The Queensland and Australian governments have released a draft Long Term Sustainability Plan for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), “an overarching framework for protecting and managing the Great Barrier Reef from 2015 to 2050”.
Key impacts identified in the plan as requiring ongoing management are impacts from climate change, poor water quality from land-based run off, impacts from coastal development and some fishing activities. The plan also draws on the results of the 2014 Outlook Report, which presented a sobering picture of ongoing decline, in spite of management efforts.
The long term sustainability plan identifies outcomes and sets objectives and targets in management areas of water quality, ecosystem health, biodiversity, heritage, community benefits and economic benefits. Encouragingly, the plan contains a large number of actions to be implemented by the Australian and Queensland Governments. The plan also refers to the need for strengthened partnerships between the community, industry and government. Environmental practitioners will have a critical role to play, both in terms of supporting the implementation of the plan, and ensuring that other activities occur in accordance with the objective and targets of the plan. Practitioners undertaking any sort of activity in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and associated catchment are strongly encouraged to review the long term sustainability plan and (a) ensure consistency with the objectives and targets and (b) identify synergies for implementation.
Comments are due on 27 October 2014. Please contact Claire Gronow if you wish to participate in preparing comments on behalf of EIANZ.