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Draft plan to improve quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef

The Australian and Queensland governments have released the draft Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022 for consultation.

The renewed five-year plan details how industry, government and the community will continue to work together to improve the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef.

Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg said the draft plan was an update of the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan and supports delivery of the $2 billion Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
“By focusing our efforts on improving water quality, we are giving the Reef the best chance to adapt and recover from the impacts of coral bleaching,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“This new plan has an expanded scope and addresses all land-based sources of water pollution including run-off from urban, industrial and public lands, as well as from agricultural activities.

“Much has already been achieved by landholders and the community but more can be done to improve the land use practices of everyone living and working near the reef.”

Queensland Minister for the Environment Steven Miles said the plan recognised the importance of people in creating change and included social, cultural and economic values for the first time.

“The new plan sets water quality targets for each of the 35 catchments flowing to the Reef using scientific modelling and other technical information to work out the pollution reduction targets based on what the Reef needs to be healthy,” Mr Miles said.

“By setting these new targets at a catchment, region and whole-of-Reef scale, we can better prioritise our investment and effort.”

Mr Miles said a risk assessment was also undertaken to determine priority regions for reducing the run-off of nitrogen, pesticides and sediment.

“It is imperative that we continue to work in partnership to achieve the targets in this new plan. This will require governments at all levels to work together. It will also require land managers to take action, whether they be farmers, residents or industry.”

Interested organisations and people to provide their comments on the draft plan by 10 October 2017 via www.reefplan.qld.gov.au.

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