Outcome 1 – Improving the quality of water entering the Reef from broad-scale land use to increase the health and resilience of the Reef
Improving water quality in the Reef is a significant, system-wide challenge. The largest contributor to poor water quality is nutrient, sediment and pesticide run-off from broad-scale agriculture. The Reef Trust has focused its Reef water quality improvement effort on working with agricultural land managers to support voluntary practice change which leads to improvements in water quality and a reduction of farm costs. Reef Trust on-ground projects focus on improving grazing practices, improving fertiliser-use efficiency, gully and streambank remediation, erosion prevention and reducing pollutant run-off.
On-ground projects are delivered in partnership with others, including the Queensland Government, natural resources management organisations, and peak bodies such as the Queensland Farmers’ Federation and Canegrowers to provide farmers with on farm support, including direct support through agricultural extension. The success of this approach is shown through the high level of engagement of farmers and their achievements through Australian Government Reef projects.
Reef Trust projects targeting Outcome 1 include:
Supporting sugarcane farmers to improve fertiliser use efficiency (Phase VI)
The Australian Government is providing $3.38 million over four years (2018-19 – 2021-22), complementing $3.7 million from the Queensland Government, to help sugarcane farmers improve their fertiliser use efficiency. The Complete Nutrient Management Planning for Cane Farming project (RP161C), delivered by the Queensland Department of Environment and Science, aims to increase the profitability of participating farmers, while minimising nitrogen pollution run-off entering the Reef.
Learn more about the project at: RP161C Complete Nutrient Management Planning for Cane Farming.
Supporting cane farmers to move beyond industry best practice (Phase V)
The Australian Government is providing $4.5 million over six years (2016-17 – 2021-22) to support an estimated $12.8 million investment by the sugar-cane industry to improve on-farm nutrient management and improve the quality of water entering the Reef. Project Uplift Farming Systems Initiative, led by sugar milling company MSF Sugar, is assisting farming groups to transition to more efficient farming systems, including controlled traffic, minimum tillage, trash blanketing and legume rotation crops.
Learn more about the project on the MSF Sugar website and MERIT.
Trialling and uptake of Enhanced Efficiency Fertilisers (Phase IV)
The Australian and Queensland governments are providing $7.1 million over five years (2016-17 – 2020-21) to support on-farm trialing of enhanced efficiency fertilisers across all cane growing regions of the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
The new generation of fertilisers can better control the release of nutrients to match crop requirements, potentially increasing cane yields and thereby increasing farm productivity and profitability.
Sixty trials are being conducted over three cane growing seasons, where growers have received assistance to develop nutrient management plans. Sugar Research Australia, the cane industry’s leading research organisation, are supervising the trials, and impacts of the project are being evaluated on both the profitability of the farms and on the quality of water leaving farms.
Learn more about the project at: Nutrient management.
Repeated auctions to reduced nitrogen losses to the Reef (Phase IV)
The Australian Government is providing more than $12 million over six years (2016-17 – 2021-22) to support and work in partnership with Queensland sugarcane farmers to use fertiliser more efficiently.
The Repeated Tenders – Wet Tropics and Burdekin project is engaging farmers in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin natural resource management regions to improve their nitrogen fertiliser and farm management practices, to boost productivity and improve the quality of water flowing into the Reef lagoon. The 2017 Scientific Consensus Statement identified the Wet Tropics and the Burdekin regions as the highest priority areas contributing to impacts on Reef water quality from surplus dissolved inorganic nitrogen resulting from intensive agriculture.
The project is providing flexibility for farmers to identify those nitrogen improvement activities that best suit their circumstances and cost-effective means of implementing these activities. Farmers submitted applications for funding over three rounds undertaken between 2016 and 2018.
This investment builds on previous pilot rounds in the Wet Tropics (Phase I) and Burdekin (Phase II).
Learn more about the Reef Trust Repeated Tenders in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions.
