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Recognised programs and acknowledged projects

Producers participating in recognised accreditation programs or acknowledged practice change projects that align to or achieve more than the minimum practice agricultural standards are considered a lower priority for compliance inspections under the Reef protection regulations.

What is a recognised accreditation program?

There is opportunity for third party accreditation and certification programs such as industry Best Management Practice (BMP) programs to voluntarily become recognised accreditation programs for a period of up to five years.

To be granted recognition, the accreditation program must meet the following criteria:

  • have standards that are consistent with, or better than, the minimum practice agricultural standards
  • have the ability to accredit producers who comply with the program’s requirements through an independent, third party audit
  • collect, manage and report information about the operation of the program
  • have governance and administration arrangements for the ownership, operation and management of the program
  • regularly review and update the program
  • maintain a register of accredited lands and provide this to the department (such as landholder contact and business details and location of the land which is the activity occurs).

To apply for program recognition, please contact the Office of the Great Barrier Reef, telephone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or email officeofthegbr@des.qld.gov.au.

What is the benefit of becoming an accredited producer?

Producers who are accredited under a recognised program are deemed to have met the minimum practice agricultural standards through an industry supported pathway.

The department will add the landholder’s details that are supplied by the program owner to a confidential list of producers who are deemed to be compliant with the regulated standards and, therefore, the lowest priority for compliance inspections.

Producers will remain on this list while their accreditation is current and their accreditation program maintains its recognition under the regulations (up to five years).

Producers who are involved in, or seeking to be involved in, an industry accreditation program should confirm with the program owner whether the program is, or is proposed to be, formally recognised under the regulations.

What is an acknowledged practice change project?

Projects that work with producers to improve one or more farming practices that directly reduce nutrient and sediment run-off from agricultural properties in the Reef regions can apply to become an acknowledged practice change project.

To become an acknowledged practice change project, the project must:

  • support producers who undertake actions that directly reduce nutrient and sediment run-off from their property in a Reef region
  • promote actions that are consistent with, and do not contravene, the Reef protection regulations
  • include processes to ensure participants are aware of their obligation to meet all minimum practice agricultural standards
  • record and provide details of consenting participants to the department.

To apply for project acknowledgement, please contact the Office of the Great Barrier Reef, telephone 13 QGOV (13 74 68) or email officeofthegbr@des.qld.gov.au.

What is the benefit of participating in an acknowledged practice change project?

Producers who are involved in an acknowledged practice change project will be considered a lower priority for compliance inspections while they are actively involved in the project.

Acknowledged practice change projects help producers to adopt or change specific farming practices, e.g. nutrient management with the aim of improving water quality outcomes.

While the project may target only one or more practices that align to the minimum practice agricultural standards, producers need to ensure they comply with all standards.

The project owner will seek consent from participants for their details to be provided to the department. The department will add the landholder’s details to its confidential list for consideration as compliance inspections are prioritised.

Producers who are involved in, or are seeking to be involved in, a practice change project should confirm with the project owner whether the project has been granted acknowledgement by the department.

Why is data collected and how is confidential information treated?

The department undertakes compliance activities under the Environmental Protection Act 1994.

In order for properties to be treated as a lower priority for compliance, the producer or operator needs to share their property details with the department. This information is limited and includes:

  • property address
  • a description of the land on which the activity occurs
  • ABN/ACN
  • contact information
  • the term of accreditation or project term
  • for accredited persons, any terms and condition aligned with their accreditation.

Details about farming practices undertaken on the land are not provided to the department.

This information sharing only applies for the period of accreditation or participation in the acknowledged practice change project.

Information is stored on a secure site only accessible to authorised Queensland Government officers. Personal information will not be disclosed by the department to any other parties, or for any purpose other than that for which it was collected, without the producer’s consent or unless the department is required by law to disclose it. Individual property data cannot be published or made public in any way.

For further information about privacy and consent, please contact your accreditation program provider or project provider.

You can also contact the department at officeofthegbr@des.qld.gov.au or call 13 QGOV (13 74 68). For further privacy information visit your privacy or email privacy@des.qld.gov.au.

Reporting on management practice change

Separate to the Reef protection regulations, some programs and projects may supply data with landholder consent on land management practices to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries through the Paddock to Reef Integrated Monitoring, Modelling and Reporting program. This informs the annual Reef water quality report cards which show industry progress towards the Reef water quality targets.

This data cannot be accessed for compliance activities.