A new long-term sustainability plan to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef for the next 35 years has been released for comment by the Australian and Queensland governments.
Queensland Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection Andrew Powell said the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan satisfied a longstanding requirement by UNESCO.
“This has been a collaborative effort from key organisations, scientists and industry groups including Agforce, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Ports Australia, Queensland Conservation Council, Regional Natural Resource Management Groups and World Wildlife Fund,” Mr Powell said.
“As we promised we have done more than any other government to ensure the Great Barrier Reef remains an iconic World Heritage site now and into the future.
“Its release is another illustration of meeting UNESCO’s requirements and continuing the great work we have been doing in ensuring the Great Barrier Reef remains an iconic world heritage site.”
Mr Powell said the plan brought together a range of existing initiatives under the one umbrella to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness.
“While the management of the Great Barrier Reef is a collective responsibility, and a matter of global interest, the fact remains this icon is a part of Queensland and it is vital that it is protected and managed now and into the future,” Mr Powell said.
Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan was an overarching framework for managing the Reef from 2015 to 2050.
“This Reef Plan is the Queensland and Australian Governments’ commitment to working with industry and the community to improve the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef for future generations,” Mr Hunt said.
“The plan sets out targets and actions to help safeguard the Reef against threats such as poor water quality and crown-of-thorns starfish; improve its resilience to challenges like storms and cyclones; and conserve species such as turtles and dugongs while supporting existing sustainable activities including tourism, agriculture, shipping, fishing and more.
“Maintaining and protecting this iconic World Heritage Area, while considering the needs for long-term sustainable development, is a critical priority.
“I now encourage people to read the plan and take this opportunity to help shape the long term future of the Reef.”