Reef Trust tender— Burdekin (Phase II)
The Australian Government provided $2.7 million (2015-16 – 2017-18) to cane growers in the Burdekin natural resource management region to reduce the amount of nitrogen applied to their farms and improve their irrigation management practices. The pilot project was designed to address the perceived risk for farmers who committed to applying less nitrogen to their crop. The project has helped Burdekin sugarcane growers to reduce the amount of nitrogen they apply to crops by more than 700 tonnes, lowering the risk of nutrient contamination on the Great Barrier Reef.
Learn more about the successful outcomes of the project at: Reef Trust Tenders – Burdekin project.
Reef Trust tender—Wet Tropics (Phase I)
The Australian Government provided more than $1.4 million (2014-15 – 2017-18) to sugar cane farmers in the Wet Tropics natural resource management region to improve their nitrogen use efficiency and farm sustainability. The pilot project resulted in approximately 86 tonnes less nitrogen fertiliser applied to the 22 participating farms. The benefits of the project are expected to extend well beyond the project period, including demonstrating best and innovative practices across the industry.
Learn more about the project at: Reef Trust Tender - Wet Tropics.
Gully and stream bank erosion control (Phase IV)
The Australian Government is providing more than $29 million over six years (2016-17 – 2021-22) to reduce sediment loss in priority regions through the Reef Trust Gully and Stream Bank Erosion Control Program.
Gully and stream bank erosion are naturally occurring processes; however, with changes to land-use, grazing, cane production and mining, there has been a significant increase in erosion across the landscape alongside the Great Barrier Reef. This has seen an increase in sediment and nutrient run-off into the Reef. As a result of historical land-use change, there have been significant losses and modifications to terrestrial habitats such as wetlands, mangroves and riparian areas that support the Great Barrier Reef and provide habitat and vital ecosystem processes.
The nine projects funded under the program, target some of the highest risk areas of erosion and sediment loss in the Burnett Mary, Mackay Whitsunday, Burdekin, Fitzroy, Wet Tropics and Cape York regions. These projects are being delivered in partnership with private landholders, under the technical scientific advice of the CSIRO.
The program builds on previous efforts by the Australian Government to address this threat through the Reef Trust Phase II Gully Erosion Control Pilot Program and is part of the Great Barrier Reef Gully and Stream Bank Joint Program with the Queensland Government.
The program is continuing to build our knowledge of erosion control and sediment management through specific site monitoring and evaluation of erosion control techniques. Continuous improvements in gully and stream bank erosion will build landholders’ abilities to control erosion and manage sediment in the future. A Gully and Stream Bank Toolbox has been developed for this purpose.
Gully Erosion Control Pilot Program (Phase II)
The Australian Government provided $7.9 million (2015-16 – 2018-19) to target sediment reduction in areas of high-density gullies in the Burnett Mary, Fitzroy, Burdekin and Cape York natural resource management regions. The Phase II Gully Erosion Control Pilot Program supported and trialed a selection of gully erosion control activities using low cost techniques, such as the revegetation of gully habitat, the erection of fencing and building minor structures to protect key areas and reduce sediment runoff. These activities are expected to deliver a reduction in fine sediment export to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon of more than 5,000 tonnes per year.
The CSIRO Technical findings and outcomes from the Reef Trust Gully Erosion Control Program provides a summary of the program.
Reef Alliance – Growing a Great Barrier Reef (Phase III)
The Australian Government provided $45.7 million (2014-15 – 2018-19) to target the reduction of pollutants and sediment across all Great Barrier Reef catchments. The project, coordinated by the Queensland Farmers' Federation Ltd, has improved water quality across the Reef by enabling landholders to change practices across the cane, grazing, dairy, horticulture, bananas, grains and cropping industries. Delivered by an integrated Great Barrier Reef wide consortium of farmers, graziers, Natural Resource Management organisations and industry groups, the project has maintained and strengthened links between Reef programs, regions and industry Best Management Practice. The project has achieved significant Reef outcomes while ensuring profitable productive agricultural landscapes. At its conclusion, more than 1100 farming enterprises across almost 1.8 million hectares of land had recorded management practice change, leading to a significant reduction in sediment, dissolved inorganic nitrogen and other pollutants.
