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New legislation to safeguard our Reef introduced to Queensland Parliament

22 August, 2019

The Reef Protection Measures Bill 2019 was introduced into Parliament this year and is shortly due for debate. We've worked hard for over 2 years with legal advocacy and assisting other groups to ensure this bill is as strong as possible. It will reduce nutrient and sediment pollution impacting the health and resilience of our Reef.

EDO Qld has been working with the Queensland Government, assisting WWF and AMCS, to advocate for the introduction of strengthened laws to reduce nutrient and sediment pollution impacting the health and resilience of our Great Barrier Reef. The Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was introduced into parliament on 27 February 2019. The Bill has already been the subject of submissions to the Parliamentary Committee, which reported back. It is expected to be debated in the next month.

EDO Qld has worked to ensure this Bill is as strong as possible to build the resilience of the Reef against climate change. Upstream impacts of sediment and nutrient run off from agricultural and urban development are known to be eroding the health of the Reef as it washes downstream.

After over 2 years of advocacy with the Queensland Government EDO Qld are happy to report that the Bill before parliament will likely see implementation of many of the recommendations of the Reef Water Quality Science Taskforce to better regulate these upstream impacts.

Promising initiatives introduced by this Bill include the introduction of an environmental authority for large scale cropping activities which will be the first time agricultural activities, which can have significant impact on land and water, will be required to obtain pre-assessment and approval in Queensland.

The new framework will also set nutrient and sediment load limits for catchments flowing into the Great Barrier Reef and stipulate pollution reduction targets for the GBR catchments. We continue to advocate for improvements to our offset framework, where the Bill clarifies that offsets will be available for urban development impacts to our Reef.

Environmental Defenders Office Queensland (EDO Qld) gives a strong legal voice to the environment when needed most.

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