$46 million to improve Great Barrier Reef Water Quality

Warren Entsch

Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef

Joint Media Release

17 December 2019

Farmers and organisations in the Townsville and Wide Bay region will have access to $46 million to help tackle water quality in the Lower Herbert, Lower Burdekin and Mary catchments through the Australian Government’s Reef Trust and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The Great Barrier Reef Foundation is coordinating the latest round of Water Quality Grants to reduce pollutants entering the waters that surround the Reef and to support its unique ecosystem which is home to thousands of species of marine life, including fish, whales, dolphins, and six of the world’s seven species of marine turtle.

The Foundation is inviting cost-effective solutions such as agriculture practice change and landscape remediation to substantially reduce the amount of pollutants from these priority catchments.

Sixteen million dollars has been made available for the Lower Herbert catchment, more than $20 million for the Lower Burdekin catchment and more than $9 million available in the Mary catchment.

Prioritisation Reef catchments funding has been informed by detailed technical assessments to identify the most cost-effective allocations consistent with the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.

This is the second tranche of funding available through the $141 million regionally focused water quality improvement program under the Reef Trust Partnership. The next round will open early next year.

In addition to the regional programs, $10 million in grants has been allocated to innovative new approaches to improving water quality. The grants are open to all Reef catchments and applications are currently being accepted.

Earlier this year $19 million was invested through the Reef Trust Partnership for 11 projects with at proven track record of improving Great Barrier Reef water quality.

These projects include agronomic solutions provider Farmacist’s Project Bluewater that is on track to reduce pesticides in the Plane Creek and Lower Burdekin catchments by 6,000 kilograms next year.

Greening Australia’s Gully remediation project at Strathalbyn station is also on track to reduce the amount of sediment discharging to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon through the Lower Burdekin catchment by 3,200 tonnes a year.

Expressions of Interest are open now and will close on Wednesday 26th February 2020, with an information session for potential delivery providers to be held on Wednesday 29th January 2020.

A separate request for proposal has also been issued for professional services related to program management and partnership coordination for these regional programs. More information is available on the Foundation’s website.

Minister for the Environment