Funding to the reef rescue

By Paul Hemsley

Reef Rescue will manage the government’s $38 million grant to improve water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Minister for Environment Tony Burke said Reef Rescue aims to reduce nutrient and chemical run-off from agricultural lands by 25 per cent, and sediment and particulate nutrient run-off by 10 per cent.

“Reef Rescue supports the work already being done by farmers and land managers to improve environmental outcomes for the Reef,” Mr Burke said.

Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig said the grant brings the Australian Government’s total investment in this component of Reef Rescue to $158 million.

According to Mr Ludwig, an additional 2300 land managers will receive water quality grants and partnerships to the original 2000 land managers who have already received their grants.

“This is in addition to the more than 3600 farmers and pastoralists already engaged in farm planning and risk assessment activities,” Mr Ludwig said.

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Dr Mike Kelly said the funding was delivered through a partnership between the Australian Government, regional natural resource management organisations and agricultural industry peak bodies.

Department of Sustainability Director of Queensland Coast and Aquatic Section Peter Cotsell said in terms of procurement, there is a set of targets and objectives for the program to engage a set of land managers and programs to undertake activities to improve management.

“The way that it’s administered is largely through a devolved grants program with natural resource management bodies,” Mr Cotsell said.

According to Mr Cotsell, local governments do not provide any funding at this stage and there is no direct involvement.

“The regions do have close relationships with local government, they might use them for the planning mechanisms but largely the responsibility goes to the regional management,” Mr Cotsell said.

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