The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (the Authority) is a non-corporate Commonwealth entity and operates as a statutory agency under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Marine Park Act). The Authority sits within the Australian Government Environment and Energy Portfolio and reports to the Minister for the Environment.
The Authority is responsible for managing one of the world’s premier natural resources, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (the Marine Park). The vision that drives the Authority’s work is: ‘a healthy Great Barrier Reef for future generations’.
The Authority implements a range of policies and programs, management strategies and legislative measures to work towards its primary outcome or purpose:
The long-term protection, ecologically sustainable use, understanding and enjoyment of the Great Barrier Reef for all Australians and the international community through the care and development of the Marine Park (Outcome 1)1.
To fulfil this outcome, the Authority focuses on achieving three goals:
- protect and restore the Reef’s ecosystem health, resilience and biodiversity
- safeguard the Reef’s heritage
- ensure ecologically sustainable use and benefits for current and future generations.
These goals drive the delivery of the program outlined in the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy Portfolio Budget Statements 2018–19 (Portfolio Budget Statements), Improving the Outlook for the Great Barrier Reef (Program 1.1).
To deliver the three goals, the Authority uses a number of tools, including zoning plans, plans of management, permissions, policies and strategies, formal agreements and site management arrangements. Various management approaches are used, including education and awareness, planning, environmental impact assessment, monitoring, stewardship programs, habitat protection and restoration works, and compliance and enforcement.
Management is enhanced through partnership arrangements with Traditional Owners, the community, business, industry, scientists and government. The Reef Joint Field Management Program is funded and run by the Australian and Queensland governments. It undertakes activities to support operational and day-to-day management of the Marine Park, the Queensland Government’s Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and national park islands.
The Authority’s management program continues to build on its strong foundational arrangements already in place to protect biodiversity and heritage values and provide for ecologically sustainable use. The Authority continues these arrangements and draws on the recommendations of the 2014 Great Barrier Reef Region Strategic Assessment Program Report to implement measures to strengthen management and the resilience of the Reef ecosystem. The Authority’s actions to protect and manage the Reef contribute to the delivery of the Australian and Queensland governments’ Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan).
To attain its purpose and achieve its goals, the Authority is structured under four branches (Figure 2) that work to deliver four main program areas as outlined in its corporate plan and Portfolio Budget Statement:
- Program area 1: Providing expert knowledge to influence and advise key decision makers on managing, reducing or avoiding significant threats to the Reef.
- Program area 2: Regulating and ensuring Marine Park user compliance.
- Program area 3: Educating and fostering stewardship to enhance protection of the Reef.
- Program area 4: Enhancing reef resilience through continuous improvement and new initiatives across all aspects of management.