World heritage

The Great Barrier Reef was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1981 and this important status has been celebrated ever since.

Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

Image courtesy of Tourism and Events Queensland.

Today, more than 30 years since it was first listed as a World Heritage Area, the Great Barrier Reef remains one of the best managed marine areas in the world.

From the catchments to the offshore reefs, there are world class protections in place which are continually being improved.

This includes a comprehensive marine park that covers 99 per cent of the World Heritage Area with a program of monitoring patrols, marine and island facilities maintenance, including camping grounds and moorings, and fire and weed control on the reef’s national park islands.

In the catchments adjacent to the reef, the Queensland Government has been working for more than a decade to establish a raft of reef protection initiatives to improve water quality and increase adoption of reef-friendly practices by farmers. These efforts are starting to pay off. However, more needs to be done.

The wide range of commercial activities in the area—including tourism, fishing, recreation, traditional use, research, defence, shipping and ports—are also carefully managed through a range of laws to minimise environmental impact and conserve this majestic marine environment.

Activities such as mining, oil drilling and gas extraction are banned by law.

Notwithstanding these measures, the Queensland Government acknowledges that strengthened management strategies are required.

Last updated
21 March 2015