$12.6m for farmers to protect reef water quality

THE Great Barrier Reef is in the spotlight again, this time in relation to farmers and water quality.

Farmers and organisations across catchment areas from Cairns to Mackay are being offered a total of $12.6 million for innovations to improve water quality and reduce sediment reaching the reef.

It is hoped the funding will assist the reef's marine life and plants.

The money comes from the latest investments under the Reef Trust Partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, which is reducing threats to the health of seagrass, coral and marine life such as turtles and dugongs by removing sediment, nutrients and pesticides.

Member for Dawson George Christensen said the funding underlined the need to respect the knowledge and commitment of local farmers and communities.

"Farmers are the backbone of our region but, more importantly, they are the stewards of the land," Mr Christensen said.

"They are already making significant contributions to improved water quality by constantly evolving their practices and it is important that we support them and encourage their ideas.

"This $12.6 million will go a long way to boosting those innovations to ensure our farmers can continue to manage the land as efficiently as possible for future generations."

Detailed technical assessments have identified the Upper & East Burdekin catchments and Bowen, Broken and Bogie catchments as key areas where farmers can create a positive impact.

Environment Minister Sussan Ley said she was working with farmers and local organisations to protect the reef.

"These latest grants from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation focus on practical, cost-effective solutions developed by farmers," she said.

The funding is part of a third portion of the Great Barrier Reef Foundation's $141m focus on regional water quality improvement programs and has been allocated on the basis of detailed technical assessment, with $5m in the Bowen, Broken and Bogie catchments, $4.1m in the Upper and East Burdekin, and $3.5m in the Upper Herbert.

For more information and to apply visit the Foundation's website: https://www.barrierreef.org/what-we-do/reef-trust-partnership/grant-rounds.