Coastal development and protecting the Great Barrier Reef

Australia is committed to caring for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the World Heritage Area. For 30 years, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has implemented a range of management initiatives to help keep the Great Barrier Reef healthy and to build its resilience so it is better able to withstand the impact of threats to its environment.

Today it is recognised as one of the healthiest coral reef ecosystems in the world but it faces a number of pressures, including from increasing coastal development.

Australia has commenced work on a strategic assessment of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area to establish a long-term plan for sustainable development within the region.

Queensland continues to grow and some industries are developing rapidly, which increases the number of approvals being sought for major developments along the coast and on the islands adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef Region. It also results in an increase in shipping.

The health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef is protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Developments that have the potential to impact on matters of National Environmental Significant (NES), which include the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and Marine Park, must be referred under the EPBC Act for decision by the Australian Environment Minister.

If a development's footprint is wholly within or partly within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (GBRMP Act) also applies.