Learn more about the project at: What is the Reef Alliance: Growing a Great Barrier Reef Project?.
Project Catalyst Revamp - game changing farm management practices (Phase III)
The Australian Government provided $3 million (2014-15 – 2018-19) to implement a pathway to rapid adoption of enhanced management practices in the cane industry to improve Great Barrier Reef water quality. The project, delivered by Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsunday Isaac) Ltd, built on an earlier grower-led innovation project, to enhance the adoption of improved practices and maximise environmental and production benefits. Hundreds of sugar cane growers in the Wet Tropics, Burdekin and Mackay Whitsunday regions were involved in the project, which focused on improving nutrient and chemical management. The project incorporated global sugar cane sustainability and certification systems.
Learn more about the project at: Project Catalyst.
Mackay Whitsunday Isaac Sustainable Agriculture Cane (Phase III)
The Australian Government provided $4.4 million (2014-15 – 2018-19) to reduce nutrient and pesticide loads impacting on the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and facilitate the adoption of best management practice in cane growing in the Mackay Whitsunday region. The project, delivered by Reef Catchments (Mackay Whitsunday Isaac), has assisted 244 growers, farming 35,587 ha of cane land, to make improvements to how they manage fertiliser and herbicide application.
Learn more about the project at: Reef Trust III farmer case studies .
Project Pioneer: Innovation in Grazing Land Management (Phase III)
The Australian Government provided $2.9 million (2014-15 – 2018-19) to support adoption of best management grazing practices to help reduce sediment entering the Great Barrier Reef. The project, delivered by Resource Consulting Services Pty Ltd, has helped more than 100 family grazing businesses throughout the Great Barrier Reef catchment so safely and profitably transition to regenerative land and business management practices.
Learn more about the project at: Project Pioneer Producer Stories.
Promotion of A-class grazing management practice (Phase I)
Delivered in partnership with the Queensland Government, this project provided $3 million (2014-15 – 2016-17) to graziers in the Fitzroy and Burdekin natural resource management regions to enhance their productivity and profitability while reducing their impact on the environment.
Using a holistic approach, participants’ business management skills and capacity were improved through a tailored framework of training, mentoring and support from industry top performers. This has led to the adoption of best management practices that minimise sediment run-off into the Reef.
Their journey has been documented and shared with the broader grazing industry and reef community to demonstrate that improved grazing practices won’t damage productivity but will improve the health and resilience of the Reef.
Learn more about the project (also known as Reef Trust 1 – Saving our soils) on the Queensland Government website and MERIT.
Broadscale adaption of 'Tried and Tested' innovative precision agriculture techniques for improved use of nutrient, water and pesticide
The Australian Government is providing $4.1 million to NQ Dry Tropics (2020-21 – 2022-23) to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef.
In the Burdekin region, sugarcane growers will be supported to effectively use technical equipment, software and extension services to improve grower profitability, reportability, and water quality. For example, growers will be provided with technical support to help use existing machinery more effectively, such as GPS systems resulting in improved accuracy and precision of nutrient, pesticide and tillage operations.
Streambank remediation in the Burdekin catchment
The Australian Government is providing $2.9 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to NQ Dry Tropics to contribute to protecting the Outstanding Universal Values of the Great Barrier Reef by addressing the impact of poor water quality entering the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The project will repair priority eroding streambanks within the Burdekin catchment, subsequently reducing the amount of fine sediment, particulate nitrogen and particulate phosphorus reaching the Great Barrier Reef. Remediation activities will include large engineering works to stabilise riverbanks and fencing and planting to restore riparian revegetation.
Mobilising the Murray and Mossman: an integrated place-based program delivering the step-change that is needed for the Reef
The Australian Government is providing over $5.6 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to Terrain NRM to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef.
