Applications for Reef Trust open

Monday January 20 2015, 1:30pm

Farmers across Far North Queensland can now apply for the $5 million Reef Trust Tender—Wet Tropics programme.

Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch urged farmers to apply for the program, which aims to improve water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.

“Over two hundred farmers registered an expression of interest last year and can now apply for funds to improve their farm’s nitrogen use efficiency,” said Mr Entsch.

“Farmers are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to submit a tender application to trial improvements in their fertiliser management practices.”

Environment minister Greg Hunt said the Reef Trust Tender was one of a number of programmes by the Australian Government, in partnership with other agencies, industry and communities, to achieve a common goal – protecting and managing the reef for current and future generations.

“This is an innovative approach to help farmers trial improved fertiliser management, leading to cost-effective and long-term reduction in nitrogen fertiliser runoff entering the waters of the Great Barrier Reef,” said Mr Hunt.

“Nitrogen runoff from farms is a major factor affecting the health of the Great Barrier Reef and is linked to outbreaks of the damaging crown-of-thorns starfish.”

The programme is unique in its flexibility, allowing farmers to put forward a proposal and asking price to the Australian Government that meets their individual business needs and circumstances.

Terrain NRM, the programme’s delivery partner, is available to provide registered farmers with information and on ground support where needed.

Cane farmers who registered an expression of interest are invited to submit a tender application by 19 February 2015.

Tenders will be evaluated based on value for money and site visits may be conducted as part of the assessment process. Successful farmers will receive payments to implement their new fertiliser management practices from April this year.

The online tender application form, the programme’s guidelines and further information is available here.