JOINT MEDIA RELEASE WITH HON JACKIE TRAD MP, QUEENSLAND DEPUTY PREMIER & HON DR STEVEN MILES MP, QUEENSLAND MINISTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Commonwealth and State Ministers met today in Brisbane for the 40th meeting of the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum. This is a significant milestone and is a testament to the close working relationship enjoyed by successive Commonwealth and Queensland governments in protecting the Reef.
Today, both Governments again welcomed the draft decision from the World Heritage Centre which acknowledged the significant and unprecedented work undertaken by both governments and which recommended against the Great Barrier Reef being listed as “in danger”.
The sharp focus for Governments now is on implementing the recently released Reef 2050 Long term Sustainability Plan, which will lock in the strategic improvements necessary to improve the health of the reef.
This commitment and follow-through will give confidence to the World Heritage Committee as we look ahead to the final decision to be released in Bonn later this month.
Our implementation strategy provides a clear roadmap to achieve this and identifies lead organisations, timeframes, reporting and governance arrangements.
Ongoing successful implementation of the Plan will continue to be supported by the Australian Government’s $140 million Reef Trust and the Queensland Government’s $100 million injection over five years.
The Reef 2050 Plan was developed through a partnership approach with all interest groups, and we intend to continue that highly collaborative and consultative approach.
We have already made progress against a number of actions in the Reef 2050 Plan, building a strong foundation for success. This includes a historic ban on the disposal of capital dredge material in the entire Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The Commonwealth has already banned the disposal of capital dredge material in 100 per cent of the area under Commonwealth legislative control – which represents 99 per cent of the World Heritage Area.
Queensland is currently in the process of legislating a ban in the remaining 3000 square kilometre area that includes port areas, and falls outside of the Marine Park under Commonwealth control.
Together, this means no capital dredge disposal can occur in any part of the World Heritage Area.
Shortly, both Governments will sign an updated Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement which incorporates the Reef 2050 Plan as a schedule to the Agreement. This reaffirms our commitment to work together to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef for future generations and gives the 35-year blueprint the highest possible level of agreement between the Commonwealth and Queensland.
Updates to the Intergovernmental Agreement will highlight our continuing joint arrangements for management of this iconic natural asset.
We are also establishing a Reef 2050 Advisory Committee comprising community and industry representatives, to provide a stakeholder and community perspective on implementation of the Reef 2050 Plan.
Work is also nearing completion on establishing an investment baseline outlining all current federal, state and local government expenditure as well as private and philanthropic investment in the health of the Reef.
This work will provide a starting point for future investments and coordination of activities which support the outcomes of the Plan. The investment baseline will be released ahead of the World Heritage Committee meeting in Bonn.
This will include both increased physical work to reduce sediment, nitrogen and pesticide runoff, and increasing monitoring as part of the work of the respective independent expert scientific and water panels.
Australians are rightfully proud of the Great Barrier Reef and recognise its immense biological, economic and cultural value. Together, we are committed to protecting it for future generations.