WWF and Premier agree farm run off is hurting reef

IT IS not every day the LNP and World Wide Fund for Nature agree on the Great Barrier Reef - even if it is only in part.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman told 4BC radio in Brisbane the biggest threat to the reef was run-off from farms - which he said the government was working with primary producers to minimise.

Defending his government's work to protect the reef, Mr Newman said "the biggest threat" to the natural wonder was from "land use practices".

"Run-off nutrients, fertilisers and sediment - that's the sort of thing that causes Crown of Thorns starfish outbreaks and that's the thing that's hurting the reef," he said.

"I am passionate about the issue."

WWF spokesman Sean Hoobin said run-off and other pollution was a major problem - although the reef faced a number of issues.

Mr Hoobin said while the government was taking action, more needed to be done.

"The government is failing to address it properly," he said.

"It is good the government recognises the threat and they are doing stuff about it but more needs to be done."

Mr Hoobin said modernising farming techniques to ensure fertiliser, top soil and chemicals stayed on-farm would help the reef and improve farming profitability.

In the face of ongoing criticism regarding the Queensland Government's record on reef protection following US President Barack Obama's speech before the G20 Summit, Mr Newman said the LNP had acted in the reef's best interest.

He said the LNP introduced a port's strategy into parliament and minimised proposed dredging at the Abbot Point port expansion.

Opposition leader Annastacia Palaszczuk announced a Labor policy last month banning dredging in the reef's world heritage area.

"Not only is it a great natural wonder, it's also vital to existing and future jobs, with reef tourism delivering $6 billion to the economy each year including $5.2 billion through the tourist industry," she said.

- APN NEWSDESK



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