Reef Credit scheme a positive step forward on water quality

The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed the Palaszczuk government’s funding announcement for tackling water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

The $10m for a Reef Credits scheme will aim to reward farmers for not polluting waters which flow into our Reef.

David Cazzulino, Great Barrier Reef campaigner at AMCS said: “We welcome this investment in supporting the reduction of pollution flowing into the Reef and damaging inshore habitats.

“We are looking forward to learning more about how the scheme will work and how accessible it will be for farmers.

“We encourage all political parties to commit further funding to improve Reef water quality and support farmers in achieving the minimum farming standards of the science-based reef regulations, which are based on industry best practice.”

As AMCS highlighted earlier this week, Labor has committed to investing $340 million until July 2022 to meet water quality targets aimed at reducing pollution and sediment running into the Reef’s waters. However there is no clear commitment on the amount of funding after this point.

The LNP has not committed any future funding to date for the Reef, and will introduce new Reef standards, instead of the current Reef regulations. It is unclear if these new standards will meet the requirements of the Water Quality Targets outlined in the Reef 2050 Plan, which is the main plan for managing the Reef into the future.

“The reef regulations are incredibly important for protecting threatened inshore reef wildlife like dugongs, turtles and inshore dolphins. Runoff has also been shown to lead to damaging plagues of Crown of Thorns Starfish which devour coral,” added Mr Cazzulino.

“As our Reef and its wildlife face pressure from global heating, it is so important we tackle water quality issues to give our Reef and the tourism industry that relies on it a fighting chance.”

The $10 million Reef Credit scheme is part of a $40 million package announced by the Palaszczuk government to protect the state environmental assets. AMCS welcomed the $10 million Reef Assist program when it was first announced in July.

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