Evaluating a new model for the integrated delivery of Reef water quality outcomes by the agricultural sector and NRM organisations in Queensland

Mr Adam Knapp, Ms Emily Maher, Mr Geoff Park, Ms Anna Roberts, Ms Carole Sweatman

1Queensland Farmers’ Federation, Brisbane, Australia


Government environmental funding is typically provided to regional natural resource management (NRM) or industry organisations who work with local partners and/or landholders to plan and implement actions for public good outcomes. This is no different for Great Barrier Reef (GBR) programs and whilst organisations across the reef catchments have worked in partnership for some years, each largely run their projects independently with differing processes. In 2016, twelve NRM and industry organisations, known as the Reef Alliance, were successful in applying for a single reef wide integrated project totalling $45.5 million. The three year project supports nearly 2,000 farmers and graziers over 1,841,480ha across 33 catchments adapt practices that improve water quality outcomes for the GBR.

In Australia there are very few examples where collaborative NRM projects have been implemented on this scale, let alone be subject to a robust evaluation. As such, it is vital that the Reef Alliance (RA) delivery model is evaluated to determine if it provides a more cost-effective and efficient way of delivering NRM projects.

Establishing and implementing a monitoring and evaluation framework against best practice criteria to deliver a large scale NRM project will provide a method against which this project and other collaborative initiatives can evaluate their impact.

Engaging the RA partners in revising the framework and collecting information is vital in getting buy-in and acceptance on why robustly evaluating the delivery model is important to guide the implementation of future GBR investment.


Adam joined Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) in 2008, and brings with him fifteen years’ experience in policy and project management of environmental initiatives and sustainability issues in agricultural industries in Australia. He has travelled regularly throughout Queensland and interstate in training and mediation roles with primary producers. Prior to that Adam worked for the National Native Tribunal in Brisbane and Sydney which involved assisting in finding resolutions between indigenous groups, landholders and government stakeholders. Adam currently manages the Environment and Natural Resource Management portfolio for QFF and manages a $45M project to support farmers and graziers improve their practices across Great Barrier Reef catchments.