Extra funding to help improve Reef health

The Palaszczuk Government is supporting farmers to help reduce run-off flowing into the Great Barrier Reef, through a new $1 million funding program.

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said this funding for banana growers would help them to meet the requirements of the proposed Reef regulations.

“The Palaszczuk Government is committed to protecting and preserving the Great Barrier Reef and this new funding will help banana farmers reduce run-off,” Ms Enoch said.

“This extra $1 million in funding will further support banana farmers to build or upgrade infrastructure, and provide extension support to undertake on-farm projects, that will help reduce sediment and nutrient run-off.”

Minister Enoch said the latest science, with the release of the Reef’s Outlook Report and the Water Quality Report Card, showed that water quality was a major threat to the Great Barrier Reef.

“This is why the Palaszczuk Government is taking action, through legislation that has been introduced in Queensland Parliament, to help accelerate the uptake of practices that will help improve water quality.

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the banana industry had already been working very hard to voluntarily meet the minimum standards to help improve water quality.

“We saw in the latest Reef Water Quality Report Card that more than 64% of land under bananas is operated in accordance with best practice, which is a great result,” he said.

“This further funding will work hand-in-hand with the Banana Best Management Practice program to support growers and encourage them to meet and surpass the minimum standards.”

Minister Enoch said since 2012 the Government had invested more than $110 million to help the agricultural sector improve water quality in the Great Barrier Reef.

“And since 2014, $2.1 million has been invested in the industry-led Banana Best Management Practice program, developed and delivered by the Australian Banana Growers Council (ABGC) to support best practice across the industry whilst also contributing to improved reef health.

“Through this program, growers can access incentive funding for on-farm projects that reduce sediment and nutrient run-off in our reef regions.

“This includes sediment basins, contour banks, waterway/drainage upgrades or constructed wetlands.

“I encourage banana growers in the Wet Tropics and Cape York regions to take advantage of these incentives.”

Chair of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, Stephen Lowe, welcomed funding to support growers’ ongoing efforts to make on-farm change that improves productivity and benefits the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

“As a grower, I know that supporting industry to implement Best Practice Management is the most effective way to ensure improved water quality.

Already, more than 90% of the banana industry has assessed their own environmental practices.

“The implementation of cultural and practice change can be both daunting and costly and this additional funding, when coupled with strategic extension, will enable growers to continue making real improvements.”

Minister Enoch said the proposed reef regulations that are currently before Queensland Parliament are a result of the recommendations of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce.

“We know there are farmers doing great work to reduce run-off, but we need to accelerate this action, while also ensuring farmers can improve profitability and productivity.

“This is exactly what our laws will help achieve.”

Funding will be available until June 2022.

/Public Release. View in full here.