Queensland Reef Water Quality Program

With the Great Barrier Reef under increasing pressure from a number of threats, improving Reef water quality is a key priority for the Queensland Government.

When it comes to the long-term survival of the Reef, the most manageable impact is reducing pollutant run-off to local waterways. In particular, sediment, nutrients and pesticides affect the health of coral and seagrass ecosystems.

The government has committed $270.1 million over five years to 2025–2026 to continue the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program which funds a range of projects working with industry, agricultural producers and communities. Initially developed in response to the recommendations of the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce, the program over the next five years is the result of the considered evaluation of the previous five years of activity, building on successes and accelerating progress towards water quality targets.

The program includes projects that:

  • support the agricultural industry, driving practice change through Reef protection regulations, voluntary support programs for sugarcane, bananas, grazing, grains and horticulture, and tailored extension support
  • deliver on-ground land restoration projects to stop sediment flowing to the Reef and harness environmental markets
  • focus on innovative approaches to addressing water quality impacts through the Reef Technology and Innovation Fund, with a focus on urban and industrial sources
  • support threatened species recovery in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Funding has also been allocated for expansion of the Reef Assist program, the Agricultural Extension Work Placement Program, science and research projects and monitoring progress through Reef wide and regional report cards.

While the main sources of water pollution come from agriculture, urban and industrial areas can create concentrated pollution that has important local impacts. We are also working with councils and the urban development industry to better manage urban run-off.

Everyone living and working on land that drains into local rivers and streams that flow into the Reef and all visitors to the Reef can also help to improve water quality.

If you want to learn more about the current and previous projects, visit the Collection of Reef and Land (CORAL) database. Information can be sorted via a searchable project list or through an interactive map.

More information

Investment plan and annual report

In 2017, a Queensland Reef Water Quality Program Investment Plan 2017–2018 to 2021–2022 (PDF, 1.7 MB) (five-year investment plan) was produced describing the key areas of activity and investment for the program aligned to the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan. An annual report and updated investment plan are also produced each year. The investment plan sets out the anticipated activities and investment for the current financial year. The annual report presents the investment and achievements for the previous financial year.

The Queensland Government has allocated an additional $270.1 million to continue the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program to 2025–2026. A 2021–22 Investment Plan was not prepared while the next phase of the program was under development. A new Queensland Reef Water Quality Investment Plan is being prepared and will detail the planned investment for the coming financial years.

2020–2021 and 2021–2022






Taskforce Resources