Forces join to protect the reef

Collaboration between sectors will help reduce the effects of agriculture on the Great Barrier Reef.

Collaboration between sectors will help reduce the effects of agriculture on the Great Barrier Reef.

Farmers, conservationists and resource management bodies have formally joined forced to protect Australia’s precious Great Barrier Reef from the affects of agricultural activity.

Members of the Reef Alliance have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a code of conduct that supports best management practice aimed at improving water quality and protecting the Great Barrier Reef Catchment.

Queensland Farmers Federation policy advisor Adam Knapp, said the MOU was a positive step in formalising the industry’s commitment to protecting one of the country’s treasured natural landmarks.

“There’s a lot of work to be done in the reef space and this partnership is seen as being critical for the ongoing implementation of actions in the agricultural space,” he says.

Improving Great Barrier Reef water quality is a key concern of the Reef Alliance, with a focus on improving water quality by limiting sedimentation and run-off from agricultural practices.

New technology and increased awareness has seen significant improvements in recent years.

Things like precision agriculture, the use of GPS technology and fencing off areas for grazing have all been recognised by agriculturalists as practical ways to reduce farming impact.

Farmers have made a concerted effort to reduce the impact of farming practices on local water systems.

Farmers have made a concerted effort to reduce the impact of farming practices on local water systems.

“There’s a general consensus in the agricultural community that they’ve been minimising their impact for many years,” says Mr Knapp.

However Mr Knapp says that monitoring sites in the GBR have still been picking up evidence of agricultural run-off.

Regional Groups’ Collective Chair, Mike Berwick, says that partnerships between industry and conservation sectors are crucial to continuing the preservation of the Great Barrier Reef.

 

“The success of the past 8 years has come via Reef Alliance member projects supporting rural land managers to change practices and improve farming systems, in turn generating improved water quality and business viability,” he says.

“By members sharing information, resources and ideas, and mixing their respective skill the Reef Alliance can deliver behavioural change in land management and communities.”

The strong support for the MOU is testament to the growing awareness among landowners and industry experts when it comes to taking care of our natural wonders.