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Reef water quality protection plan 2009: for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent catchments

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Title: Reef water quality protection plan 2009: for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent catchments
Year of publication: 2009
Publisher: Reef Water Quality Protection Plan Secretariat
Brisbane
Type of document: Report
Abstract: Also attached is the older, 2003 plan.
Over the last 150 years, the land catchment areas adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (the Reef) have undergone extensive modification for urban and transport infrastructure, agricultural production, tourism and mining. This modification has led to significant pollutant loads entering the Reef, the largest contribution being from agricultural land use activities in the catchment areas. To address this issue, the Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) was endorsed by the Prime Minister and Premier in October 2003. It primarily built on existing government programs and community initiatives to encourage a more coordinated and cooperative approach to improving water quality. Action undertaken through Reef Plan to date has not been effective in solving the issue of declining water quality in the Reef. Latest available evidence indicates that water discharged from rivers to the Reef continues to be of poor quality in many locations and current management interventions are not working. Land derived contaminants, including suspended sediments, nutrients and pesticides are still present in the Reef at concentrations likely to cause environmental harm. In 2007, an estimated 6.6 million tonnes of sediment, 16,600 tonnes of nitrogen and 4180 tonnes of phosphorous reached the waters of the Reef lagoon due to loss from the catchments. The impending threat of climate change to the Reef has been recognised as far more serious since the commencement of Reef Plan in 2003 and escalated the urgency of taking remedial action. Without taking this action the future livelihood of Queensland’s industries and the lifestyle that Queenslander’s enjoy could be under threat. Consequently, this plan has been reinvigorated to promote a more assertive approach to resolving the issue. Ambitious but achievable targets have been provided and both the Australian and Queensland Governments have committed significant resources to ensure they are met. This updated Reef Plan builds on the 2003 Plan by targeting priority outcomes, integrating industry and community initiatives and incorporating new policy and regulatory frameworks. Reef Plan is now underpinned by clear and measurable targets, improved accountability and more comprehensive and coordinated monitoring and evaluation. Reef Plan has two primary goals. The immediate goal is to halt and reverse the decline in water quality entering the Reef by 2013. The long-term goal is to ensure that by 2020 the quality of water entering the Reef from adjacent catchments has no detrimental impact on the health and resilience of the Reef. Achievement of these goals will be assessed against quantitative targets established for land management and water quality outcomes. To help achieve the Reef Plan goals and objectives, three priority work areas (Focusing the Activity, Responding to the Challenge, Measuring Success) have been identified and specific actions and deliverables outlined for completion between now and 2013. Reef Plan will be reviewed again in 2013 to ensure that it is delivering the intended outcomes. Throughout the course of Reef Plan there will also be regular reviews and improvements to the Plan to ensure its currency and effectiveness.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/11017/1125
Connection to GBRMPA: GBRMPA contributed to this item
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