Extension and education program

Management practice change, education and extension in reef catchments

‘…transformational change is needed…. The challenge is to lead and manage a much needed and significant practice and management change program across a vast 51, GBR Water Science Taskforce Final Report May 2016 (PDF, 3.82MB)

With regard to extension and practice change, the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce (the Taskforce) recommended that the Queensland Government:

  • restore capacity in extension service across the Reef catchments
  • formalise extension and advice networks and define leadership and roles across local delivery organisation for whole-of-farm business approaches, incorporating Reef health outcomes
  • support ongoing training programs and career development for accredited extension advisers
  • make greater use of more innovative approaches and technologies
  • partner with industry to develop large-scale practice change programs.

In response to the recommendations in this report, the Queensland Government (under the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program) has committed to invest in more effective, targeted and coordinated extension and large scale practice change programs.

The Department of Environment and Science and Department of Agriculture and Fisheries are working on these activities jointly, and commissioned an independent review of existing extension services.

This review was undertaken by independent consultants who have now submitted their report to the Queensland Government. The recommendations contained within the report, Practice change, Education and Extension in Reef Catchments (PDF, 1.39MB) will help guide the investment priorities under the Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan.

The detailed response to the independent review and report (PDF, 1.04MB) informs the coordination and delivery of extension services and projects, and provides support for improved networking, collaboration and awareness of extension activities across reef catchments. The document also indicates the allocation of funding to implement the required actions for responding to the Taskforce recommendations. A snapshot of the response (PDF, 1.5MB) is also available.

The Queensland Government has already commenced a number of projects in response to Taskforce recommendations.

Firstly, a pilot capacity building project, administered by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, has been implemented to:

  1. deliver a training program for existing extension staff tailored to meet the needs of specific catchments
  2. allocate up to six graduates for training and mentoring with host organisations experienced in extension delivery across Reef catchments
  3. undertake a robust evaluation of the project for advice on future programs and investment.

Secondly, a project to enhance extension coordination across the Great Barrier Reef catchments has been developed. This project will facilitate improved coordination, collaboration, networking and outcomes of activities and projects located in Great Barrier Reef catchments, through a network of extension coordinators in the Reef regions supported by some flexible funds for priority collaborative extension activities. This will deliver better on-ground services for producers.

Other projects that are contributing to enhanced extension and education are:

More information

For more information about the Education and Extension program please contact Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or email

For information about the Taskforce Final report, their recommendations and Queensland Government response contact Office of the Great Barrier Reef, Department of Environment and Science on (07) 3330 5648, email or visit