The Queensland government celebrated the rebate as a boost for farmers, but it’s now on the chopping block.
A $ 10 million program designed to help protect the Great Barrier Reef was called a “flop” after less than 0.1% of available funds were accessed.
The Farming in Reef Catchment Rebate Scheme was created in 2019 to help reduce destructive runoff to the iconic tourist region by providing funds to seek professional advice for nutrient and sediment management.
It aimed to limit the devastation of the vulnerable reef caused by nearby ranchers, sugarcane growers and banana growers, with an offer of up to $ 1,000 each.
But in the three fiscal years it has been available, only $ 3,849.50 has been accessed, forcing Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon to revisit the program.
Opposition environment spokesman Sam O’Connor blasted the ineffectiveness of the reimbursement, saying it was another example of the Palaszczuk government’s failure to keep its promises to protect the environment.
“In addition to Queensland’s carbon emissions which have been increasing since 2015 and having the smallest amount of protected areas of any state, this is another example of how Labor is all talking about the environment. “, did he declare.
Mr O’Connor said the low use of the shed showed the government “was not serious about protecting the reef or helping farmers improve their practices.”
Frustration was shared by State Greens MP Michael Berkman, who said “once again it looks like Labor can talk but not walk when it comes to protecting the reef”.
“Alongside climate change – made worse by Labor and Liberals approving new coal and gas projects – the Queensland government’s insufficient progress on water quality and land management have been the main reasons why UNESCO has recommended that the reef be listed as “endangered” this year, “he said. .
The Maiwar MP applauded the regulatory changes introduced by the Palaszczuk government in 2019 to improve agricultural standards and protect the reef.
But he has since said “very little has really changed so I’m not surprised this pattern is a flop.”
“Press releases and discounts are fine, but they won’t save the reef – it requires real and urgent government action to reduce emissions and enforce water quality regulations,” Berkman said.
Ms Scanlon said Palaszczuk’s government is committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef, which supports 60,000 jobs and injects $ 6 billion into the economy.
“This is why we are working with the industry to reduce pollution on the reef but also to help producers make their farms more sustainable and profitable,” she said.
“Farming in Reef Catchments rebate program funding remains available to growers, and I encourage them to register up to $ 1,000 to help them manage nutrients and sediment while we review the program as well.
“We have also launched a number of initiatives, including grants to help farmers adopt new technologies and approaches that are not only more environmentally friendly, but will make their operations more profitable.