Project Description

More than 16,000 tonnes of fine sediment will be stopped from entering the Great Barrier Reef thanks to a $6.1 million investment by the Morrison Government to improve water quality flowing from the Burnett River Catchment to the Great Barrier Reef.

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the funding from the Morrison Government’s Reef Trust would support practical on-ground action led by the Burnett Mary Regional Group natural resource management organisation through the National Landcare Program Regional Land Partnerships Program.

“The project design and delivery will involve local landowners working closely with local communities and Traditional Owners, to improve land management practices and deliver win-win outcomes for landholders and the Reef,” Minister Ley said.

“It will support large scale restoration of riparian areas to reduce streambank erosion and fine sediment loads, improved landholder management of cattle access to waterways, the implementation of weed management plans, and a feral animal control strategy.” 

“The project will be delivered by people who understand their region and who have a proven track record of achieving environmental results.”

“It will generate approximately 44 new jobs over three years, with approximately a third of these involving Indigenous employment.”

The Burnett Water Quality Consortium will include Central Queensland University’s Coastal Marine Ecosystems Research Centre (CMERC) and Gidarjil Development Corporation, blending the latest ecological science with the knowledge and experience of Traditional Owners.

Chief Executive of the Burnett Mary Regional Group, Sheila Charlesworth said that approximately twenty percent of the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan sediment reduction target for the Burnett Catchment will be achieved through this project over 3 years.

“BMRG’s use of Drone Technology is world-class,” Ms Charlesworth said.

“For this particular project, we will be adding new aircraft to our existing fleet to deliver on-ground monitoring and reporting requirements.”

This funding builds on a $3.857 million Reef Trust investment announced earlier in 2020, for coastal habitat restoration and threatened species protection in the Burnett Mary region. That work is focused on habitat restoration of the Discovery Coast, with sea rangers working with local communities to protect marine turtles by relocating nests, using cages to deter predators, and helping to prevent shoreline erosion to improve water quality.

This funding is part of the Australian Government’s more than $1.9 billion investment to support the protection and management of the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef. This includes $425 million towards improving water quality.