Rescue program to protect Great Barrier Reef

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A partnership approach to improve water quality flowing to the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon has resulted in improved management practices over half a million hectares of land, according to information released on Tuesday at the inaugural Reef Rescue Showcase in Cairns.

The Great Barrier Reef [Xinhua file photo]

The Great Barrier Reef [Xinhua file photo]

Reef Rescue, a partnership between Queensland's Regional Natural Resource Management Groups and rural industry bodies, is a 200 million Australian dollar (164 million U.S. dollar), five-year initiative, funded by the Australian government's Caring for Our Country Program. The program aims to improve the quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon.

Mike Berwick, Chair Queensland Regional NRM Groups Collective said the program, which has only been running for two years, has already resulted in significant change.

"In the past two years, we have entered into contracts with more than 1,480 land managers to improve their practices," Berwick said.

"We have helped graziers erect 700 kilometers of fencing to minimize erosion, trained and engaged more than 2,000 land owners, supported cane farmers to improve fertilizer practices over 93,000 hectares and helped those in the horticulture industry improve soil management and tillage over 25,000 hectares."

Queensland Farmers' Federation Chief Executive, Dan Galligan, said the partnership between rural and natural resource management groups was putting runs on the board to achieve agricultural and environmental outcomes.

"Farmers are playing their part in protecting the Reef. For every dollar the Australian government contributes to Reef Rescue, farmers are spending about two more dollars," he said.

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