By Tanya Plibersek

02 February 2024

Minister for the Environment and Water

Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef 

Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef




Friday, 2 February 2024

Progress report on the Great Barrier Reef delivered to UNESCO

The Australian Government has provided an update to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre on how Australia is better protecting and restoring the Great Barrier Reef.

In September 2023, the Australian and Queensland governments welcomed the decision from the World Heritage Committee to not include the Great Barrier Reef on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The update outlines steps taken by the Australian and Queensland governments to protect the Reef from threats like poor water quality, climate change and unsustainable fishing practices.

The Australian Government has:

  • Invested a record $1.2 billion in the Reef.
  • Legislated to reach net zero, with a 43 per cent emissions reduction target by 2030 and committed to reaching 82 per cent renewable energy supply by 2030.
  • Invested $200 million to improve water quality through projects such as revegetation, grazing management and engineering work like gully stabilisation.
  • Rejected a coal mine that could have direct impacts on the Reef.
  • Withdrawn federal funding for dams that would have had a detrimental impact on Reef water quality.
  • Invested an extra $163.4 million to guarantee the future of the Australian Institute of Marine Science, doubling funding for Reef science.
  • Committed to rewriting Australia’s broken environmental laws including establishing a national environment protection agency.
  • Engaged more Indigenous Rangers to manage sea country, including combatting crown of thorns starfish outbreaks, marine plastics and ghost nets.

The Queensland Government has:

  • Invested more than $1 billion since 2015 to protect the Reef including the current commitment of $289.6 million to the Queensland Reef Water Quality Program.
  • Announced an ambitious new interim emissions reduction target of 75% below 2005 levels by 2035 as we work towards net zero emissions by 2050.
  • Introduced legislation into the Parliament to give effect to our $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, which will deliver a 90 per cent reduction of electricity emissions on 2005 levels by 2035-36.
  • Commenced, in partnership with the Australian Government, the phase-out of gillnets in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park with a $185 million package.

​Australia will continue to engage constructively with UNESCO, the World Heritage Advisory Bodies and the Committee on the long-term health of the Reef.

The Reef is one of the best managed World Heritage properties globally, and its management is underpinned by the latest science, world-leading marine park management and strong partnerships, including with Traditional Owners.


The Great Barrier Reef Progress Report can be found here:

Quotes attributable to the Minister for the Environment and Water the Hon Tanya Plibersek:


“Queensland is home to one of the most beautiful and precious places on earth – the Great Barrier Reef. We’re determined to protect it, so it can continue to be enjoyed by Australians and visitors from around the world.  

“We’ve wasted no time, working with the Queensland Government, Traditional Owners, industry, scientists, and local communities, to tackle the biggest risks to the Reef.

“Labor is acting on climate change, improving local water quality, protecting our marine life, dealing with invasive species, and investing a record amount of money into reef programs.

“Our government will always protect Australia’s special places. And we will always support the millions of Australians who rely on a healthy environment for their work.”

Quotes attributable to Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef Senator Nita Green:

“This report is an important tool for us to demonstrate our global commitment to protecting the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

“Our governments have taken significant strides forward on climate action and Reef protection and we will continue to work hard on the ground to build the Reef’s resilience.

“The Great Barrier Reef is the best managed reef in the world and this report provides our governments an opportunity to share the significant action we are taking to protect this important natural wonder.

“From Traditional owners to tourism operators, landowners and scientists, Queensland communities recognise the importance of protecting the Great Barrier Reef now and for future generations.”

Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for the Environment and the Great Barrier Reef the Hon Leanne Linard:

“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the world’s truly iconic places. It is one of the wonders of the natural world and home to a vast array of marine life including fish, coral, marine mammals, sharks and sting rays, just to name a few.

“The Miles and Albanese governments are committed to protecting the Reef so it can be enjoyed by generations to come.

“This report highlights our collaborative efforts as we continue to act on climate change, phase out harmful gillnet fishing and accelerate water quality projects on the Reef.

“We will continue to work with governments, scientists, Traditional Owners and local communities to ensure the survival of this great natural wonder for generations to come.”