About the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan
In 2015, the Australian and Queensland governments released the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan in response to the World Heritage Committee’s recommendation that Australia develop a long-term plan for sustainable development to protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef.
The plan, also known as the Reef 2050 Plan, is Australia’s overarching strategy to improve the Reef’s health and resilience by delivering coordinated local, national and global action in key areas.
The Australian and Queensland governments are committed to protecting the Great Barrier Reef and are working with local governments, industry, scientists, Traditional Owners, farmers, and the community to deliver on priorities for the Reef.
A plan for action
The Reef 2050 Plan is based on scientific research, analysis and lessons learnt over four decades of management. It is a flexible framework that is reviewed every five years. This ensures that the plan remains current and addresses emerging issues equipped with the latest knowledge and science. A mid-term review was also completed in 2018.
In response to the first five-yearly review, the Australian and Queensland governments released the Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan 2021-2025 in December 2021.
The Plan was developed with advice from the Reef 2050 Plan Independent Expert Panel, Reef 2050 Advisory Committee, a group of Traditional Owners and input from an open public consultation process.
The Reef 2050 Plan’s vision for the Reef in 2050 is that: The Great Barrier Reef is sustained as a living natural and cultural wonder of the world
The Reef 2050 Plan has 5 priority areas for action:
- limit the impacts of climate change by contributing to global efforts to reduce emissions and supporting the Reef and communities to adapt.
- improve water quality by working with landholders, industries and communities to accelerate action to reduce the impacts from land-based activities
- reduce impacts from water-based activities by strengthening partnerships with Reef industries and delivering strong marine park management.
- influence the reduction of international sources of impact to reduce marine debris entering the Reef from outside Australia and protect migratory species.
- protect, rehabilitate and restore Reef habitat, species and heritage sites by minimising impacts from disturbances and assisting with their recovery.
These are supported by collaboration, rigorous science, regular monitoring and reporting and $3 billion from the Australian and Queensland governments to deliver the Plan.
Building partnerships and fostering cooperation across various groups and people are at the heart of the Reef 2050 Plan. We all have a role to play securing our vision for the Reef:
- communities who play a vital role in protecting and sustaining the Reef
- Traditional Owners who manage their country through active engagement in on-country management, policy and planning programs
- scientists, industry experts and other leaders who provide cutting-edge science and knowledge to guide action and investment
- land managers who make changes to reduce pollutant run-off
- industries that develop and implement sustainable practices to protect the Reef.
The Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan 2021-2025 responds to the threats identified in the 2019 Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report. It includes a greater focus on climate change and limiting its impact on the Reef. The plan also supports strong management of local and regional pressures including land-based run-off, coastal development, and impacts from fishing and other uses of the Reef.
The plan seeks to empower communities to take stronger action to protect the Reef and incorporates the aspirations of Reef Traditional Owners. A new commitment is to the development of a Traditional Owner-led implementation plan to support the achievement of Reef Traditional Owner aspirations and related Reef 2050 objectives and goals.
The Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan 2021-2025 – In Brief provides a summary of the Plan.
The Reef 2050 Objectives and Goals 2021-2025 details the indicators that form the basis for measuring progress under each objective and goal.
Governance and implementing the Plan
The Australian Government, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, and the Queensland Government lead implementation of the Reef 2050 Plan to protect the Outstanding Universal Value of the Reef. The plan builds upon, and does not replace, the existing statutory and management arrangements for the World Heritage Area.
The Reef 2050 Plan is a schedule to the Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement signed by the Prime Minister of Australia and the Queensland Premier. Oversight of the Plan’s implementation will continue through ministers responsible for the Great Barrier Reef in the Australian and Queensland governments.
The Plan sets out a structure to oversee its implementation and engage with industry, science bodies and the community. An annual report on activities under the Plan will be made publicly available.
- Media release: Updated Reef 2050 Plan released - 20 December 2021
- Find out more about the Great Barrier Reef
- Read the Reef 2050 Plan Overview
- Consultation process - Review of the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (2020)
- Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan - 2018
- Reef 2050 Plan mid-term review options report - 2017
- Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan - 2015