A Water Quality Hotspot has been defined as having all of the following characteristics:
- aquatic ecosystem with high ecological, social, cultural and/or recreational values;
- encompasses one or more matters of national environmental significance and is defined under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999;
- is under pressure as a result of population growth and development, disturbance of acid sulfate soils, and water quality decline; and
- is suffering ecosystem disturbance leading to habitat loss and biodiversity decline.
The Australian and Queensland Governments have agreed, through a Memorandum of Understanding to jointly develop a Reef Water Quality Protection Plan to protect the Reef from land based sources of pollution. The Plan will build on previous and ongoing processes undertaken by the two Governments to address issues that relate to this threat, including work undertaken by the Reef Protection Taskforce.
* Note: Between 2002 and 2008, the Australian Government provided funding for the Coastal Catchments Initiative (CCI), a national program designed to improve and protect water quality in coastal water quality hotspots, by promoting competent water quality planning. An outcome of this funding was the development of Water Quality Improvement Plans and Associated Projects in coastal hotspots around Australia.