Reef credits scheme to benefit farmers

Reef credits to pay farmers for improving water quality

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Queensland farmers are set to receive financial gains in exchange for their efforts to improve water quality in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

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Tully cane farmer Jamie Dore has sold Queensland's first reef credits to HSBC Australia and the state government.

Tully cane farmer Jamie Dore has sold Queensland's first reef credits to HSBC Australia and the state government.

Queensland farmers are set to receive financial gains in exchange for their efforts to improve water quality in Great Barrier Reef catchments.

Similar to Australia's carbon credits scheme, reef credits will be paid to landholders who are able to improve water quality while maintaining the productivity of their land.

The scheme has been developed by GreenCollar in conjunction with landholders, natural resource management groups and the state government.

HSBC Australia and the Queensland government will be the first private and public sector buyers of reef credits, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk committing $10 million to the initiative.

Fourth-generation Tully cane farmer Jamie Dore is the first to receive payment for his reef credits.

Mr Dore generated his credits by preventing more than 3000 kilograms of nitrogen from entering the Great Barrier Reef catchment through on-farm activities such as fertiliser management.

"Farmers and graziers are important stewards of the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Dore said.

"Reef credits recognise the value of the work undertaken by Queensland farmers and provide a valuable additional source of co-investment that isn't impacted by commodity prices and doesn't compromise existing agricultural practices."

Queensland Farmers' Federation CEO Dr Georgina Davis said the scheme would enable farmers to continue to make meaningful practice change and achieve the best environmental, social and economic outcomes.

"The reef is one of the most spectacular and complex natural systems on earth and agriculture has been, and remains, committed to doing its bit to ensure to the longevity and prosperity of the environment and our sector," Dr Davis said.

"Collaborative partnerships such as the reef credit scheme, working in conjunction with agriculture industry Best Management Practice programs, have seen an exponential increase in farmer participation."

GreenCollar is an environmental market developer and investor, who estimate the market could be worth more than six million reef credits by 2030.

Co-founder and CEO James Schultz said the scheme was a viable market-based solution to put the environment on the balance sheet of responsible corporations.

"The investment required to meet water quality targets for the Great Barrier Reef is estimated at $4 billion, and this announcement provides an exciting opportunity for corporations, landholders and government alike to make their own contributions to this target," Mr Schultz said.

Ms Palaszczuk said their plan for economic recovery included protecting the Great Barrier Reef and the employment that it provides.

"We know that farmers are dedicated to good environmental management and our $10m reef credits initiative will help them to partner with us to improve the quality of water flowing onto the reef," Ms Palaszczuk said.

HSBC Australia CEO Kaber Mclean said partnerships like this were vital to achieving net zero carbon, and appropriately valuing and investing in natural capital.

"Our participation in this global first reinforces our credentials as a sustainable finance pioneer in the Australian market, as well as our commitment to safeguarding natural assets like the Great Barrier Reef," Mr Mclean said.

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