The Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) has welcomed today’s statement from the Queensland Government to allocate over $65 million to tackle reef water pollution, from the $270 million Reef package they announced in August 2021.
The Reef faces a range of threats from poor fishing practices, water pollution and global warming, the latter of which is driving the widespread bleaching event unfolding in multiple areas of our Reef right now.
AMCS Water Quality Expert, Jaimi Webster, said: “The Queensland government’s water quality funding announcement comes at a time when our Great Barrier Reef needs all the help it can get. Now, more than ever, our governments must act to reduce pressures on our Reef, including water pollution.”
The $65 million, will be allocated to restore gullies and streambanks in the Reef’s vast catchment. Restoration would result in a reduction of fine sediment that runs off farmlands and into our Reef.
Sediment, loose silt and soil particles are carried from the catchment into waterways. These drain into the inshore areas of the Reef where it smothers and destroys coral and seagrasses. Dugongs and some species of turtle depend on healthy seagrass meadows for their survival.
Today’s announcement comes at an important time with the UNESCO/IUCN Reactive Monitoring Mission visiting the Reef this week to assess the Australian and Queensland government’s protection of the Reef for the World Heritage Committee.
“This funding allocation is a positive step forward, however, we remain concerned with the roll out and compliance of the current reef regulations. These regulations are a fundamental part of meeting water pollution commitments in the Reef 2050 Plan, which the World Heritage Committee will be reviewing when considering whether to list the Great Barrier Reef as “In Danger”. The Queensland government must urgently allocate $42.5 million to compliance now if we have any chance of achieving what is needed by 2025,” Ms Webster said.