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.
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.