WWF-Australia is calling for governments to work with farmers to implement cleaner, more profitable practices as part of proposed new laws to tackle water pollution along the Great Barrier Reef coast.
The proposed measures, to control the fertiliser and sediment that washes off farms and harms coral reefs, were released by the Queensland Government today in a discussion paper.
“The new regulations will ensure that no one can use outdated practices which pollute the Great Barrier Reef,” said WWF-Australia spokesperson Sean Hoobin.
With fears growing of mass bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef for an unprecedented second year in a row, WWF-Australia says it’s vital that threats to the Reef are reduced.
“For the first time ever there will be a legal limit on the pollution that enters the Reef, giving it a fighting chance of recovery,” he said.
He said the regulations also supported the tourism and agriculture industries.
“The Reef generates $7 billion each year and supports nearly 69,000 jobs, mostly in tourism. These regulations help protect jobs by providing the clean water needed to help the Reef recover and continue to draw visitors from around the world,” Mr Hoobin said.
“The proposed laws are also critical to protect the ‘clean and green’ reputation of Queensland’s agriculture industry,” he said.
“Governments should support the bulk of farmers who want to implement cleaner, more profitable practices.
“For those who don’t change, we need to enforce pollution standards to safeguard the Reef and the reputation of Queensland agriculture,” he said.
Mr Hoobin said the measures were based on recommendations from experts in the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce and include key new provisions:
· Putting catchment pollution load limits in law
· Establishing minimum pollution standards across all existing agriculture and industries
· Ensuring new developments do not increase pollution flowing to the Reef
The discussion paper can be viewed at www.qld.gov.au/greatbarrierreef
Mark Symons, WWF-Australia Senior Media Officer, 0400 985 571, firstname.lastname@example.org