The Australian Government Reef Programme

The Australian Government Reef Programme is an ongoing and key component of the Australian Government's natural resource management programmes.

The Reef Programme represents a coordinated approach to environmental management in Australia and is the single largest commitment ever made to address the threats of declining water quality and climate change to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

In the first phase of the Caring for our Country Reef Rescue program, the Australian Government committed $200 million over five years (2008-09 to 2012-13) to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef lagoon.

Over the course of the program more than 3200 individual land managers received water quality grants for on-farm projects.

The Australian Government has committed to continue efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef through existing contracted Reef Programme projects from 2013-2018. These projects are designed to improve the quality of water flowing into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon and will enhance the reef’s resilience to the threats posed by climate change and nutrients, pesticides and sediment runoff through a number of complimentary approaches.

Components

Applications for Water Quality Grants and Partnerships and System Repairs and Urban Grants have been assessed.

The Reef Programme (2013-18) will focus on six integrated components within the Great Barrier Reef catchments.

Water Quality Grants and Partnerships

  • This component will increase the voluntary uptake of improved land management practices by landholders that will reduce the discharge of sediments, nutrients and pesticides into the Great Barrier Reef.
  • $64 million has been committed to Water Quality Grants over the next three years (2013-14 – 2015-16) and $3 million (GST excl.) allocated to Water Quality Partnerships over five years (2013-14 – 2017-18).
  • Funding was made available for this component through the 2013–14 Reef Rescue guidelines.

Systems Repair and Urban Grants

  • Funding will support the programme to increase the Great Barrier Reef’s resilience to climate change. Funding will be available for wetland, riparian and mangrove protection, and restoration projects. Funding will also be provided to support planning and on-ground projects to improve the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef from highly developed areas of the reef catchment.
  • Funding was made available for this component through the 2013–14 Reef Rescue guidelines.

Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting and Research and Development (R&D)

  • The water quality monitoring and reporting aims to track the progress of investment against the broader program objectives while monitoring the health of the Great Barrier Reef. The R&D will continue to improve the understanding of the link between agricultural and industrial impacts and health of the Great Barrier Reef. This will supplement the research being undertaken through the Great Barrier Reef Foundation and National Environmental Research Program.

Crown of Thorns Starfish (COTS) Control

  • This component aims to decrease the impact of COTS by supporting tourism operators to continue to defend high value tourism sites. The program will also fund research on new control methods.
  • Over the next two years, the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators will be provided with $4 million to undertake activities to control Crown of Thorns Starfish.
  • A further $1 million will be available for the continuation of research into starfish management.

Land and Sea Country Partnerships

  • This component will continue to strengthen communications between local communities, Great Barrier Reef managers and stakeholders and build a better understanding of Traditional Owner use of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA)

  • Critical operational support for the GBRMPA as the cornerstone institution for community, business, monitoring and government management of the Great Barrier Reef. This operational support will allow GBRMPA to enhance the conservation of the Great Barrier Reef, and maintain and develop their reef management systems and reef resilience programs.

Arrangements for the Water Quality Monitoring and Reporting and Research and Development, Land and Sea Country Partnerships and the GBRMPA components will be undertaken separately by the Australian Government through existing partnerships.

NRM regions

The six NRM regions that cover the Great Barrier Reef are:

  • Burnett Mary
  • Cape York - Please note that only the eastern catchments of the Cape York region will be eligible for funding through the Reef Rescue program.
  • Fitzroy Basin
  • Mackay Whitsunday
  • Burdekin
  • Wet Tropics

Water Quality Grants and Partnership Grants

Successful project listing

Water Quality Grants (PDF - 97.24 KB)
Water Quality Grants (DOCX - 25.99 KB)

Water Quality Partnerships (PDF - 118.66 KB)
Water Quality Partnerships (DOCX - 25.58 KB)

Systems Repair and Urban Grants

Successful project listing

System repairs and urban water quality on-ground grants (PDF - 87.05 KB)
System repairs and urban water quality on-ground grants (DOCX - 42.67 KB)

System repairs and urban water quality planning grants (PDF - 100.05 KB)
System repairs and urban water quality planning grants (DOCX - 41.51 KB)