Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement
The Australian and Queensland governments have been working together for the long-term protection and conservation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park since its inception in 1975.
This cooperative approach was formalised by the Emerald Agreement in 1979. It was updated in July 2009 with the Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement to provide a contemporary framework for cooperation between the governments, recognising challenges such as climate change and catchment water quality not foreseen at the time of the 1979 agreement.
The 2015 Agreement reflects the shared vision for the future outlined in the Reef 2050 Plan, and renews the Australian and Queensland governments' commitment to protecting the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area including its outstanding universal value.
The agreement recognises key pressures on the Reef — such as climate change impacts, catchment water quality and coastal development — cannot be effectively addressed by either government on their own.
It aims to ensure an integrated and collaborative approach is taken by the Australian and Queensland governments to manage marine and land environments within the World Heritage Area.
Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum
The Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum oversees the implementation of the Intergovernmental Agreement. This forum was previously known as the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Council, established in 1979 under the Emerald Agreement.
Under a new ministerial council system agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) on 13 February 2011, the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Council was discontinued as a formal CoAG Council. However, ministers agreed to continue to meet outside of the formal CoAG system and from 1 July 2011 the Council has been referred to as the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum.
The Ministerial Forum is comprised of two ministers each from the Australian and Queensland governments with responsibility for matters relating to the environment and marine parks, science, tourism and/or natural resource management. Ministers responsible for mining may not be members. The current members are:
- The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP – Australian Government Minister for the Environment and Energy (Chair)
- The Hon Leeanne Enoch – Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts: 12 December 2017
- The Hon Dr Steven Miles MP – Queensland Government Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection, Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Ministerial Forum's role is set out in the Intergovernmental Agreement, and protocols for its operation are set out in a schedule to the agreement.
The Ministerial Council met 32 times under the 1979 Emerald Agreement. The Ministerial Council held its first meeting under the new Intergovernmental Agreement on 3 July 2009. The Ministerial Forum held its first meeting on 12 August 2011.
- Meeting outcomes are reported in the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Council Communiqué.
The Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum Secretariat can be contacted at:
Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum Secretariat
Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601
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We're delighted to celebrate the 40 years of the managing the Great Barrier Reef.
Visit our Great Barrier Reef and discover its amazing animals, plants, and habitats.
Everyone has a role to play in protecting our Great Barrier Reef. Find out what you can do to help protect this great Australian icon.
If you see sick, dead or stranded marine animals please call RSPCA QLD 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625)
A Vulnerability Assessment: of the issues that could have far-reaching consequences for the Great Barrier Reef.
Current Conditions: Environmental and climatic forecasts for the Great Barrier Reef