Great Barrier Reef

The resources sector has a very strong interest in preserving the biodiversity of the iconic Great Barrier Reef and recognises that the health of both the reef and its operations are intertwined

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) was declared an Australian Marine Park in 1975 and in 1981 was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. At inscription, the International Union for Conservation of Nature evaluation stated “… if only one coral reef site in the world were to be chosen for the World Heritage List, the Great Barrier Reef is the site to be chosen“.

The GBR is respected within Australia and worldwide for its Outstanding Universal Value. It is the largest living structure and one of the most complex natural ecosystems on the planet. The Marine Park spans 344,400km2 and runs parallel with the eastern coastline of Queensland for approximately 2,300km.


Source: Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (2017) Facts about the Great Barrier Reef


The resources sector has a very strong interest in preserving the biodiversity of the iconic GBR and QRC recognises that the health of both the Reef and the resources sector are intertwined.

QRC’s fundamental position in relation to the co-existence of the resources sector and ports alongside the GBR is the need for continuing focus on risk management and addressing the impacts of scientifically documented environmental threats. The fulfilment of (regulatory and ethical) obligations and transparent presentation of factual scientific information by industry, Governments and the community is essential if this is to occur.

Published scientific documents have identified the following major threats to the long-term health of the GBR:

  • Climate change;
  • Poor water quality from land-based runoff;
  • Coastal development; and
  • Direct human use, such as illegal fishing and light and noise pollution.

Climate change is recognised as the most significant long-term threat to the GBR. However, actions to reduce other pressures, such as improving water quality, will help build the Reef’s resilience and its ability to recover from the impacts of climate change.

Whilst QRC has been consistent in its acknowledgment of the fact that the resources sector does have an impact on the GBR, our industry must be placed in the context of the key threats. Any policy or program that fails to seek contributions from the major contributors to the impacts on the GBR, will ultimately fail to halt the decline in condition of the Reef. QRC is supportive of a proportionate, combined effort by industry (resources, ports, agriculture, tourism, fishing etc.) as well as Government, communities, and other private enterprise, working together to protect and conserve this great national asset.

See links below to explore the four key areas of GBR policy that QRC works on.