Previous Consultations

Proposed methodology for accounting reduction in nutrient run-off through managed fertilizer application

This proposed methodology is closed for public comment. Thank you to everyone who contributed a written submission. All your input is extremely valuable.

We are currently processing all the feedback received during the public consultation and peer review process and will update the website with the results in due course.

Summary description of proposed methodology

This methodology quantifies the reduction in Dissolved Inorganic Nitrogen (DIN) lost from agricultural land through improved soil and nutrient management practices within the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (GBRWHA).

The scope of this methodology includes reducing DIN loss through more efficient soil and nutrient management practices from agricultural enterprises including (but not limited to) sugarcane, bananas, grains and fodder. The methodology allows for a range of practice changes, including land use change, that lead to a reduction in DIN loss across the project area.

There are a number of ways a farmer may reduce DIN loss within the project area. For example:
• Matching nitrogen application rate to expected crop yields at farm or paddock scale;
• Reduce nitrogen fertiliser application rate;
• Increase areas under fallow;
• Improve fertiliser delivery practices; or
• Conversion to land use with a lower or zero nitrogen surplus

This methodology is not limited to the above management practices, but the project must provide a Land Management Plan that describes the proposed land management activities for the project duration.

Reef Credit Standard and Guide Public Consultation Summary – March 2019

Thank you to everyone who contributed a written submission or comment and to all those who attended a meeting. All your input is extremely valuable.

Where appropriate, revisions have been made to the draft Reef Credit Standard and Guide which are now available in final version for use during the Beta phase (next 12months):

Reef Credit Standard Version 1.0
Reef Credit Guide Version 1.0

Compilations of all written submissions received by the Secretariat during the public consultation process for the draft Reef Credit Standard and Guide are available now. These documents include detailed responses to each suggestion, comment or question and are available below:

Reef Credit Standard Comments received during the Public Consultation Nov 2018-Dec 2018
Reef Credit Guide Comments received during the Public Consultation Nov 2018-Dec 2018

The Consultation Process

On 12 November 2018, the Reef Credit Secretariat published the draft Reef Credit Standard and Guide on the website ( and invited comment on the draft documents. A series of public consultations were held over the ensuing four weeks in Canberra, Brisbane, Yeppoon, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville, and Cairns. Meetings were held with representatives from state, federal and local government, agricultural industry, environmental non-government organisations, and research institutions.

The Secretariat received a total of 22 comments on the draft Reef Credit Guide and 116 comments on the draft Reef Credit Standard, from multiple organisations.

Summary of submissions and responses

Some common questions raised in submissions related to the:
1. Additionality test (content and application);
2. Verification (auditing) process;
3. Process for establishing equivalence between different types of pollutants; and
4. Process for establishing baselines.

These comments were dealt with as follows:

1. Additionality test (content and application). The content of the additionality test is clarified to provide that “All Reef Credit generated pollution reductions and removals must be over and above:
1) a business as usual scenario;
2) legal requirements (e.g. regulatory standards threshold for compliance, or activities required by a conservation covenant); and
3) what is already funded to occur ( i.e. satisfy the financial additionality test).”

The definition of ‘business as usual’ has been revised to refer to “water pollutant reductions that would have occurred in the absence of the Reef Credit Project”. This is to make it clear that the change must be attributable to the incentive provided by the Scheme.

In a situation where there are overlapping programs (such as carbon projects), the financial additionality test will be applied by the independent verifier to determine whether the project is eligible to receive Reef Credits.

Further, Methodologies may adopt any of the following further approaches to the assessment of additionality: a. Implementation barriers (investment barrier, technology barrier or institutional barriers); b. Common practice; or; c. Performance benchmark.

2. Verification (auditing) process. The verifier must meet the eligibility requirements set out in the Standard for accreditation. The verifier attests that the requirements of the Standard and Methodology have been met in relation to the Reef Credit Project.

3. Process for establishing equivalence between different types of pollutants. The DIN amount is used as the base unit of measure or reference to create proportional equivalence or relative value (rather than functional equivalence) between pollutants in relation to the targets.

4. Process for establishing baselines. The process for establishing baselines will be dealt with in the Methodologies. A project must describe the project baseline scenario in accordance with the requirements of the relevant Methodology and must be reasonably assured during validation and verification.