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Burnett Mary regional summary

The Burnett Mary region covers approximately 53,000km² and encompasses the southern extent of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Sandy Straits World Heritage Area. The region also includes Fraser Island; the largest sand island in the world. The region has a moderate subtropical climate. The main agricultural land uses are grazing (65%) and sugarcane (2%) with some horticulture (approximately 0.1%).

The Burnett Mary Region experienced above median rainfall in the 2009–2010 year. This report card measures progress from the 2009 baseline towards Reef Water Quality Protection Plan (Reef Plan) goals and targets. It assesses the combined results of all Reef Plan actions up to June 2010. Report cards are produced as part of the Paddock to Reef program.

The regional Natural Resource Management body, the Burnett Mary Regional Group, is working with industry and land holders to improve land management practices for improved water quality outcomes. This improved water quality will reduce the degrading impacts upon coastal habitats, including estuaries, seagrass and coral found in the Great Barrier Reef.


Key findings

  • The overall condition of the marine environment in 2009–2010 was poor. Inshore water quality was moderate, while seagrass meadows were in poor condition.
  • Overall, progress towards Reef Plan targets has been encouraging; however it will take time for these achievements to translate into improved marine condition.
  • 10% of graziers, 18% of horticulture producers and 25% of sugarcane growers have adopted improved land management practices.
  • The Burnett Mary region had the greatest proportional loss of wetlands and riparian forest of all Great Barrier Reef regions. This was mainly due to conversion of swamps for agriculture and some urban use.
  • The great proportional catchment load reduction was the pesticide load with an estimated 219kg (14%) less.
  • The significant progress has been driven primarily by the Australian Government’s Reef Rescue program along with Queensland Government and industry-led initiatives.

Table: Burnett Mary progress and status


Paddock to Reef program

The Paddock to Reef program, funded jointly by the Australian and Queensland Governments, is a highly innovative approach to integrating monitoring and modelling information on management practices, catchment indicators, catchment loads and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

Progress towards targets


Last updated:
27 August, 2014

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