Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan

The Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan) is the overarching Australian and Queensland government action plan to work with partners to protect and manage the Great Barrier Reef. Launched in 2015, the plan was updated in 2018 and again in late 2021 to ensure it continues to focus on the right priorities and actions to help protect the Reef.

The Queensland Government has already delivered a number of significant commitments under the Reef 2050 Plan including reducing the impacts of port development through the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015, introducing net-free fishing zones , launching the Queensland Sustainable Fisheries Strategy, strengthening Reef protection regulations to improve Reef water quality and reducing the impact of vegetation clearing.

In June 2023, the Queensland Government announced it would phase out commercial gill-net fishing in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park by June 2027 to further protect threatened species such as dugong, sea turtles and sawfish. Hammerhead sharks will also become a no-take species for commercial fishers. To assist the industry’s transition, a $100 million Fisheries Structural Adjustment Package will support impacted fishing businesses and ensure a jobs-positive future for the fishing industry.

While climate change is the single, biggest threat to the Reef, there are a number of other pressures that need to be addressed to reduce the cumulative impacts on the Reef.

One of the most manageable impacts is human-induced pollutant run-off. The Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan (Reef 2050 WQIP), launched in July 2018, guides how industry, government and the community work together to improve the quality of water flowing to the Great Barrier Reef. It delivers water quality improvement actions under the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan and is underpinned by the latest science and a robust monitoring and evaluation program.

A review of the Reef 2050 WQIP is underway. The Reef 2050 WQIP review involves several key components delivered by experts in consultation with stakeholders and partners through a staged process. The first stage has engaged the agricultural industry in reviewing the land management practice adoption targets for agriculture. Broader stakeholder engagement and engagement with Traditional Owners on the other components is planned.

The Reef 2050 Cumulative Impact Management and Net Benefit policies, released in July 2018, also provide guidance on the range of impacts affecting the Reef, the scale at which impacts are occurring and tools to assess and manage impacts.

Reef 2050 Traditional Owner Implementation Plan

The Great Barrier Reef is at the heart of its Sea Country peoples’ lives and informs an interconnected relationship between the natural, spiritual, economic, and cultural worldviews of the Reef’s Traditional Owners.

Over many decades, Reef Traditional Owners have participated in good faith in continuous planning processes, informing numerous strategies and plans with very little realisation of their aspirations or accompanying actions to support the management of the Reef and its interconnecting systems.

The Reef 2050 Traditional Owner Implementation Plan (PDF, 22MB) honours the decades of work by Traditional Owners, empowers Traditional Owners and inspires government and industry to actively contribute to the sustainable management and protection of the Reef for its natural and cultural values. The plan is about:

  • Delivering on Traditional Owner priorities – bringing Traditional Owner actions from the Reef 2050 Plan together in one place
  • Honouring the past and looking to the future – ensuring the work of Elders is respected and their voices are not lost
  • Recognising the inherent rights, interests, obligations and aspirations of Traditional Owners and Custodians of the Great Barrier Reef and that Country and People are one
  • Accountability – ensuring actions are appropriately resourced, progress is tracked and implementation is reported on as part of the Australian and Queensland governments obligations to protect the Reef.

To find out more about the Reef 2050 Traditional Owner Implementation Plan, view a timeline and animated video of the Traditional Owner Story of the Reef, and learn how we can all work together to heal the Reef, visit ReefTO.