The Reef Trust

Reef Trust News

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Reef Trust News - December 2014 (PDF - 222.1 KB)
Reef Trust News - December 2014 (DOCX - 107.37 KB)


About the Reef Trust

Great Barrier Reef

The Australian Government has committed $40 million to the Reef Trust as part of its Reef 2050 Plan election commitment. Investment in Reef Trust priorities and specific commitments will commence from July 2014. The Reef Trust is being jointly coordinated between the Australian and Queensland Governments, with advice from the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and other experts.

The Reef Trust will be one of the key mechanisms to assist in the delivery of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, and will focus on known critical areas for investment –¬ improving water quality and coastal habitat along the Great Barrier Reef, controlling the current outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish, and protecting threatened and migratory species, particularly dugong and turtles. There will be a strong focus on evaluating and adaptively managing the implementation of the Reef Trust to ensure it will contribute to the long-term sustainable management of the reef.

Frequently asked questions

Investment approach

The Reef Trust is being developed and implemented in a phased approach. An investment strategy for the initial phase has been developed to guide early investments. The investment strategy outlines the design of the Reef Trust, including its objective, outcomes and governance arrangements. The strategy also includes a number of high-priority actions identified in the Australian Government’s Reef 2050 Plan election commitment to address major threats to the Great Barrier Reef – crown-of-thorns starfish and impacts on dugong and turtles, and also two key water quality improvement projects that are based on strong scientific evidence about the key threats to the Great Barrier Reef and the effectiveness of actions that can be taken to address them.

The investment strategy has been informed by consultation with key interested parties, and the views of the Great Barrier Reef community and industry groups in response to the Reef Trust discussion paper. Submissions showed an overall support for the concept of the Reef Trust and its principles and priorities. More information about submissions on the discussion paper can be found below.

Ongoing review of the investment strategy is required to account for new threats and emerging priorities, as well as community and expert input to enable rigorous scientific and economic prioritisation of future high-priority actions for delivery through the Reef Trust. Consultation approaches will vary throughout the life of the Reef Trust to capitalise on specialist knowledge and advice that can be drawn from the community, science experts, environmental organisations, relevant industries and natural resource management organisations. A revised investment strategy will be developed over the next 12 months to inform future investment through the Reef Trust.

Interim Reef Trust investment strategy

Phase One Investment Project Updates

Reef Trust Tender – Wet Tropics

The Reef Trust Tender – Wet Tropics Programme has been identified as a phase one investment for the Reef Trust and targets the greatest water quality risk to the Great Barrier Reef: nitrogen discharge from the Wet Tropics.

Reef Trust Tender – Wet Tropics is a $5 million Programme that provides financial incentives to sugar cane farmers in the Wet Tropics to improve nitrogen use efficiency and farm sustainability. Participation in the Programme is voluntary and sugar cane farmers can determine their own nitrogen use efficiency targets and cost-effective means of achieving those targets.

The first stage of the Programme, the expression of interest stage, closed on the 18th of December 2014 with significant interest received from farmers across the Wet Tropics.

The second stage of the Programme, the Competitive Tender, is now open. Sugar cane farmers that registered their interest during the expression of interest stage are invited to apply for funding.

The Programme is delivered in partnership with the Service Provider, Terrain NRM.

Further information on Reef Trust Tender - Wet Tropics, including the Competitive Tender, key dates and the Programme guidelines can be found at:

Reef Trust discussion paper - consultation period

On 23 April, the Australian Government invited submissions on the Reef Trust discussion paper which focused on the design and implementation features of the Trust. Comments were sought to ensure the Reef Trust adopts an effective, strategic and transparent approach and that Government investment in the management of the reef continues to be delivered in partnership with the community and industry. Submissions have been considered and will further inform the Reef Trust investment approach and delivery arrangements, and shape future functioning of the Reef Trust.

This public consultation has now closed. The consultation period was from 23 April 2014 to 21 May 2014.


Submissions by interested parties on the Reef Trust discussion paper closed on 21 May 2014.

The Department would like to thank all those who provided submissions.

A summary of thematic issues raised by submissions is provided below.​

Discussion paper

General enquiries