Statement from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority about the World Heritage Decision

Please attribute these comments to Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority CEO Mr Josh Thomas:

“As Australia’s lead management agency for the Great Barrier Reef, we welcome the World Heritage Committee’s decision not to place the Great Barrier Reef on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

At its 44th session held virtually, the World Heritage Committee tonight amended the recommendation and agreed to a Reactive Monitoring Mission visiting the Reef.

The Reef Authority will continue to work constructively with the Committee and the Australian and Queensland governments to implement the recommendations.

‘As Australia’s lead management agency for the Great Barrier Reef, we welcome any opportunity to brief the World Heritage Committee's advisers on the health of the Reef and the enormous amount of work being done to protect and conserve this natural wonder.

It is a collective effort. Using the best available science, the Reef Authority is working alongside Traditional Owners, government agencies and science, industry and community partners, to protect and conserve this internationally acclaimed icon, under the Australian and Queensland governments' Reef 2050 plan.

“Backed by an unprecedented $3 billion investment by these governments, the plan provides an overarching framework for actions to support the health and resilience of the Reef so it can better withstand threats such as cyclones, heatwaves and predation by crown-of-thorns starfish.

“The Reef is precious to us all — to its Traditional Owners, communities along the Reef coastline, all Australians and people throughout the world who continue to be inspired by this great natural wonder.

“The Reef’s beauty and astounding biodiversity continues to inspire people around the world and supports thousands of jobs and billions in national revenue.

“We are very clear on the challenges facing the Reef, the accelerated action and significant investments made to ensure its long-term protection, and the need for global action on climate change.

“Everyone can contribute and make a difference. Actions taken now will matter. We want people to think globally, act locally; every effort, no matter how small, matters.

Recent key management actions include:

  • The Reef Authority’s Blueprint for Resilience continues to drive actions for a more resilient Reef including protecting coral cover by removing native pests, boosted compliance efforts, working with Traditional Owners, and Reef restoration and adaptation activities.
  • The updated draft Reef 2050 Plan has a much stronger emphasis on climate change and what needs to be done to mitigate, adapt and build resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • 25 per cent of the Great Barrier Reef coastline covered by Traditional Use of Marine Resources agreements which outline how the Reef’s Traditional Owner groups work in partnership with the Australian and Queensland governments to manage traditional use activities on their sea country.
  • An additional $9 million for Traditional Owner led projects to protect and manage Great Barrier Reef supporting programs including coastline management, water quality programs, Indigenous fire management and crown of thorns starfish control.
  • A doubling of the Joint Reef Field Management Program to extend conservation, monitoring and compliance actions across the vast World Heritage Area.
  • A new $9.7 million, 24-metre vessel, Reef Resilience, that substantially increases field operations including compliance patrols, field activities, field activities with Traditional Owners and Indigenous rangers, protected species management, and incident response.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
Media team | (07) 4750 0846 |