THE quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef catchment in Cape York is set to improve with a $2.2 million funding boost from the Government under the Reef Rescue – Water Quality Grants programme.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch will today announce that the funding will be provided to the Cape York region over the next three years.
“Cape York Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Cape York Sustainable Futures (CYSF) will work together with local land managers to promote sustainable and innovative land management practices,” Mr Entsch said.
“These two organisations have a depth and breadth of knowledge of Cape York’s natural environment that is second to none and I have no doubt that they will drive this programme very effectively.
“The improved management practices will not only improve the water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, but also benefit our farmers through efficiencies in fertiliser and pesticide use, reduced costs and increased productivity.”
Mr Entsch said it was important to recognise that farmers are providing their own time and funding to deliver outcomes for the Reef, and improvements are being made.
“I congratulate our farmers who are making an incredible contribution in this area,” he said.
“The Great Barrier Reef is one of Australia’s great natural wonders and ongoing measures to protecting it for the future are vital. As well as being a natural marvel, the reef plays a central role in the Far North Queensland economy, generating significant business and tourism.”
Improving the quality of water entering the reef catchment from coastal catchments is critical to the long-term health of the Great Barrier Reef.
“This funding, in addition to existing reef protection measures, enables land managers to implement improved practices that reduce sediment, nutrient and pesticide run-off into the Great Barrier Reef catchment in Cape York,” Mr Entsch said.
“Nutrient run-off is one of the major causes of declining coral cover and marine health of the Great Barrier Reef. Improving the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef will have a major impact on the health of the reef – everyone wants to see the reef remain one of the most biologically diverse places on the planet so it can be enjoyed by future generations.
“The Government has a long-term strategy to help protect the Great Barrier Reef. That’s why we’re implementing important initiatives such as our Reef 2050 Plan, Reef Trust, and funding vital projects such as Crown of Thorns Starfish eradication and the Gladstone Healthy Harbours Partnership.
“The government has committed $140 million through our reef programme over the next five years to improve the quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and enhance the reef’s resilience.”