Reef Report Card shows Mackay Whitsunday farmers help set the bar for improved reef health – but more focus needed on non-rural action

Jun 13, 2014 | , ,

Farmers in Mackay and the Whitsundays have been flagged as leaders in the bid to improve water quality and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Report Cards for 2012 and 2013 was released yesterday by Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt MP and Queensland Minister for the Environment and Heritage Protection, Andrew Powell MP.

The Report Card indicated the Mackay Whitsunday region showed the largest reduction of all six regions measured in Queensland for two key pollutants – nitrogen and pesticides.

The report card measured progress in actions taken to improve water quality in the reef between July 2009 and June 2013. Water quality readings were broken into six geographic zones – the overall Great Barrier Reef, Cape York, Wet Tropics, Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday and Fitzroy River.

The report also highlighted the percentage of farmers to have adopted better land management practices that directly reduce the amount of pollutants entering the reef.

From 2009 to 2013, a minimum of 49 per cent of Mackay Whitsunday sugarcane growers are known to have adopted improved land management practices. This represents more than 670 individual farmers from the region’s total of 1,380 sugarcane growers.