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Funding boost to help cane farmers protect the Reef

Published: Tuesday, 30 January 2018

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The Coalition Government is continuing to implement water quality improvements in the Great Barrier Reef by providing further funding to help Queensland sugarcane farmers cut nitrogen run-off into Reef catchments.

The funding of $2.68 million is on top of the $60 million package for the Great Barrier Reef announced by the Prime Minister in Queensland last week.

Applications have opened for this third round of funding under the Reef Trust Repeated Tenders Project in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions.

“Cane farmers in these regions are already making progress in reducing the rate of nitrogen fertiliser applied to their crops with support under the Coalition Government’s Reef Trust,” Minister Frydenberg said.

“The program is a win-win because it not only helps improve the quality of water entering the Reef, but also helps sugarcane farmers reduce their costs.”

Run-off from agricultural land in the Reef catchments is one of the biggest threats to the health of the Reef and is linked to outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish.

Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald said North Queensland farmers should be applauded for their significant contribution to improving management practices.

“Growers right along the coast have embraced new technologies and methods to ensure the environment is protected for generations to come,” Senator Macdonald said.

This third round of funding follows the completion of the first $4.7 million round that delivered an estimated reduction of more than 140 tonnes of nitrogen entering the Reef. Successful farmers from the second $4.46 million round will be contracted to collectively reduce nitrogen entering the Reef by more than 145 tonnes over four years.

Service providers NQ Dry Tropics (Burdekin region) and Terrain NRM (Wet Tropics region) will continue to support the implementation of the project and manage grant contracts. Interested farmers will bid for funding through a competitive reverse tender.

The third funding round is open to applicants until 2pm (AEST) 5 March 2018. 

For more information on the Reef Trust Repeated Tenders - Wet Tropics and Burdekin visit: www.environment.gov.au/marine/gbr/reef-trust/repeated-reverse-auctions

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