The Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Forum in Townsville has endorsed current reef management strategies and highlighted the importance of a coordinated Federal and State approach in protecting the Reef’s future.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley, Queensland Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch, Federal Special Envoy for the Reef Warren Entsch and Reef science and advisory body Chairs, met at the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority in Townsville today to examine progress under the Federal and State Government Reef 2050 plan.
The meeting highlighted scientific advice that climate change remains the single greatest challenge to the Reef and the importance of work already being undertaken for the reef, including key partnerships with traditional owners, water quality programs, adaptive reef management, increased scientific monitoring and surveillance, and crown of thorns starfish eradication.
“There is clear acceptance of the science and it is also telling us that we are taking important steps to strengthen the Reef’s resilience,” Minister Ley said.
“Across 346,000 square kilometres, the Reef includes wonderful areas of pristine coral, areas recovering from extreme weather events and those that are still suffering from recent bleaching.
“This year’s Reef Outlook Report highlighted the challenges we face but it was also clear about the steps we can and are taking to protect its future and its World Heritage status.”
Minister Enoch said the science was clear on what is impacting the Reef, including water quality.
“Here in Queensland, new reef regulations were passed by Parliament in September to help protect the Great Barrier Reef and the thousands of jobs that depend on it,” Ms Enoch said.
“These regulations, along with other efforts including tree clearing laws and action on climate change, are all steps that are being taken by the Queensland Government to support the health of the Reef and prevent it from being listed by the World Heritage Committee as in-danger next year.
“Today it was also acknowledged that the role of Traditional Owners in protecting and managing the Reef is vital going forward.
“The partnerships being developed with Traditional Owners are driving key recommendations under the Reef 2050 plan, and the work of Indigenous rangers on the land and sea are also proving vital to protect precious eco-systems.”
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch
Minister for the Environment
The Hon Sussan Ley MP