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SPECIAL EDITION: Reef Regulations Amendment Bill introduced to Parliament

Reef regulations amendment Bill introduced to Parliament

After two years of work with peak bodies and broader community consultation, the Queensland Government introduced a Bill to Parliament today on 27 February 2019 to strengthen existing Reef protection regulations.

If the Bill is passed, the new legislation supports the staged roll-out of strengthened Reef protection regulations to apply to all commercially produced cane, bananas, horticulture, grains and grazing as well as direct sources of pollution from industrial land uses (for example, sewage and water treatment plants, aquaculture or intensive animal industries etc.) across all Reef regions.

In summary, the amendment Bill:

  • Sets nutrient and sediment pollution load limits for the Reef catchments based on the end-of-catchment water quality targets in the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.
  • Improves regulated minimum practice standards for sugarcane and establishes standards for bananas, horticulture, grains and grazing with commencement to be staged over one to three years, depending on the commodity, region and risk to water quality.
  • Requires advisers (e.g. agronomists and fertiliser sellers) when providing ‘tailored advice’ about regulated agricultural activities to make sure that it is not false or misleading, and keep and produce records of the advice provided, upon request.
  • Requires farmers and graziers to keep fertiliser, chemical and soil condition records.
  • Removes the requirement for Environmental Risk Management Plans for cane growers and graziers, replacing these with regulated minimum standards.
  • Recognises growers or graziers who are accredited under a recognised Best Management Practice program (or like program) as compliant with the regulated minimum standards.
  • Puts in place measures to ensure no net decline in water quality from new development by:

o   Requiring new cropping activities (cane, bananas, horticulture and grains) to meet higher standards through an environmental authority (permit) based on the water quality risk of the activity.

o   Requiring new industrial activities to meet a ‘no net decline’ in Reef water quality standard for additional nutrient and sediment loads through the design of their operation or provide an offset under the point source water quality offsets policy.

The Bill also makes provisions for the Minister to establish subordinate legislation in the future to request data from the agricultural sector and to establish a regulated water quality offsets scheme in the future.

For more detailed information and to view the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement, visit Strengthening Reef Regulations at


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