Queensland passes Great Barrier Reef run-off laws

Laws that will reduce the amount of run-off which can be allowed to flow into the Great Barrier Reef have been passed by Queensland's parliament.

Recent aerial surveys revealed only the southern third of the Great Barrier Reef has escaped unscathed from coral bleaching.

Recent aerial photo of the Great Barrier Reef. Source: Coral Reef Studies

Queensland miners, sewer operators and farmers will no longer be able to dump as much run-off into the Great Barrier Reef under a new law.

It will set limits on the amount of sediment, fertiliser and pesticide allowed to drain into coastal water catchments that eventually flow into the world's biggest coral reef.

No further changes to the regulation will occur for another five years after a handful of government MPs negotiated a small win for the industry.

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Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the regulations will mirror practices already accepted by the industry.

They aim to cut run-off while improving productivity and profitability.

"We know the two biggest threats to the reef are climate change and water quality, and the laws passed today will help improve water quality flowing to the Great Barrier Reef," she said.

The state government will provide funding to support beef cattle graziers in the Burdekin, Fitzroy and Burnett Mary regions to help them put together land management plans.

Queensland Farmers' Federation president Stuart Armitage said a blanket approach to regulating agricultural activities will not lead to the best outcomes for anyone.


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Published 21 September 2019 at 12:24pm