The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is arguably Australia’s most iconic natural asset. But virtually all of the relevant science indicates that the GBR is in decline. While there has been a significant increase in resources dedicated to the protection of the GBR in recent years, particularly in addressing rural runoff with voluntary practice change programs, it is recognised that these alone will not be enough to meet the water quality targets. Therefore, there is an urgent need to better understand the broad magnitude of investment required and the actions and approaches that are most likely to be cost effective, in order to inform changes to the long-term management of the GBR.
This document summarises the key findings from a project to:
· Estimate the costs of undertaking a number management action based solutions sets designed to make significant progress towards the 2025 reef targets (i.e. a 20 per cent reduction in anthropogenic end-of-catchment fine sediment loads for Mackay Whitsunday and Burnett Mary with a 50 per cent reduction in the Fitzroy, Burdekin and Wet Tropics catchment by 2025; a 50 per cent reduction in anthropogenic end-of-catchment dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) for Mackay Whitsunday and Burnett Mary catchments and an 80 per cent reduction in the Burdekin and Wet Tropics catchments by 2025).
· Identify potentially more efficient pathways to achieve those targets using total and marginal abatement cost curve approaches.
We have undertaken a review of the project and are pleased to provide our comments on this version of the report. We note that our review complements an internal peer review by DEHP (completed) and a second national and international peer review process planned prior to the report’s release in July.