Influences on Stakeholder Attitudes towards Government’s Great Barrier Reef Regulations

A Scoping Review for the Case of Sugar Cane Farmers in Queensland


  • Martin Drennan
  • Josephine Pryce



Environmental Protection, Great Barrier Reef, Attitudes, Sugarcane Farmers, Runoff, Heuristic Decision-Making


The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) off Australia’s east coast is a globally significant marine environment under threat from polluted runoff resulting from adjacent sugarcane farming (Waterhouse et al., 2017). Sustained efforts and investment by all levels of Government over 20 years have challenged the Queensland Sugar Industry to transition towards more sustainable farming practices and reduce non-point source (NPS) pollutant levels from reaching the GBR. In light of the issues outlined by UNESCO concerning the protection of the GBR in its 2011 and 2012 reports (UNESCO, 2011, 2012) and existing government regulations, a scoping review was undertaken to identify the conceptualisation of farmer attitudes to environmental protection, specifically the attitudes to protecting the GBR. It revealed that predominant policy mechanisms across countries are focused on voluntary adoption instruments to mitigate NPS pollution. The review showed that no policy or policy combinations are universally effective in reducing NPS pollution across farmer populations within given geographical locations. It identified behavioural theories that underpin factors influencing the adoption of pro-environmental practices. Additionally, it was found that farmers are heterogeneous in beliefs and attitudes, responding differently to different incentive options and challenging policy framing. Reviewing existing factors surrounding best management practice (BMP) adoption mechanisms exposes additional behavioural concepts, which could lead to improved approaches. Therefore, it is argued for the importance of conducting further research that will advance innovative strategies for achieving balances between the actions of farmers and the sustainability of the environment.


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How to Cite

Drennan, M., & Pryce, J. (2022). Influences on Stakeholder Attitudes towards Government’s Great Barrier Reef Regulations: A Scoping Review for the Case of Sugar Cane Farmers in Queensland . Journal of Resilient Economies (ISSN: 2653-1917), 2(1).