AP Photo - Queensland Tourism

Canegrowers says 2016 reef report card will show improvement

CANEGROWERS chairman Paul Schembri says it is disappointing to see low numbers on the  Great Barrier Reef scorecard, which indicates that progress has slowed.

"We will work closely with government to get to the bottom of this," he said.

 "We need to understand how the figures were arrived at and identify any external factors which may have impacted on this result.

"(The) report card is based on modelling up until the middle of last year, and we believe that a huge amount of process has been made over the last 12 months in particular. 

"We are looking forward to next year's scorecard which is expected to show an even greater stride forward by the sugar industry. 

"The cane industry has been working closely with both the Queensland Government and Australian Government to do its part for the health of the Great Barrier Reef."

"The actions on ground by cane growers through the Australian Governments Reef Programme and its predecessor Reef Rescue will continue to have a legacy for water quality on the Great Barrier Reef.  In the last 12 months, this has been spurred along by momentum in the Smartcane BMP program, with nearly 30% of growers already working their way through the program."

Mr Schembri said more than a thousand growers were now registered in the sugarcane industry's best management practices program, which is supported by the State Government. 

"More than 820 of these farm businesses have completed their first major milestone of self-assessment in one or more modules," he said.

"That equates to almost 223,000 hectares of irrigated and dryland sugarcane farms now on the road to having their current good management recognised and further improvements identified. These numbers mean that half the area under sugarcane in Queensland is now represented in the BMP program and growers managing 40% of Queensland's sugarcane area have completed self-assessment in the core modules that address soil health and nutrients, weed and pest management, and irrigation and drainage.

"The sugar industry is proud of the buy in by growers in a relatively short period of time, and recognises that the industry will continue to strive for a solution which delivers on farm productivity and does our bit to improve water quality."



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