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The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP
Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Great Barrier Reef hotspots targeted

Media release
23 October 2008

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The Greater Barrier Reef will benefit from water quality improvements and reduced run-off with the allocation of $23 million in Rudd Government funding to natural resource and industry groups, announced today.

The funding is part of the Australian Government's $200 million Reef Rescue package and aims to continue work to reduce the amount of fertilisers, chemicals and sediments entering waterways that drain to the Great Barrier Reef.

Details were announced today by Australian Government Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke.

"The Rudd Government recognises that many farmers have already carried out great work on their properties to improve land management practices," Mr Burke said.

"Most of this $23 million will help farmers in the sugar, horticulture, grazing, cropping and dairy industries to continue that good work, which will boost productivity and reduce costs.

"Projects will include the use of GPS-guided farming to reduce soil compaction and erosion; managing and re-vegetating cane drains and converting machinery to use fertilisers and herbicides more efficiently.

"The funding will also help research and development to improve reef lagoon water quality."

Under Reef Rescue, regional and industry organisations work with private landholders and land managers to help the Great Barrier Reef resist the impacts of climate change.

The money will roll out in the next few weeks throughout Queensland coastal catchment groups and to industry.

"Improved land management can have a real impact on the health of this internationally renowned, World Heritage listed natural wonder. Through Caring for our Country the Rudd Labor Government has set a clear objective of reducing nutrient and chemical discharge from land to the Reef by 25 per cent by 2010," Mr Garrett said.

"I am very pleased that through this program Rudd Labor Government is bringing together farmers, land managers, environmental groups and the industry in an unprecedented way to ensure that the Great Barrier Reef has the best chance of survival, particularly in the face of dangerous climate change," he said.

Five regional organisations will each receive up to $7 million to work with industry organisations, land managers and landholders to give the Reef a better chance to survive climate change impacts.

In addition, just over $1 million will support a partnership between five primary production industry organisations, the Queensland Farmers' Federation and the Regional Groups Collective to raise awareness of the need for land management changes.

The Ministers said that land managers and landholders are also being supported to manage stock access to waterways, to prevent stock from trampling river banks and helping to reverse instability and erosion.

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Commonwealth of Australia