New farm pollution laws vital to the health of the Great Barrier Reef have crossed a key milestone, but can’t come soon enough for the marine icon, says the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS).
The Queensland Government’s Innovation, Tourism Development and Environment Committee has recommended that proposed laws to cut pollution running into the Reef’s catchments be passed.
Dr Lissa Schindler, AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign manager, said: “The health of the Great Barrier Reef is absolutely crucial to Queenslanders and the state’s economy. The Reef urgently needs these laws. There is no more time to wait.
“Sediment and chemical runoff from farms is a major threat to inshore coral reefs and seagrass meadows in our Great Barrier Reef. If the reef is going to have a fighting chance against climate change, then it needs cleaner water.”
Schindler said the laws would give the Queensland government the power to set standards on farming practices to cut pollution.
She added: “The rate of progress in achieving improved water quality in the Great Barrier Reef has been slow and underlines the importance of the forthcoming Reef regulations to make transformational change for our most loved natural asset.”
“The Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Science Taskforce recommended that these regulations be implemented back in 2016. The government needs to pass these laws quickly through parliament and get them implemented on the ground.”
Nick Heath, president of AMCS, Australia’s peak marine conservation group, gave evidence to the committee during a round of hearings.