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Reef Water Quality Protection Plan

Reef Plan is a joint  commitment of the Australian and Queensland Governments. Initially established in 2003, the plan has been updated twice and is a collaborative program of coordinated projects and partnerships designed to  improve the quality of water in the Great Barrier Reef. 

Reef Plan's primary  focus is to address diffuse source pollution from agricultural land  use. Visit Reef Plan for more information on the long term  goals, 2013 targets and actions.

The primary industries sector

The department is the lead agency for deliverables under three  Reef Plan actions, and is involved in six others, playing a critical role in  the Reef Plan's success. DAF focuses on economic analysis of improved  management practices, education and extension and measuring the adoption of best  management.

Increase understanding of management systems

DAF has a team of agricultural economists assessing the economic costs and benefits of management practices and systems to help identify the most cost-effective and profitable management practices and systems.

Under the Reef Plan 2009, DAF created an online improved practices catalogue that  provides producers and extension providers with information about improved  management practices. Reef Plan 2013 focuses on integrating practices with farm  management systems and understanding the costs and benefits of practices.

Extension in reef catchments

The department offers a range of extension services and programs to support growers and graziers to adopt better business and farming practices within reed catchments. The Department  of Environment and Heritage Protection contributes funding to these programs.

Grazing extension  services are provided as part of the FutureBeef and Grazing BMP programs. Our  extension staff help graziers implement grazing systems that are profitable and  productive while also reducing runoff of sediments and nutrients into local  waterways and the reef.

Our coastal farming systems program has a team of agronomists working in the Mackay, Burdekin and Wet Tropics  regions to help cane farmers adopt sustainable and productive management  systems. This work supports the CANEGROWERS' Smartcane BMP

We also help deliver  the Grains BMP and Banana BMP programs and provide research and extension services to  growers to improve business and environmental outcomes.

A pilot agricultural capacity building project commenced in March 2017 and will run until October 2018. The program is made up of two components: building extension capacity through training and an extension work placement program and is being run in partnership with Queensland Farmers’ Federation and Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.

The Reef Plan Extension and Education Strategy Update and Implementation Guide provides a framework for the coordinated and targeted  delivery of extension and education to achieve Reef Plan targets.

Monitoring the success of Reef Plan

The progress of Reef  Plan is being measured by Paddock to Reef which is an  integrated monitoring, modelling and reporting program. DAF collects and  reports information on the adoption of best management practices.

This is collected in a  series of Report Cards. The First Report Card presented  results up to 2009 and acts as a baseline in order to measure whether Reef Plan  is achieving its targets. The latest Report Card 2014 shows the  adoption of best management in different industries and regions and the pollutant  load reductions over that time.

Queensland Government Reef Protection measures

DAF officers can provide  technical information and extension support to cane growers and graziers to  help them comply with reef  protection requirements under the Environmental  Protection Act 1994 and the Chemical  Usage (Agricultural and Veterinary) Control Act 1988 and associated  regulation.
See farming in reef catchments for more  information.

Further information

Visit the Reef Plan website for more information  about the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan.
Keep up to date by  signing up to the e-Bulletin.


Last updated 19 June 2017