This project will focus on the Wet Tropics, with work in the Murray and Mossman river basins aimed to maximise land management practice change that delivers both water quality outcomes and productivity gains through an integrated program of works. A range of interventions, incentives and areas of support will be delivered through the project, tailored to the needs, context, opportunities and constraints of these areas and communities. There will be a strong focus on supporting the cane industry to develop farm plans that aim to improve management practices while delivering water quality improvements. This could include matching fertiliser use more precisely to crop requirements and improving soil condition. This will enhance farm efficiency, productivity and sustainability.
Targeted support to maximise soil, biodiversity and vegetation outcomes in the O'Connell and Proserpine basins of the Mackay Whitsunday NRM region
The Australian Government is providing $5.4 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to Reef Catchments to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef.
This project will engage cane farmers in the O'Connell and Proserpine catchments to implement more efficient and sustainable farming practices to increase productivity and reduce fertiliser runoff to the Reef. The project will also address streambank erosion and support farmers to improve the condition of grazing land to reduce fine sediment loads entering the Great Barrier Reef from the O'Connell Basin.
Water quality and soil improvements in grazing and cropping enterprises in the Fitzroy
The Australian Government is providing $5.7 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to the Fitzroy Basin Association to reduce fine sediment loads from the Fitzroy basin entering the Great Barrier Reef and improve soil health of agricultural lands through positive landholder practice change and cost-effective on-ground works.
The project will engage grain growers and graziers in sub-catchments of the Fitzroy basin (a high priority for sediment reduction under the Reef 2050 Water Quality improvement Plan) to help meet the plan’s fine sediment target. This project will increase the widespread adoption of sustainable grazing management practices that maintain productivity and profitability to improve soil health of agricultural lands through positive landholder practice change and cost-effective on-ground works. For example, training and extension support will be coupled with the use of tools such as forage reports, mapping, land and soil health monitoring, property planning and business management, to increase landholder’s knowledge and skills for improved agricultural business and water quality outcomes. Implementing these actions will reduce the fine sediment loads from the Fitzroy basin entering the waterways which will improve health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.
Improving land management practices and water quality in the Burnett River catchment
The Australian Government is providing up to $6.1 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to Burnett Mary NRM to improve the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef.
This project will focus on the upper Burnett River area, which is the seventh most polluting reef catchment for fine sediments. Large scale restoration of riparian areas will be undertaken to reduce streambank erosion and fine sediment loads. The project will actively involve Traditional Owners and other stakeholders in project design and delivery of activities, including revegetation, fencing, management of weeds of national significance and feral animals and monitoring. Landholder stock management will be improved by installing fencing and off stream watering points. Weed and pest management plans will also be implemented to assist Traditional Owners and landholders to adopt best practice management of these threats. Implementing these actions will help support landholders while reducing the amount of fine sediment loads from the Burnett River catchment entering the waterways to improve health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.
Outcome 2 – Improve the health and resilience of coastal habitats:
Since European settlement there has been significant loss and modification to terrestrial habitats, such as wetlands mangroves and riparian areas that support the Reef and provide habitat and vital ecosystem processes. More severe and frequent cyclones and other extreme weather events are undermining the natural resilience of the Reef and coastal ecosystems.
The Reef Trust focuses on improving ecosystem functioning, ecosystem goods and services and the resilience of these ecosystems. Investments help to improve the connectivity of waterways and restore, rehabilitate and regenerate coastal habitats. Through engagement with the landcare community, Indigenous groups, landholders, fishers and other land and sea managers, improved ecosystem services and coastal habitats will support a more resilient Reef.
Reef Trust projects targeting Outcome 2 include:
Restoration and conservation of island ecosystems (Phase VI)
The Australian Government is providing $5 million over five years (2018-19 – 2022-23) for on-ground restoration and conservation of island ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef. The government’s contribution will be matched with $5 million from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, raised from private donations.
Learn more about the project at: Reef Islands.
