Senator praises reef protection initiative


The Federal Government’s $40 million investment to establish the Reef Trust has been praised by Townsville-based Senator Ian Macdonald.

"The Reef Trust will fund projects to improve coastal habitat, water quality and enhancing species protection along the wondrous Great Barrier Reef – the jewel in Australia’s environmental crown right here on our doorstep," he said.

The establishment of the Reef Trust was a key Coalition election commitment.

The first Reef Trust project (costed at $5 million) will provide financial incentives to sugar cane farmers in the Wet Tropics to improve nutrient use efficiency and farm sustainability.

"While the recently released Reef Water Quality Report Card shows farmers are making excellent progress in improving their management practices, there is more that can be done," said Senator Macdonald.

“Improving the efficiency of fertiliser used in farming and reducing the amount lost in run-off is a key way that we can continue to help protect the Great Barrier Reef.

"Participation in the project is voluntary and cane farmers will determine their individual fertiliser use efficiency targets and the most cost-effective means of achieving those targets on their farms," he said.

The project is being developed in partnership with the CSIRO and with significant input and support from a broad range of industry and scientific stakeholders.

Other Reef Trust projects already announced are the $5 million Dugong and Turtle Plan, the $2 million crown-of-thorns-starfish control program and $3 million in funding to improve grazing management practices in the Burdekin and Fitzroy regions to reduce soil erosion.

The closing date for applications to be the service provider for the Reef Trust tender project is August 5, 2014.  The Request for Tender is available at www.tenders.gov.au

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