Graziers, officials from the Department of Environment and Science, Landholders Driving Change team members at the first regulations meeting convened at the Grandview Hotel, Bowen, by the Office of the Great Barrier Reef to discuss the minimum standards for the grazing industry in the Great Barrier Reef catchment

Combined workshop to unpack vegetation laws and reef regulations

The LDC project is planning a one day workshop to unpack the vegetation management laws and reef regulations – how will they impact graziers. 

This workshop is a must to attend – it will provide graziers with an opportunity to unpack both the vegetation management laws, and the reef regulations.  It is expected that this workshop will be held early next year. 

To register your interest contact LDC Project Manager Lisa Hutchinson on 0427 594 192 or email at

Vegetation management laws 

This half day session will unpack the vegetation management laws to provide landholders and contractors clarity about what they can and cannot do in relation to managing vegetation on their properties. 

There will be explanations on how to work within the laws to be able to undertake maintenance clearing, as well as being able to develop country.

Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy (DNRME) representatives will attend to answer landholders’ questions, explain what is achievable under the current legislation and demonstrate how to conduct tree counts. 

Click here for further information.

Reef regulations

This half day session will unpack the Reef regulations to provide landholders clarity about the minimum practice agricultural standards for cattle grazing.

The Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill to strengthen existing Reef protection regulations was passed on 19 September 2019 with the new laws proposed to come into effect on 1 December 2019.

The regulations set minimum practice agricultural standards for all sugarcane, beef cattle grazing, banana, grains and horticulture production in five of the six Reef regions – the Wet Tropics, Burdekin, Mackay Whitsunday, Fitzroy and Burnett Mary. The regulated minimum practice standards will not be switched on in the Cape York region at this stage as the water quality targets have been met.

New and expanded cropping and horticulture activities over five hectares in all six Reef regions, including Cape York, will have to comply with farm design standards and any minimum practice standards for the crop being sown.

The regulations will also apply to operators of new or changed industrial land use activities such as new sewage treatment plants, aquaculture facilities or mines that plan to release nutrients and sediments.

The proposed regulated practice standards mirror practices already accepted by industry as good for business as well as water quality.

They will reduce pollution (nutrient and sediment) run-off from agricultural and industrial land uses while maintaining productivity and profitability through improved land management.

Under the proposed regulated practice standards, producers will need to keep records of soil tests and fertiliser and agricultural chemicals applied and advisers will need to keep records of advice provided to land managers.

The regulations will not allow broad-scale data to be requested from farmers. They will be restricted to specific records only.

The regulations will come into effect over a three-year period to ensure there is time for land managers to adjust to these regulations over the transition period.

The Queensland Government has made a commitment that, once in place, the regulated practice standards will not change for five years providing certainty for Queensland industries.

The regulated practice standards were developed in consultation with producers and people with industry know-how, and with water quality scientists and experts.

You can read the Decision Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF, 1MB) which includes a summary of the feedback received during consultation, refinements made following this consultation and revised costs and benefits.

Learn more about the key facts.

The LDC facilitated several workshops between BBB graziers and the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to discuss the proposed regulations.  Read about it here.


Reef regulations - grazing, standard conditions

  1. For land in good or fair condition (more than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), continue using measures to maintain land condition.
  2. For land in poor condition (less than 50 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition.
  3. For land in degraded condition (less than 20 per cent ground cover at 30 September), steps must be taken to improve land condition OR prevent areas from further degrading or expanding.
  4. Keep records of measures taken and also of agricultural chemicals, fertiliser and mill mud or mill ash applied to land.
KEQ #8

KEQ #7
KEQ #6

KEQ #5

KEQ #4

The LDC project monitors four gully sites (represented in this table) with gold standard equipment and analysis, carried out by CSIRO.

Results have been compiled in a preliminary report from Bartley et al (2020), with the final report expected to be released by the end of 2020. The preliminary report shows all four sites have indicators of improvements, notably the Strathbogie and Mt Wickham sites.

KEQ #3

*The Exploring New Incentives activity area has provided an opportunity for graziers to adopt improved land management practices through a range of activities. For some of these properties, it was the first time they signed contracts for on-ground works.

KEQ #1

Figure 1. Total fine sediment reduction by project type and erosion source. Inset shows the proportion of the total project area for each project type.

These estimates have been calculated using two methods: 

1) The pollutant reduction component of the Alluvium/Great Barrier Reef Foundation (GBRF) investment tool for hillslope and streambank erosion management projects; 

2) The Reef Trust Gully Toolbox method for gully erosion management projects. The LDC Water Quality Report 2020 (Waterhouse et al., 2020) highlights that a number of assumptions underlay these calculations, therefore these figures should be treated as the best available estimate of sediment reductions to date.

Preventing sediment from reaching the Great Barrier Reef

Each wet season sediment is washed into local waterways and out to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 

Most sediment is very fine, and can stay suspended for a long time and can travel great distances. Valuable topsoil is lost from production, and increased concentrations on the reef can be harmful to seagrasses and corals. 

Landholders in the BBB have completed 69 on-ground water quality practice changes, and it is estimated that these have contributed a fine sediment reduction of 6,154 tonnes per year from reaching the GBR. 

Of this, approximately half of the sediment savings are attributable to grazing land management changes on hillslopes and streambanks, and the other half as a result of gully remediation treatments across a broad range of scales, as shown in the graphs above. 

The table below also highlights the relatively small area of intervention in the gully management projects compared to the large sediment savings that these can achieve - 60 per cent of the sediment savings over only 4 per cent of the project area.

Table 1. Estimated sediment reductions (tonnes) from projects completed in the LDC Project to date.

KEQ #2

*GLMWW = Grazing Land Management Wire and Water

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