The World Wide Fund for Nature-Australia welcomed today’s passing of the Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill through the Queensland Parliament.
WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman said the Bill would strengthen protection for the Great Barrier Reef by regulating minimum agricultural standards for all sugarcane, beef cattle grazing, banana, grains and horticulture production in the Reef’s catchments.
“These reforms are fundamental to cutting Reef, river, estuary and seagrass pollution, starving plagues of juvenile coral-eating starfish and maximising the ability of the Reef to recover from coral bleaching and unnatural cyclone damage,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“For many years the Queensland and Australian Governments have invested millions of dollars to encourage improved farming practices, through voluntary partnerships with industry, scientists and organisations like WWF-Australia.
“Public funding has been matched by significant private investment from farmers and others to reduce farm pollution.
“While there are fantastic examples of the positive impacts this investment has in reducing pollution and improving farm productivity, this approach on its own simply hasn’t delivered on the scale that the Reef needs.
“These regulations are necessary to ensure that all farmers and many industrial land users take the next step towards making sure their practices are safe for the Reef,” Mr O’Gorman said.
“The regulations reflect practices accepted by industry leaders as good for business as well as water quality.
“The science behind these regulations is long-established, comprehensive and accepted by an overwhelming consensus of leading scientists,” he said.