Strategic assessment - Great Barrier Reef

Endorsement

On 11 August 2014 both the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Government final Strategic Assessment Programs were endorsed under part 10 of the EPBC Act.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority:

Queensland Government:

The final Program Reports and supporting strategic assessment documentation are available on:

Consultation on the draft reports for the comprehensive strategic assessment has now closed

Draft strategic assessment and program reports prepared by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Government were released for public consultation on 1 November 2013 until 31 January 2014.

The public comment process was an opportunity for all members of the community to have a say on the future management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone.

Comments received during the consultation period are being used to inform the preparation of final reports for the Great Barrier Reef Strategic Assessment. The final reports will be provided to the Australian Minister for the Environment for consideration in mid 2014.

For copies of the draft strategic assessment report and program report prepared by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, please go to www.gbrmpa.gov.au/have-your-say.

For copies of the draft strategic assessment report and program report prepared by the Queensland Government, please go to www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/gbr-strategic-assessment.

Public release of submissions

The Department wrote to those who provided a submission on the draft strategic assessment reports requesting permission to publicly release their submissions.

View public submissions approved for release

Independent Review

The draft strategic assessment and program reports prepared by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Government were independently reviewed. The reviews’ findings are now available in full:

Great Barrier Reef Long-Term Sustainability Plan

The Australian and Queensland governments are also working together to develop a Long-Term Sustainability Plan for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Plan will be informed by the outcomes of the comprehensive strategic assessment and guide the protection and management of this iconic World Heritage Area to 2050.

An information sheet describing the broad elements of the Plan is available:

Great Barrier Reef Long-Term Sustainability Plan – Information Sheet (PDF - 2.58 MB) | (DOCX - 6.32 MB)

The information sheet was released for public consultation on 1 November 2013 until 31 January 2014. Comments received during the consultation period are being used to inform development of a draft Great Barrier Reef Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the world's most extensive coral reef ecosystem and arguably one of the best managed marine areas in the world. At 348,000 square kilometres, the reef is one of the richest and most diverse natural ecosystems on Earth. The unique qualities of this property were recognised in 1981 when it was inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Comprehensive Strategic Assessment and Long-Term Sustainability Plan

The Australian Government and the Queensland Government have completed a comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone in accordance with section 146 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Why was a strategic assessment undertaken?

The Australian and Queensland governments are committed to ensuring the Great Barrier Reef retains the values for which it was declared a World Heritage Area and that it continues to be one of the best managed marine protected areas in the world.

The comprehensive strategic assessment has helped to identify, plan for and manage existing and emerging risks to ensure ongoing protection and management of the unique environmental values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone. This has been achieved by:

  1. investigating the adequacy of the existing management arrangements for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and
  2. assessing current and future development policies and planning in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and the adjacent coastal zone and analysing likely direct, indirect and cumulative impacts.

How was the assessment carried out?

The comprehensive strategic assessment has two key components - a marine component and a coastal component.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) led the marine component and the Queensland Government led the coastal component.

The assessment examined whether the appropriate planning processes and management arrangements are in place to ensure development occurs sustainably and does not impact unacceptably on matters of national environmental significance, including the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

Great Barrier Reef Long-Term Sustainability Plan

The Australian and Queensland governments are working together to develop a Long-Term Sustainability Plan for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The Plan will inform future development by drawing together the marine and coastal components of the comprehensive strategic assessment, providing an over-arching framework to guide the protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area from 2015 to 2050. It will target the identified areas of action from the strategic assessments and seek to address gaps important for future management of the Area.

An information sheet on the proposed scope of the Long-Term Sustainability Plan has been developed by the Australian and Queensland governments.

Great Barrier Reef Long-Term Sustainability Plan – Information Sheet (PDF - 2.58 MB) | (DOCX - 6.32 MB)

The information sheet was released for public consultation on 1 November 2013 until 31 January 2014. Comments received during the consultation period are being used to inform development of a draft Great Barrier Reef Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

The outcomes of the comprehensive strategic assessment will inform development of the Long-Term Sustainability Plan for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, which will be implemented through the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum.

Related strategic assessment documents

Research reports

The Australian Government has invested in new research to inform the comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone. This research was funded by the Sustainable Regional Development program and complements the wide variety of established research and literature also informing the strategic assessment.

The research has been targeted to address key information gaps relating to the future management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. It will provide valuable input to the Long-Term Sustainability Plan for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area that has been requested by the World Heritage Committee.

The funded projects build on the substantial research investment the Australian Government is making through the National Environmental Research Program Tropical Ecosystems Hub.

Strategic assessment agreements

Section 146 Agreement - Commonwealth of Australia and State of Queensland (PDF - 441.55 KB) | (DOCX - 121.15 KB)

Section 146 Agreement - Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (PDF - 484.65 KB) | (DOCX - 132.21 KB)

Terms of Reference

On 30 August 2013 the Australian Government environment minister approved the terms of reference for the comprehensive strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and adjacent coastal zone.

The approved terms of reference take into account public comments received on the draft terms of reference, the World Heritage Committee's decision of 6 July 2012, the report of the UNESCO World Heritage Centre - International Union for Conservation of Nature reactive monitoring mission, and consultations with GBRMPA and the Queensland Government.

Terms of Reference:

Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone

As part of the Australian Government's response to the 2012 decision of the World Heritage Committee regarding the ongoing protection and management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage property, the Australian Government commissioned an Independent Review of the Port of Gladstone.

The review is focused on the Port of Gladstone but may result in findings that are relevant to other ports adjoining the Great Barrier Reef. The outcomes of the review is informing the comprehensive strategic assessment.