WWF-Australia and the Australian Marine Conservation Society today expressed strong support for the Queensland government’s Bill introduced to Parliament to phase out farm practices and other activities that pollute the Reef’s waters.
WWF and AMCS’s joint Fight For The Reef campaign helped secure strong policies for the Reef, including a ban on dredge spoil dumping and the establishment of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce.
That Taskforce recommended that regulations should apply to agricultural, urban and industrial activities within Reef catchments to ensure they meet minimum standards.
“WWF has always said that to give the Reef the best chance there must be a mix of regulations and voluntary measures,” said WWF-Australia CEO Dermot O’Gorman
“Government funding to reduce pollution is important but not enough – it must be complemented by regulations to stop pollution and lift efforts to the next level,” he said.
Images from the recent Queensland floods show how far polluted run-off reaches into Reef waters, which can lead to devastating impacts to corals, seagrass and our marine animals.
“The Reef is still recovering from the devastating back-to-back bleaching events that occurred from rising ocean temperatures in 2016 and 2017. We must give the Reef the clean water it needs to aid its recovery,” said AMCS CEO Darren Kindleysides.
The Australian and Queensland governments have committed to achieving Reef safe water quality targets by 2025 and must report back to the World Heritage Committee at the end of this year on their progress.
“Despite good intentions, measures to improve water quality have been completely inadequate to deliver on these targets,” said Mr Kindleysides.
WWF-Australia and AMCS have a long history on the Reef including helping to secure the green zones, boosts to government funding, and advocating for reduced pollution while improving farm productivity.
Both organisations say regulations, recommended by the Taskforce, are urgently needed and look forward to working with all stakeholders to ensure the new regulations deliver the best chance for the Reef – something all Australians want.
Government modelling estimates that the new laws for grazing alone would achieve significant progress towards the 2025 Reef safe water quality targets including 60% of the sediment reductions needed for good water quality in the Burdekin catchment (the river which created massive polluted flood plumes extending to the outer Reef recently).
WWF-Australia Mark Symons 0400 985 571
AMCS Graham Readfearn 0406 241 081
 Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan 2017-2022 (page 28). Australian and Queensland Governments. 2018.