The 25-Year Strategic Plan

In 1994, The 25-Year Strategic Plan for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area (and its appendices) was produced.

It outlines strategies for managing and preserving the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, and provides the basis to ensure wise use and protection of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area for the future.

The Strategic Plan gave everyone who has a stake in the Reef’s long-term future a say in how the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is to be managed over the next 25 years. This approach will ensure the Reef remains in a healthy state and can be enjoyed by future generations.

From the beginning, emphasis was placed on the concerns and opinions of all stakeholders. These included governments, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, conservationists, scientists, recreational users and established Reef industries such as fishing, shipping and tourism.

Overall, the Strategic Plan was endorsed by almost 70 organisations representing all levels of government, recreational and commercial users, conservation and scientific groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Through the Strategic Plan one of the Authority’s basic beliefs comes to life: the Great Barrier Reef belongs to everyone and should be managed by everyone to ensure a healthy Reef for the future.

The overall vision for the Plan states that:

In the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area in 25 years there will be:

  • A healthy environment: an Area which maintains its diversity of species and habitats, and its ecological integrity and resilience, parts of which are in pristine condition.
  • Sustainable multiple use
  • Maintenance and enhancement of values
  • Integrated management
  • Knowledge-based but cautious decision making in the absence of information
  • An informed, involved, committed community.

To realise this vision, the plan identifies eight broad strategy areas:

   1. Conservation
   2. Resource Management
   3. Education, Communication, Consultation and Commitment
   4. Research and Monitoring
   5. Integrated Planning
   6. Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Interests
   7. Management Processes
   8. Legislation

For each of these broad areas, the Plan provides the Rationale, 25-Year Objective, 5-Year Objectives and strategies to fulfill these objectives.

Overall, the essence of the report is ‘The Great Barrier Reef - Keeping it Great’. Its aim is to guarantee that ‘...this unique region is passed on to the future as it should be - an outstanding part of Australia’s heritage, cared for by Australians for the benefit of the whole world'.