The Turnbull Government is accelerating efforts to improve the Great Barrier Reef’s water quality by providing further funding of up to $7.1 million to Queensland sugarcane farmers to reduce nitrogen runoff flowing from the Reef catchments.
Runoff from agricultural land in the Reef catchments is a major threat to the health of the Reef. Work to improve water quality is a priority focus of the Turnbull Government as good water quality builds the Reef’s resilience in the face of the impacts of climate change.
This is the second round of funding delivered under the Reef Trust Phase IV Repeated Tenders Project in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin which offers a total of $11.8 million to help sugarcane farmers in these regions reduce the rate of nitrogen fertiliser applied to their crops.
The initiative, delivered as part of the Turnbull Government’s $210 million Reef Trust, is win-win because it not only helps improve the quality of water entering the Reef, but also helps sugarcane farmers reduce their costs.
This funding follows the completion of the first round of funding which will deliver an estimated reduction of more than 140 tonnes of nitrogen from entering the Reef over the next five years.
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch said this builds on the fantastic work done by cane farmers right up the eastern seaboard over the past decades which has seen changes in practices by the sugar industry produce significant improvements in Reef Lagoon water quality.
“While the financial support from the federal government is important, we also need to acknowledge these changes in practice have required significant financial contribution from farmers.
“They have been prepared to wear these additional contributions knowing it has had a positive on the Reef,” Mr Entsch said.
“At the same time, it has also provided farmers with good economic returns through improved sustainable practices.”
Service providers NQ Dry Tropics (Burdekin region) and Terrain NRM (Wet Tropics region) will continue to support the implementation of the tender and manage grant contracts. Interested farmers will bid for funding through a competitive reverse tender.
The second funding round is open to applicants until 29 September 2017.
For more information on the Reef Trust Repeated Tenders – Wet Tropics and Burdekin visit: http://www.environment.gov.au/marine/gbr/reef-trust/repeated-reverse-auctions