Coastal habitat and wetland rehabilitation (Phase V)
The Australian Government is providing $5 million over five years (2016-17 – 2020-21) to Greening Australia to restore priority wetlands along coastal areas of the Great Barrier Reef. Greening Australia will match this funding dollar-for-dollar with funds raised through their Reef Aid campaign, bringing the total combined investment in the project to $10 million over five years. This project will restore priority wetland sites adjacent to the Reef and take a whole-of-systems repair approach to identify and deliver solutions to re-establish ecological processes, improve ecosystem connectivity, and enhance nutrient assimilation and sediment trapping.
Learn more about the project at: Wetland Restoration.
Coastal habitat and wetland rehabilitation (Phase III)
Coastal habitats, including wetlands, floodplains and saltmarshes are vital to the health of the Great Barrier Reef. They connect freshwater and marine habitats, slow overland water flow and trap sediments and nutrients.
In partnership with Greening Australia, Birdlife Australia, Conservation Volunteers Australia and Wetland Care Australia, this project undertook to restore and repair priority wetland areas along the Great Barrier Reef coast near Ingham (Mungalla / Mandam Wetlands), Townsville (Lower Burdekin Wetlands) and Mackay (reef catchment NRM region).
The Australian Government provided funding of $2 million (2015-16 – 2018-19) matched dollar for dollar with funds raised by Greening Australia and its partners from the private sector. The project was delivered in collaboration with natural resource management regions, landholders, Indigenous groups, science and community organisations.
Learn more about the project at the Greening Australia website and MERIT.
From the Land to the Sea: Improving the health of Coastal Ecosystems
The Australian Government is providing $3.8 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to improve the health of coastal ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef catchment: Black, Haughton and Don catchments.
The project, delivered by NQ Dry Tropics, aims to improve the health of coastal ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef catchment: Black, Haughton and Don catchments. These ecosystems have been selected based on high environmental and social values, including habitat connectivity to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, wetlands of national importance and an internationally important Ramsar wetland.
The project will address key threats to riparian vegetation composition and structure and fish connectivity. Community awareness activities will focus on the impact of recreational activities on threatened or vulnerable coastal species adjacent to the identified riparian ecosystems.
The project will adopt a collaborative approach by engaging with a suite of stakeholders and community members. Regular monitoring will be conducted and progress outcomes communicated to ensure stakeholders are well-informed of project progress.
Catchments to Coral - GBR Coastal ecosystems and species protection on Cape York
The Australian Government is providing $5.2 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to Cape York NRM to improve the health of coastal ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef catchment. The project is partnering with local land management groups to:
- identify threatened ecological values or services they aspire to protect/restore; support the implementation of priority, strategic and targeted threat abatement actions; and
- build community capacity for sustainable management of significant coastal habitat beyond the life of the project.
The initial investment will focus on supporting regional growth in the northern and central catchments, where there has been little investment in the past, through direct employment on Country.
Fish Homes and Highways: Restoring and protecting fish nursery and pathway values of the Murray & Lower Herbert Coastal Ecosystem
The Australian Government is providing $5 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to Terrain NRM to restore and protect the nationally-significant coastal ecosystem values of the Murray and Lower Herbert Basins by addressing key threats to connectivity and wetland health.
The project will maximise benefits flowing to communities, including Traditional Owners, strengthening stewardship and partnerships that will sustain outcomes beyond the timeframe of the project.
High priority coastal and island restoration for the protection of threatened ecological communities and species
The Australian Government is providing over $3.7 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to Reef Catchments to improve the health of coastal ecosystems in the Great Barrier Reef catchment.
This is being accomplished through establishing island arks, protecting keystone species such as diadromous fish and marine turtles, and restoring important parts of the catchment such as wetlands and Threatened Ecological Communities.
