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Media Release
Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Senator the Hon. Ian Campbell

28 November 2005

$4.8 million to improve Great Barrier Reef water quality


The World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef will benefit from water quality improvement projects totalling over $4.8 million, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, announced today.

The projects are part of the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust funded Coastal Catchments Initiative and contribute to the Australian and Queensland Governments’ Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Protection Plan, which aims to halt and reverse the decline in the quality of water entering the Reef.

Senator Campbell said these projects will contribute significantly to protecting the Great Barrier Reef for the enjoyment of future generations of Australians as well as international visitors.

“The Wet Tropics region will receive $1.375 million for projects, including protection and restoration of river edges in the Tully River Basin, to reduce sediment and nutrients entering the Reef through actions such as planting trees and ground covers, and fencing areas for natural regeneration,” he said.

“A scientific trial and monitoring process will identify which of these restoration techniques most effectively improves water quality in the waterways.

“The Burdekin Dry Tropics region will receive $1.569 million for projects including water quality monitoring in the Burdekin Catchment. This will see a network of trained community volunteers and scientific data collection instruments recording benchmarks for sediment and nutrient levels at key sites.

“Funding of $1.25 million in the Mackay Whitsunday region will include a project to work with industry and landholders to evaluate best management practices such as irrigation efficiency, effective fertilizer use and protecting river edges.

“At a range of sites, key water quality indicators will be monitored, such as water use efficiency, sediment generation and nutrient balance - leading to improved industry practice.

“The Burnett Mary region will receive $652,000 to develop a catchment-based Water Quality Improvement Plan. The planning process will help prioritise actions to improve water quality by looking at ways to prevent high loads of nutrients and sediment entering waterways.”

Each of the projects will build on the lessons learned in the Douglas Shire, whose Water Quality Improvement Plan is due for completion by the end of this year. The new projects will build on the successes of that project and continue partnerships between Australian and Queensland Government agencies, local governments, industry bodies, regional bodies, scientists, landholders and communities.

Further information about CCI is available online at www.deh.gov.au/coasts/pollution/cci/index.html

A breakdown of Natural Heritage Trust investments and Coastal initiatives is attached.

Media contact:
Renae Stoikos 02 6277 7640 or 0418 568 434


Coastal Catchments Initiative Natural Heritage Trust Investment


Wet Tropics Natural Resource Management Region

Organisation: FNQ NRM LTD


Projects
Water Quality Improvement Plan
Identification and demonstration of best management practices for water quality
Protection and restoration of priority riparian areas
Water quality monitoring program
NHT Funding 2005-2007    $1,375,000


Burdekin Natural Resource Management Region

Organisation: Burdekin Dry Tropics Board


Projects
Water Quality Improvement Plan
Best management practices for water quality in grazing lands
Best management practices for water quality in cropping (sugar) lands
Water quality benchmarking and monitoring
NHT Funding 2005-2007    $1,569,000


Mackay Whitsunday Natural Resource Management Region

Organisation: Mackay Whitsunday Natural Resource Management Group Inc


Projects
Water Quality Improvement Plan
Securing water quality improvement through urban, grazing and intensive agriculture best management practices
NHT Funding 2005-2007    $1,250,000

Burnett Mary Natural Resource Management Region

Organisation: Burnett Mary Regional Group for Natural Resource Management Region Inc


Projects
Water Quality Improvement Plan
NHT Funding 2005-2007    $652,000

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