FBA welcomes Reef Rescue funding allocation

Central Queensland’s leading natural resource management group Fitzroy Basin Association Inc. (FBA) has welcomed a $16.1 million investment in the Fitzroy Basin to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
FBA CEO Paul Birch said this consisted of a $12.5 million investment that will be made in the region over the next 3 years as part of a five-year extension to the Reef Rescue component of the Australian Government’s Caring for our Country initiative through water quality grants and $3.6 million over the next 5 years to protect and restore wetlands and waterways.
“With 20,000 kilometres of streams and creeks flowing through the Fitzroy Basin and out to the reef, the continuation of Reef Rescue is a welcome boost and will ensure FBA can build on its previous efforts to improve land management and water quality in the region,” Mr Birch said.
“FBA coordinated the delivery of more than $30 million in funding under the first five years of Reef Rescue with over one million hectares encompassed by projects.
“During this time we worked with land managers and the community to adopt better practices, protect and restore sensitive ecosystems, and improve knowledge of the link between water quality and the reef.
“FBA helped hundreds of farmers, graziers, irrigators and horticulturalists across the region to change their property layout, management techniques, or upgrade farm machinery to reduce erosion and improve water quality.
“Over 1,400 kilometres of fencing was constructed, resulting in improved ground cover and over 1,600 kilometres of stream banks protected from erosion.
“Further to this, over 1,000 kilometres of pipeline watering systems were installed, as well as over 600 off-stream watering points, tanks and troughs to keep cattle off creek banks.
“Sensitive areas of native vegetation and wetlands were also managed and restored by volunteer groups and private landholders with support from FBA and the first best management practices program for the grazing industry was established,” he said.
Reef Rescue aims to reduce the run-off of sediment, nutrients and chemicals into the Great Barrier Reef. Data from the Reef Plan Report Card released in recently shows this program is working.
Since 2008 more than 3,200 land managers across Queensland have benefited from Reef Rescue and its associated grants and management tools. For every dollar the Government has invested in Reef Rescue farmers have contributed around $1.80.