Regional prioritisation processes have identified the following as important project objectives to help protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef and to protect biodiversity in the Mackay Whitsunday Isaac region:
- improve ecological function and condition of the Sandringham wetland complex
- improve the condition of the two threatened ecological communities
- improve turtle nesting and hatchling success
- enhance the ecological condition of Bushy Island through the creation of an island ark
- the remediation of significant barriers to fish passage through fishway construction
The above will be achieved in partnership with Traditional Owners, the wider community and regional stakeholders.
Protecting and enhancing high value coastal ecosystems across central Queensland
The Australian Government is providing over $4 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to the Fitzroy Basin Association to protect and enhance high value coastal ecosystems across the Capricorn and Curtis Coasts and adjacent inland areas of Central Queensland.
The project will cover more than 400,000 hectares and focus on supporting the Outstanding Universal Values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The project will also contribute to Reef Trust coastal habitat and marine biodiversity outcomes, and to Regional Land Partnerships Ramsar, threatened species and ecological communities’ outcomes.
Project activities include feral pig and fox control, weed control, marine turtle nest protection, marine debris collection, erosion control and fish barrier remediation. The project activities will be implemented in partnership with qualified local contractors, landholders, community groups, traditional owners and volunteers.
Integrated Habitat Restoration for the Discovery Coast
The Australian Government is providing over $3.8 million (2020-21 – 2022-23) to Burnett Mary NRM to address threatening processes to key environmental values in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area by delivering actions such as:
- improving the hydrology in the Rodd’s Harbour Fish Habitat Area
- threat abatement activities to support Threatened Ecological Community condition including control of weeds of national significance and feral pigs.
- large-scale shoreline rehabilitation of a high priority Discovery Coast erosion site to reduce sediment loss.
- mitigation against feminisation of marine turtle hatchlings through the strategic use of predator exclusion structures in Discovery Coast nesting beaches
- providing protection for marine turtle nests against fox predation in Discovery Coast nesting beaches
- the establishment of a detailed monitoring program to measure water quality, and conduct fauna surveys, to support these activities and build traditional owner capacity.
Reef Islands Restoration
The Australian Government is providing up to $5.5 million to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to restore the ecology degraded Morris Island (located off the Lockhart River in Cape York) and provide critical habitat for breeding seabirds; and restore Pisonia forests on islands in the northern and far northern Great Barrier Reef.
Restoration activities will include: removing non-native vegetation and introduced pests, and re-establishing habitat.
Future Coral Bleaching and Summer Reef Health Assessment
The Australian Government is providing $1.95 million to the Great Barrier Reef Management Park Authority to enable the direct monitoring and assessment of the extent of any coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef during the 2020-21, 2021-22 and 2022-23 summers using aerial surveys. In parallel with the annual bleaching surveys, the GBRMPA will undertake trialing of alternative technologies to assess broad scale and finer scale coral bleaching and cyclone damage as it progresses through summer. These alternative technologies may include the use of aerial long-range drones or underwater remotely operated vehicles and satellite imagery.
In-water surveys may be undertaken to ground-truth Reef health observations with remote sensing data or modelled impacts. Coral larvae settlement assessments may be conducted to help understand coral recruitment and reef recovery potential at a small number of targeted locations.
Outcome 3 – Improve and protect marine biodiversity, including the reduction of crown-of-thorns starfish and the protection of listed threatened and migratory species such as dugongs and marine turtles
The Great Barrier Reef region supports numerous species listed as migratory under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including Dugong and marine turtles. These species are subject to many pressures within and outside the Great Barrier Reef. Tackling human pressures, such as illegal poaching and marine debris, is key to helping these species recover.
Actions to achieve this outcome include marine debris clean-up activities, turtle rehabilitation, investigations into illegal killing, poaching and transportation of Dugong and turtle meat, and working closely with Traditional Owners in the Great Barrier Reef catchments.
Outbreaks of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish are one of the major sources of coral mortality across the Reef. The increase in Crown-of-Thorns Starfish outbreaks is thought to be linked to nutrient run-off from central and northern reef catchments. Alongside reductions in nutrients, the Reef Trust builds on ongoing efforts to eliminate crown-of-thorns starfish, boosting the tourism industry’s ability to protect high value tourist sites.
