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Landholders and farmers get support for Great Barrier Reef protection

by The Hon Tony Burke MP on 10 May 2013
That wonderful natural wonder of the world known as the Great Barrier Reef. John Curnow ©
Landholders and farmers will receive assistance in reducing the run-off of damaging chemicals into the Great Barrier Reef, under a $200 million extension to the Reef Rescue program.

Starting in 2008, Reef Rescue has already stopped over 92,000 tonnes of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment and around 1,300 kilograms of pesticide from leaching into the Great Barrier Reef. That is the equivalent of around one million wheelbarrows.

Due to the program's success to-date, the Gillard Government today announced an additional $200 million in funding to ensure the extension of the Reef Rescue program until 2018.

Reef Rescue helps farmer's lift on-farm productivity. It also plays a crucial role protecting the Great Barrier Reef, with run-off from farms causing coral bleaching and algae growth and smothering seagrass and coral reefs.

The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world's greatest treasures and the Gillard Government is committed to its protection.

Reef Rescue is also a highly successful partnership between Government, farmers, indigenous owners and other land managers along the Queensland coast. Reducing their chemical and fertilizer use is good for farmers as well as being good for the reef.

Since 2008 more than 3,200 land managers from Cape York to Bundaberg have benefited from Reef Rescue and its associated grants and management tools.

Reef Rescue has been expanded to include improved management of wetland and riparian areas, as well as improving urban water runoff.

The program includes support for Research and Development and partnership funding for on-farm investments. Water Quality Grants are provided to farmers to improve the quality of the water running off their land and improve their land management practices.

Reef Rescue is driven by farmers. For every dollar the Government has invested in Reef Rescue farmers have contributed around $1.80. This demonstrates their commitment to Reef Rescue and protecting the Reef.

Reef Rescue's second phase will continue to support the development of new cutting-edge water quality technologies and fund the control of crown of thorns starfish.

Reef Rescue is being funded as part of the Gillard Government's $2 billion Caring for our Country natural resource management initiative, which supports volunteers, farmers and community groups to make a real difference to their local environment.

For more information on the Reef Rescue program or the Caring for our Country initiative, visit www.nrm.gov.au.
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