GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
The 2013 State Planning Policy18 defines the Queensland Government’s policies about matters of state interest in land use planning and development. It recognises biodiversity, coastal environment, cultural heritage, water quality and natural hazards as some of the state interests and sets out outcomes and requirements in relation to each. Guidelines support the policy by including model assessment codes for coastal development and further explanation on how the policy outcomes can be achieved at regional and local level. The new policy framework has not been in effect long enough to assess its effectiveness in supporting the management of coastal development to protect the Region. While some coastal areas are protected through tenure such as protected areas, this does not provide confidence that the Region’s values are being protected. It is not clear how risks such as the loss of coastal wetlands and modification of floodplains are addressed or mitigated under the new state planning policy. The provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and, in some cases, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act, address the environmental impacts of some coastal works. As a result of the Outlook Report 2009, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority developed a comprehensive report, Informing the Outlook for the Great Barrier Reef Coastal Ecosystems19. It provides an effective context for management, describing the functioning of the Reef’s coastal ecosystems, as well as their threats, pressures, risks and trends. Vulnerability assessments for coastal ecosystems have been undertaken. There is a reasonable understanding of the direct and indirect impacts associated with the development of coastal ecosystems, though there has been little quantification of these impacts. Consequential and cumulative impacts require better understanding and monitoring. Targets and performance measures for coastal ecosystems are included in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s biodiversity conservation strategy13, but they lack outcome targets, and cannot address coastal development due to jurisdictional responsibilities. The joint Australian and Queensland government Reef Water Quality Protection Plan20 (Reef Plan), which focuses on agricultural land-based run-off, contains performance measures relating to coastal ecosystems. Stakeholder engagement on coastal ecosystem management is increasing, including through Reef Plan activities, the Australian Government Reef Programme and the Reef Guardian partnerships of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. There is a lack of consistent goals and objectives to guide coastal development across all the agencies and sectors.
It is too early to judge the effectiveness of changes to coastal development policy.
Understanding of connectivity between the Region and its adjacent coast has improved.
Improved land management practices are reducing pollutant loads into the Region
7.3.11 Land-based run-off
The Queensland Government has overall legislative responsibility for the management of land-based run-off in the Great Barrier Reef catchment. Healthy Water Management Plans are a legislative tool that implements water quality actions. There are additional major programs, coordinated through Reef Plan, aimed at improving the quality of land-based run-off through improved land management practices, as well as supporting research and monitoring programs. These on-ground activities, supported by education, community awareness, stewardship and best practice activities are managed through partnerships between the Queensland Government, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Australian Government Department of the Environment, regional natural resource management bodies, landholders and industry groups.