12 March 2024.

AgForce is pleased to hear the Queensland Government’s decision to remove compulsory activity standards for the horticulture and grains sector under the Reef protection regulations.

Compulsory Agricultural Environmentally Relevant Activity standards for the grains sector were due to commence on 1 December this year. Instead, the grains sector will be able to continue adopting voluntary standards to manage their contribution to nutrient and sediment loads in the Great Barrier Reef catchment area.

Michael Guerin, AgForce CEO, said that the government should be applauded for seeking to work in a collaborative, strategic way, rather than pursuing a path of regulatory burden.

“This a great result for the grains and horticulture industries that recognises the impressive progress these sectors have made in their voluntary approach to practice improvement,” said Mr Guerin.

“It is heartening to hear that the Queensland Government has taken the voluntary, collaborative and co-design route AgForce has long advocated for and sits alongside a similar approach taken to the Low Emissions Pathway.”

“Add grazing and cane to the voluntary standards and watch industry roar ahead across the commodities,” challenged Mr Guerin in applauding the Government's changes.

Long-term regulation of the grains industry will now be assessed more strategically as part of preparing the updated Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan, which is currently under review.

The Queensland Department of Environment, Science and Innovation will engage with AgForce Queensland as part of the review.