Reef Trust projects targeting Outcome 3 include:
Clean up and prevention of marine debris (Phase VI)
The Australian Government is providing $5 million over five years (2018-19 – 2022-23) to Tangaroa Blue Foundation to coordinate clean-up activities and deliver actions to prevent litter from entering Great Barrier Reef waterways. Marine debris is a significant risk to Reef ecosystems and wildlife including turtles, dugongs, corals and seabirds.
Learn more about the project at: Tangaroa Blue Foundation .
Marine debris clean up (Phase I)
The Australian Government provided $700,000 (2014-15 - 2015-16) to clean up marine debris across the Great Barrier Reef.
Marine debris can originate from both the land and sea, with some containing toxic substances or pest species of animal and plants. Common items include plastic bags, bottles, drink cans and fishing gear.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority coordinated clean-up activities along the Queensland coastline. Community groups conducted clean up events to raise funds and awareness about the problems associated with marine pollution and to inform the general public with knowledge to reduce the source and occurrence of marine debris.
Volunteers included local fishers, farmers, local business, schools, Indigenous rangers, Traditional Owners and tourism operators.
The type of rubbish volunteers collected included plastic, ropes, nets, boat hulls and tyres. Delivery partners, Australian Marine Debris Initiative, Tangaroa Blue Foundation and Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc, assisted with the on-ground removal of the collected debris, which amounted to approximately 30 tonnes.
Reef Guardian Councils organised free rubbish tip days in Reef catchment communities to discourage illegal dumping of rubbish that might wash up on beaches and waterways during the wet season.
You can learn more about it at: Marine debris.
Innovation Challenge to boost coral abundance (Phase VI)
The Australian Government is providing $1.5 million, for a $2 million collaboration with the Queensland Government, to support feasibility and proof-of-concept studies for innovative ideas to boost coral growth and restoration on the Great Barrier Reef.
Controlling crown-of-thorns starfish (Phase I, II, IV)
The Australian Government through Reef Trust and the National Landcare Program funding provided $27.4 million in funding (2014-15 – 2019-20) to support the direct management of crown-of-thorns starfish. The Australian Government is committed to supporting the tourism industry to manage crown-of-thorns starfish explosions on high value and ecologically important reefs.
Crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks have been identified as one of the primary threats to coral colonies in the Great Barrier Reef.
Adult starfish continue to be culled on specified high value tourism reefs to provide short term protection of coral cover and maintain the biodiversity of these coral reefs. A dedicated surveillance vessel and development of a marine integrated pest management methodology has also been part of the ongoing management strategy.
Funding has supported diver training with the explicit intention of increasing the diving industry’s capacity to control crown-of-thorns starfish populations on their managed reefs and dive sites.
Learn more about the program at: Crown-of-thorns starfish control program.
Specialised Indigenous Ranger Program (Phase I)
The Australian Government provided $2 million (2014-15 – 2016-17) for the recruitment of four new Indigenous compliance officer positions, up to three Indigenous permitting officer positions, and compliance training for up to 20 Indigenous rangers. The Specialised Indigenous Ranger Program addressed marine conservation by strengthening enforcement and compliance in Queensland and the Torres Strait.
Rangers were trained in the correct procedures to spot, collect and record data. Their professional development included familiarisation with how this information is provided as key evidence during court hearings, complementing the Indigenous Ranger’s traditional knowledge about Sea Country and their operational efficiency in remote areas of the Reef.
Investigation into the practice of environmental crime in the Great Barrier Reef (Phase I)
The Australian Government provided funding of $1.9 million (2014-15 – 2015-16) to support the work of the Australian Crime Commission to investigate the practice of illegal poaching and transportation of turtle and dugong meat.
A Wildlife and Environment Crime Team was established during the project to acquire greater knowledge about suspected illegal poaching and trade of turtle and dugong meat and other products around the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait.
