The Future of Farming and the Great Barrier Reef

It is well-understood that the Reef faces threats from a range of human-driven pressures. Some of these include the impacts of land run-off associated with past and ongoing catchment and coastal development activities, as well as extreme weather and climate change impacts (e.g. coral bleaching events). Water quality in particular, is vital for a healthy, functioning Reef ecosystem and the many industries that are dependent on this. Farming (along with other industries) contributes to water quality outcomes on the Reef, with nutrients from fertilizers, particularly nitrogen, entering the Reef in runoff during major flood events. This relationship between water quality and farming provides an opportunity for landholders to play a significant role in safeguarding the resilience and long-term wellbeing of the Reef.

NCEconomics and Alluvium Consulting has been engaged by the Great Barrier Reef Foundation on a project to understand pathways to investigate innovative policy, financing and funding initiatives for land management practices and land use transitions which both improve water quality and consider the economic circumstances of farmers. Initiatives which result in positive water quality and economic outcomes are more likely to be sustainable and help to provide lasting reductions in the impacts of poor water quality on the Reef.

This online portal has been designed to help us engage with and seek feedback from both small and large-scale farmers across the Reef catchments. We want to hear your views on aspects of policy and financial and funding measures that you prefer. The information gathered during this process will help to deliver more sustainable and commercially viable outcomes for the community and for the Reef.

The survey for landowners will be released in the coming weeks. Click the “Follow Project” button in the top-right corner to receive further project updates.