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New environmental rules explained for Mackay farmers

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Online information sessions will soon go live to help Mackay farmers understand new environmental rules aimed at protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

According to the Queensland Environment Department, poor water quality from catchments is one of the biggest threats to the reef.

Farmers need to pass a sustainability test.

From June 1, farmers in reef regions will need an environmental permit before starting or expanding any cropping or horticulture work.

Environment Minister Meaghan Scanlon says the reef is responsible for driving $6 billion into the economy and creates 60,000 jobs.

“That’s why we’re working with the industry to reduce pollution on the reef, but also to help producers make their farms more sustainable and profitable.

“These information sessions are a great opportunity for farmers to ask questions about the new regulations and get further clarification on how they can implement these rules," Ms Scanlon says.

A 2019 Reef Water Quality Report Card, released earlier this year, has shown better water quality is the result of improved farming practices across reef regions.

Ms Scanlon says the new measures will allow for more growth in the agricultural industry and further reduce pollution.

“Sugarcane and banana growers in the Wet Tropics and Burdekin regions were the main contributors to this positive 2018-2019 result through improving their nutrient and irrigation management,” she says.

To register for an online session via Zoom and learn more about the new regulations visit https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/agriculture/sustainable-farming/reef/reef-regulations/producers/cropping.