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    Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    North Queensland farmers committed to improving reef health

    Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Wednesday, January 24, 2018

    North Queensland farmers committed to improving reef health

    Queensland’s new Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch today (Wednesday) met with farmers in Innisfail to see firsthand the industry-led innovations helping to protect the reef while strengthening the state’s agricultural industry.

    In support of the Queensland Government’s five-year $247 million investment into improving reef water quality, farmers in Far North Queensland are leading from the front through the Wet Tropics Major Integrated Project (Wet Tropics MIP) and Cane Changer project.

    Ms Enoch said these two projects highlighted positive partnerships made between government, industry and farmers, and demonstrated the commitment and stewardship of farmers in the region.

    “Wet Tropics MIP and Cane Changer are breaking new ground in how they’re helping farmers manage the sustainability of their enterprises, industry, and achieve accelerated water quality improvements for the Great Barrier Reef,” Ms Enoch said.

    “The Wet Tropics MIP is using farmer-led ideas to test and trial fresh ideas, with a view to roll out these solutions to other reef catchments.”

    “Some innovative approaches include the opportunity for landholders to trial the Reef Credits scheme, which allows those who have implemented projects that reduce nitrogen, sediment or pesticide losses to earn and then sell Reef Credits to buyers, including government, industry and not-for-profit organisations.

    “Meanwhile, Cane Changer is coming up with transformative ways to better understand and recognise the factors that influence the adoption of best management practices in the cane industry, and how these practices can bolster the resilience of the cane industry.

    “Using the expertise of behavioural scientists, Cane Changer involves the wider cane community to drive change within the cane industry.”

    Innisfail cane farmer and CANEGROWERS Queensland Director Joe Marano has been involved in both projects and says the reason behind their success is their positive approach to working with farmers.

    “They’ve listened to cane growers and recognise the positive changes we’re making on our farms, so we’ve been able to work collaboratively towards better outcomes for all,” Mr Marano said.

    “The previous Environment Minister, Dr Steven Miles, and the Great Barrier Reef Water Quality Science Taskforce should be commended for recommending and implementing these new initiatives, and we look forward to these working partnerships continuing.”

    Terrain NRM is coordinating the Wet Tropics MIP. Chief Executive Officer Carole Sweatman said the banana and cane industries have a long history of innovation.

    “The project combines actions ranging from known solutions to things that are new or untested, like bioreactors. It’s drawing on the best local knowledge and available science to deliver solutions that are good for farmers and the reef,” she said.

    “Cane and banana farmers have said for a long time that water quality is not just a farmer issue, and the Wet Tropics MIP works with all parts of the community to drive catchment-wide change.

    “The project builds on the many water quality improvements already happening in the region. Significant work has also been undertaken in delivering a range of catchment repair improvements and tailored extension services.”

    Doctor John Pickering, chief behavioural scientist at Behaviour Innovation, said Cane Changer is about recognising the hard work that cane growers are already doing on their farms.

    “From speaking with over 400 cane growers over the past 18 months, it is very clear that cane growers want the best for the environment, and they want the best possible future for their families,” Dr Pickering said.

    “Cane Changer is about working towards a better future for the industry and building on the history of successes to drive further innovation and change.”

    More information:

    MEDIA: Ben Doyle 0437 859 987