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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Reef Report Card reveals improvements

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Friday, October 27, 2017

    Reef Report Card reveals improvements

    Pollution running onto the Great Barrier Reef is going down, according to the latest Reef Report Card released today.

    Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles said the Report Card showed particular improvement in reducing nitrogen runoff.

    “Thanks to lots of hard work on the ground, we’ve finally got pollution falling,” Mr Miles said.

    “At a time when we’ve seen warmer oceans causing coral bleaching, it is crucial we do all we can to improve water quality and the health and resilience of the Reef.

    “That’s why we’re supporting the development, scaling up and roll out of new technologies to improve reef water quality.

    “This include trials of gully remediation techniques, bioreactors which remove dissolved inorganic nitrogen from water, and constructed wetlands.

    “We’ve been working with cane growers so that they are part of the solution for water quality while also getting great results for their farms.

    “And it’s working—farmers have made the most effective land management practice changes to date.”

    The report showed modelled annual average loads of dissolved inorganic nitrogen reduced by 5.5% to 25.5% in the Burdekin as a result of improved nitrogen and irrigation management by sugarcane growers.

    Terrain NRM CEO Carole Sweatman said programs like the Major Integrated Projects in the Wet Tropics and the Burdekin were focused on reducing pollution - and aimed to achieve the best results, with everyone focused on bringing farmer knowledge, science and ideas together.

    “We’ve proven that when everyone works together, we can get results for the reef and for farm profitability,” Ms Sweatman said.

    “We’re hoping to create enduring change that builds on successes over the past eight years —with programs that are good for growers and good for the Reef  — as we’ve seen in this latest report card.

    “These projects will become the model for how to drive down pollution right along the reef.”

    The Minister said there had also been progress on sediment runoff.

    “We’ve been working with graziers to make improvements across more than 5000 hectares of river-front land and 31 kilometres of streambanks,” Mr Miles said.

    “This included tackling pests and weeds in riparian areas which improves the quality of water leaving those properties.”

    Modelled annual average loads of sediment have reduced by 9.6% in the Fitzroy since 2009. This year’s reduction of 4.1% far exceeds that of previous years and is the result of targeted investment in streambank protection.

    To view the results, visit: http://www.reefplan.qld.gov.au/measuring-success/report-cards/2016/

    ENDS

    Media contact: Katharine Wright - 0422 580 342