Cairns and Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre (Phase I)
The Australian Government provided $300,000 to the Cairns and Fitzroy Island Turtle Rehabilitation Centre to increase its capacity to care for sick and injured turtles, from small hatchlings to large adults.
Some of the injuries relate to boat strikes, the affects of disease, chemical contamination of water, entrapment in fishing nets or gear and mistakenly eating plastic debris floating in the water while foraging for food. These items can include plastic bags, pellets, balloons, sheets, fishing line or styrofoam beads.
When turtles have recovered to good health, they are rehabilitated and returned to their Reef environment. Before release, the turtles are fitted with a tracking device, so researchers can monitor their movements and survival post release.
If you spot a sick or injured marine turtle, the hotline to call is: 1300 ANIMAL.
Green turtle research and protection program
The Australian Government is providing $5.9 million to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to lead a Great Barrier Reef Green turtle research program. This program will provide information critical for the long-term conservation and management of the world’s largest remaining green turtle population and enhance the co-management capacity of those Traditional Owners whose country these iconic species forage and nest.
Actions will include a broad-scale aerial survey of all potential nesting beaches in the northern Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait and research to track movement patterns and feeding grounds of adult male green turtles.
Shark conservation and management in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
The Australian Government is providing $5 million to the Queensland Government to deliver a shark conservation and management program in the Great Barrier Reef over 2020-21 to 2022-23.
The Queensland Government will trial and evaluate the effectiveness of non-lethal shark control measures with the aim of transitioning away from traditional drumlines in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This will include: trialling SMART drumline technology, shark safe swimming barriers and drones with multispectral cameras, as well as an education component across the broader Reef region.
Research on shark and human behaviour, development of real time alerts, trailing of tethered drones on larger commercial snorkel and dive tour vessels and signage and education will also be undertaken.
Outcome 4 - Any new development maintains or improves the condition of matters of national and state environmental significance through the strategic delivery of offsets through the Reef Trust.
Reef Trust funding is also derived from the pooling of offset funds for actions that have a significant residual impact on a matter(s) of national environmental significance, after all reasonable avoidance and mitigation measures are taken. Where offsets are required, they will be considered during the assessment phase of an environmental impact assessment. This will provide transparency around how suitable offsets are determined for delivery through the Reef Trust. The suitability of a proposed offset will be considered by the regulatory arm of the Department as part of the decision to approve or not approve the proposed action.
Offset actions must improve or maintain the specific attribute of the Great Barrier Reef that is impacted by the proposed action, when compared to pre-impact levels. For example, offsets for development activities that have residual impacts on the water quality of the Great Barrier Reef would be required to deliver or fund projects that improve or maintain water quality when compared to pre-impact levels. This may be achieved through consolidated investment in catchment wide projects that aim to reduce sediment and nutrient inputs into the reef as to improve overall water quality.
EPBC Act offsets being delivered through the Reef Trust can be found in the below table. For further information on the projects see the Referrals list.
|EPBC Referral||Offset Activities||Status of Delivery|
|Natural Gas Liquefaction and Export Park, Curtis Island (EPBC Ref: 2008/4057)||Contribution to Joint Field Management activities in the Mackay/Capricorn management Area including:
||Delivered by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Commenced February 2017|
|APLNG Liquefied Natural Gas Plant and onshore marine facilities (EPBC Ref: 2009/4977)|
|LNG Plant and Onshore Facilities, Curtis Island (EPBC Ref: 2008/4402)|
Investments across Outcomes
Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program
The Australian Government provided $6.1 million to support the establishment and operation of the Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program.
This Program comprises monitoring and reporting within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent catchments.
The primary objectives of the Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program are to:
- track the performance of the Reef 2050 Plan actions towards achieving targets, objectives and outcomes
- drive adaptive management through an improved understanding of the condition and trend of the Reef’s values together with the drivers, pressures and activities affecting them.
Learn more about the program at: Reef 2050 Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program.