The government of Queensland has passed brand new regulations on agricultural pollution despite the intense lobbying of the agricultural sector. The Great Barrier Reef is in danger, so without government protections, its condition could deteriorate even with civilian efforts to save it.
The iconic reef’s condition is suffering. It is currently at risk of being labeled as endangered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. The increasing temperatures of the water due to global warming is killing the corals. On top of that, farm sediment and chemical runoff are poisoning the ecosystem. One of the wonders of the world is dying due to local practices, and the government has realized this. In an effort to save the environment, they’re also encouraging better business practices.
Last Thursday, laws on making minor commitments to agricultural groups passed without amendment. The law is thanks to the joint effort of the federal and Queensland governments, and they’re demonstrating that urgent action is needed to save the nation’s natural wonder. The regulations concern the sediment and chemical runoff from the agricultural sector in the country. In the past, most regulations were voluntary and industry-led, so the government was not able to control the sector’s behaviour. Now, they will be able to access relevant farm data as well to ensure that each farm uses environmentally sound practices.
Many of those opposed to the bill are calling it fake and unnecessary. The state’s largest agricultural lobby group, AgForce, represents grain producers, and they have campaigned against the regulations. They back their argument with Peter Ridd’s academic work, which states that farmland pollution doesn’t damage the reefs. Despite his controversial stance and the proof that his tours are supported by the sugarcane industry managers, they continue to cite this work.
Thankfully, instead of caving to the lobbyists and their biased sourcing, the governments did what they believe is best for the environment. Concerning the farmers, they believe the regulations are necessary to ensure that all farmers change their harmful business practices. Currently, there are farmers who are doing things the right way, so the governments want to encourage this behaviour over the more common, environmentally-damaging practices.