Major Reef Credits purchase by Queensland Government

A landmark $10 million Reef Credits purchase by the Queensland Government will inject critical support to this emerging environmental water quality market, which is dedicated to making verifiable contributions to improving the health of the Great Barrier Reef and aiding in its long-term recovery.

Leading environmental markets project developer and investor GreenCollar, one of two organisations from which the Queensland Government has purchased Reef Credits, will draw on the extensive expertise of delivery partners Greening Australia and Neilly Group Engineering on high quality gully remediation and wetland projects to generate the Reef Credits being purchased.

A coral reef alive with fish is visible through clear blue water

Reef Credits are a market-mechanism to drive water quality improvements for the Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Nicole McLachlan / Citizens of the Great Barrier Reef.

Dr Lynise Wearne, Reef Aid Director at Greening Australia, said: “These will be the first Reef Credits generated by one of our gully remediation projects, but we’ve been delivering projects to prevent fine sediment pollutants from reaching the Reef since 2016. So we know these projects make a significant, and immediate, impact for water quality.”

“By working closely with First Nations peoples, farmers and communities, these projects can deliver long-term sustainable, social, cultural, environmental and economic benefits too – especially now with the added incentive of generating Reef Credits for purchase.”

An aerial view of an eroding gully that is being reshaped by a dozer. Utility vehicles and people dressed in high vis can also be seen watching the works in progress.

Projects to generate Reef Credits, for example by remediating eroding gullies like this one, can deliver a range of social, cultural, environmental and economic outcomes by closely involving local stakeholders.

Carole Sweatman, GreenCollar’s General Manager of Water, said: “This strategic investment in Reef Credits by the Queensland Government is extremely significant in terms of building market confidence, coming as it does on top of the 40,000 Reef Credits GreenCollar has already generated and already sold to a mix of investors.”

“Investments of this size are really important and positive for landholders in the Reef catchment areas, so farmers, graziers and landholders can participate in, and undertake their projects, knowing demand for the Reef Credits generated from them is growing.”

“This Reef Credits purchase is not only playing an invaluable role in encouraging private sector investment into the Great Barrier Reef, it is instrumental in supporting Queensland agriculture and improving the health of this vast and vital World Heritage ecosystem.”

A grazier and a Greening Australia team member stand talking to each other on the edge of a remediated gully where vegetation cover has been re-established.

It’s important that landholders participating in projects to generate Reef Credits can feel confident in the market demand, and for investors to be confident of the impact that’s being made. Photo: Toby Peet.

Reef Credits are generated from land management projects – specifically gully remediation and nutrient efficiency projects – run in partnership with a wide range of farmers, graziers and landholders on agricultural properties in the Reef catchment area.

These projects are dedicated to improving water quality by reducing run-off of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) and fine sediment from making its way into the Great Barrier Reef. One Reef Credit corresponds to a kilogram of DIN or 538 kilograms of fine sediment prevented from entering the reef.

Reef Credits are sold to businesses, investors, philanthropists and governments that are either striving to reach water quality targets or to achieve corporate sustainability outcomes. In this manner, Reef Credits also provide land managers with a diversified income stream, which they can reinvest into ongoing farm practice improvements in the Queensland agricultural industry – including more efficient fertiliser usage, repairing gullies or installing wetlands – all of which improve water quality.

An aerial view of an installed wetland among canefields. It clearly drains into a river, which vanishes into the sea visible on the horizon.

Income from water quality credit sales can provide land managers with an alternative income stream and enable further practice improvements, such as installing water treatment wetlands like this one. Photo: Toby Peet.

“What happens on land impacts what happens at sea,” said Dr Wearne. “It’s fundamental for investors to make the connection that taking practical action for the health of the Reef needs to happen kilometres inland, stopping water pollutants at the source, keeping soil and nutrients on the land.”

“Together, our Reef Aid projects with landholders and First Nations Peoples are already preventing well over 31,000 tonnes of fine sediment and nutrients from reaching the Reef per year. By 2030 we want to hit 475,000 tonnes. This is the kind of acceleration the Reef, its catchments and communities need to be able to mitigate the effects of climate change and biodiversity loss.”

“This major Reef Credits purchase from the Queensland Government is a vital step in creating a thriving environmental market for water quality credits, hopefully catalysing greater and more sustained private investment to scale up these nature-based solutions.”

Landholders who are interested in working with us on gully remediation or wetland projects to generate Reef Credits from their holdings can register interest via our landholder portal.

To make a Reef Credits purchase or enquire about investing in Greening Australia’s Nature-based Solutions, please complete this contact form.


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