GREAT BARRIER REEF
// Outlook Report 2014
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Heritage Strategy24, endorsed in 2005, identifies actions but does not indicate timing or priorities. The strategy is not fully implemented and has not been updated to effectively address major pressures and drivers. This is the substantive reason why the planning grading has declined since the Outlook Report 2009. There is generally a reasonable understanding by managers of the Region’s historic heritage values and an audit of historic heritage on Commonwealth islands has improved specific knowledge. Little is known about the condition and trend of shipwrecks, World War II sites and heritage places. Consequential and cumulative impacts are not well understood. Statutory heritage management plans for two lightstations are registered and development of another is underway. Policy documents relevant to historic heritage have not been updated or fully implemented. Resourcing of the management of historic heritage is generally poor. The frameworks for engagement with stakeholders, industry and the community are good, but implementation is limited due to staff resources. Knowledge of Indigenous heritage values is improving; however, information on direct, indirect and cumulative impacts is not widely available and therefore not well understood or considered by managers. The Australian Government Reef Programme Land and Sea Country Indigenous Partnerships Programme articulates a set of objectives and targets to ensure ‘continued use, support and reinvigoration of traditional ecological knowledge to underpin biodiversity conservation’. This program has met all its targets and has been extended to 2018. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s strategic plan includes specific objectives concerning working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders including in matters relevant to Indigenous heritage values. While progress has been made in engaging with key Traditional Owner groups, further work is needed to develop a mutually agreed and culturally appropriate process for joint planning. An Indigenous cultural heritage strategy would enable a shared vision to be developed with Traditional Owner groups with actions and timeframes for implementation. The protection, presentation and transmission of the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area are integrated into most activities to protect and manage the Region. The attributes that make up the property’s outstanding universal value are articulated, and risks, threats and management progress are closely monitored and annually reported through State Party reports.
The Region’s heritage values are better defined and there is an increasing management focus.