Whitsundays Plan of Management

The Whitsundays Plan of Management 1998 (the Plan) and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 (the Regulations) have been amended and the majority of the changes took effect from 2 August 2017.

The updates follow extensive consultation with Traditional Owners, local stakeholders, community members and tourism operators, including a comprehensive public consultation process.

All comments received were considered in the finalisation of the Plan and the Regulations.

See the factsheet for key points of the updated Plan including the steps taken since tropical cyclone Debbie, and the key actions to be done in the Whitsundays.




Please familiarise yourself with the information available at the links below:

Recreational visitors


Tourism operators


What is the Whitsundays Plan of Management?

The Whitsundays is one of the Great Barrier Reef’s most highly visited regions, with the greatest concentration of activity.

While the Reef-wide Zoning Plan helps to protect plants, animals, habitat and heritage, plans of management allow for a finer scale level of protection and management.

Used as a key tool by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, the Plan helps protect and conserve the Whitsunday Planning Area while allowing for a range of experiences and types of use for those who want to appreciate the area.

Why was the Plan reviewed?

Tourism and recreational use in the Whitsunday Planning Area continually evolves and new information becomes available. To reflect and adapt to these changes, new knowledge and projected trends – while continuing to preserve environmental, social and heritage values – the Plan, which was first released in 1998, has been amended progressively in 1999, 2002, 2005, 2008 and 2017.

Stakeholders, including tourism and recreational users, requested increased opportunities within the Plan to accommodate and adapt to new and different activity types.

While the changes include some new additions to how the area will be managed, previous measures in place to protect the Whitsundays will remain. Fundamentally the elements of the Plan have not changed and will continue to provide a balance between protecting the core values and sustaining a healthy tourism industry.


Targeted consultation with Traditional Owners, local stakeholders, community members and tourism operators, as well as comments received from public consultation has shaped the amendments to the Plan.

View the updates to the Whitsundays Plan of Management.

What happens next?

Implementation of the amendments will be staged over the coming 12 months. This will include:

  • updated website information and maps
  • education packages
  • anchorage assessments
  • site planning
  • promoting responsible reef practices post tropical cyclone Debbie.

More information

For further information about the Plan please phone the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on 07 4750 0700, or email consultation@gbrmpa.gov.au, marked 'Attention Planning Manager'.

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