Reef Water Quality Protection Plan

Reef Plan is a joint commitment of the Australian and Queensland Governments. The plan 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 continue addressing 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 of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) 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 previous 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

DAF has officers located throughout reef catchments providing producers with technical information and support to improve management of their production systems. 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.

DAF's 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.

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.
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Last updated 29 September 2015