The seventh Great Barrier Reef Report Card was released providing a snapshot of the long term collective efforts associated with implementing the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.
The standout modelled results include a reduction in average annual loads of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) by a further 5.5 to 25.5 per cent in the Burdekin, and 4.1 to 9.6 per cent in the Fitzroy.
Queensland farmers’ Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage said that the 2016 Report Card offered a constructive update on the progress of many aspects associated with improving the health of the Reef, even though agriculture was the only sector measured and factored in to the Report Card results.
“Queensland farmers from various industries are engaged in programs that are implemented over a number of years. The Report Card is just one way of measuring their progress.
“Not all the activities undertaken during the reporting period are included, so these results are considered a conservative estimate of the progress our sector has made.
“The Report Card mentions results from the various industry Best Management Practice (BMP) programs. Industry BMP programs are making significant progress towards changing practices to protect the Reef with farmers contributing $1.55 for every $1 invested by government.”
“In sugarcane alone we have seen a 60 per cent plus increase on the number of farms achieving Smartcane BMP accreditation since the 2015 Report Card.
“Over 62 per cent of banana farmland across north Queensland is now BMP accredited, and many more growers are currently working towards this goal.
“Grazier’s in the Reef catchments are also embracing the BMP process with 1,722 properties covering nearly 10 million hectares undertaking assessments on their practices as they work towards BMP accreditation”, Mr Armitage said.
Agriculture is essential to regional Queensland sustaining over 40,000 jobs and contributing more than $5 billion of economic value at the farm gate alone (Reef catchment area total).
QFF continues to take a lead role facilitating the Reef Alliance partnership. The Alliance consists of the agriculture sector, Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups and WWF and shares a common goal of securing the future of the Reef.