Cost to Fix the Reef

The Queensland Government has received the results from a ground breaking project, which was commissioned to analyse what it would cost to reach the 2025 Great Barrier Reef targets.

The ‘Costs of achieving the water quality targets for the Great Barrier Reef’ study was the final piece of work to come from the Great Barrier Reef Science Taskforce that was established in 2015 to advise the Government on how to meet it's water quality targets and also invest an additional $90 million in funding.

The costings report was produced by a consortium of economic and water quality experts led by Alluvium Consulting. It is the first attempt to establish comprehensive and robust estimates of what it will cost to meet the 2025 Reef targets.

The study investigated the cost of seven policy options for reducing sediment and nitrogen run-off across the reef catchments. These included:

  1. Land management and practice change for cane and grazing
  2. Improved irrigation practices
  3. System repair: Gully remediation
  4. System repair: Streambank repair
  5. Wetland construction
  6. System repair: Changes to land use
  7. Urban stormwater management

While there are other potential solutions these were the only ones focussed on in the study.

Based on these current policy solutions, the economic modelling in the report showed that a significant increase in investment from current levels is required to meet the regional targets for the Great Barrier Reef.

The total estimated cost to meet the targets in four out of the five regions investigated and to make good progress in the Wet Tropics by 2025 is around $8.2 billion.

The report found that it would not be possible to meet the targets in the Wet Tropics with these current policy options and that other strategies would need to be employed. The estimated cost for making good progress in this region was estimated at $298 million.

The full report is available to read online at

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