

  • The overall inshore marine condition received a ‘D’ based on water quality, seagrass and coral health.
  • Sugarcane received a ‘E’ with 12.7% at best practice and grazing received a ‘D’ with 36.2% at best practice, both industries are aiming for targets of 90% at best practice by 2025.

While important gains have been made in tackling some pollutants there is still a lot of work to be done to clean up our Reef’s waters, so this $30m is a welcome investment in supporting innovative projects that will contribute to meeting the targets,” said Ms Webster.

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