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Great Barrier Reef Authority should play 'stronger role'

A CSIRO flood plume image from 2007 showing sediment (brown) and nutrient-rich (green) floodwaters reaching the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef in Princess Charlotte Bay.
A CSIRO flood plume image from 2007 showing sediment (brown) and nutrient-rich (green) floodwaters reaching the reefs of the Great Barrier Reef in Princess Charlotte Bay. CSIRO

THE main authority for the Great Barrier Reef should be given a "stronger role" to report on the state of all Queensland rivers leading into the reef.

That was the key call for action from all six natural resource management groups on the reef coastline, from the Burnett in the south to Cape York.

A report from the reef region's NRM groups has also called for an extra $745 million to be invested to improve water quality on the reef as well as improve land management as it affects waterways.

In "governance" recommendations, the six groups have further called for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's remit to be extended beyond the current high water mark, where the state government's jurisdiction starts.

Group spokesman Mike Berwick told APN the move would see the authority not just report on the state of the reef itself, but wetlands, rivers and basins inland.

He said it made sense for the authority to fully take into account what happens on land because sediment runoff, nutrient loads and many other problems for the reef started on the land.

"Climate change is the big one for the future, but right now what's affecting the reef most is what's happening on land," Mr Berwick said.

"They are the regulators, but if they also reported on what was happening on land in more detail wouldn't mean they'd be a bigger regulator.

"One of the big problems we've faced is that out on the water is treated as a different system compared with the land - and it's pretty obvious that they both count."

The report was one of several that found the current long-term sustainability plan was unlikely achieve its aims, with Mr Berwick pushing for bigger targets over a longer timeframe.

He said the report recommends starting with a review of the authority, with the aim being to strengthen its role, consistent with the government's plan.

Topics:  environment great barrier reef


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