Investments in the Reef

Investment Framework

The Reef 2050 Long Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan) is underpinned by a robust investment framework, harnessing and coordinating public and private investment to maximise outcomes for the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).


The first phase of the investment framework was aimed at establishing a baseline to:

  • Provide a snapshot of current contributions and work presently being undertaken by both Government and non-Government sectors; and
  • Identify the span of activities where funds are being used to deliver outcomes for the GBR.

The investment baseline provided information on major investments across program  areas. It also demonstrated the significant breadth of commitment and contributions to the GBR from a range of partners, including traditional owners, industry, farmers, philanthropic organisations, Government and members of the local community. This work subsequently informed the development of the Reef 2050 Investment Framework.


Over $485 million was invested in the GBR in 2014-15, with $270.2 million from other non-Government sources, including the resources sector. Another $1.28 billion is to be invested in the Reef 2050 Plan actions, over the next five years across all sectors. The breakdown of how this funding is to be invested is shown below.

Source: Commonwealth of Australia (2016) Reef Investment Framework


For years the resources sector has provided voluntary financial and in-kind investments to GBR projects and more recently actions required to meet the targets of the Reef 2050 Plan, including but not limited to:

  • The operation of regional partnerships aimed at managing, monitoring and reporting on key Reef health indicators, such as:
    • Fitzroy Partnership for River Health;
    • Mackay-Whitsunday Healthy River to Reef Partnership; and
    • Gladstone Healthy Harbour Partnership.
  • The restoration and management of critical ecosystems and habitats, such as the $7.95 million Raine Island turtle recovery project (see video below);
  • The operation of local community stewardship groups, such as the Indigenous Land and Sea Ranger Program, and associated programs; and
  • The ongoing monitoring of water quality across the GBR, such as the $2 million Future Reef ocean chemistry project (see video below).

These contributions are additional to the considerable compliance investments already delivered to initiatives such as extensive monitoring, field management and research.


Reef Trust

The Reef Trust is an Australian Government initiative designed to improve Reef health and resilience by taking the best available science and targeting investment to the highest priority threats to the Reef. It is one of the key mechanisms to assist with the delivery of the Reef 2050 Plan.


The Reef Trust will build on existing investment in the Great Barrier Reef focusing on known critical areas, including improving water quality and coastal habitat, controlling the current outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish, and protecting threatened and migratory species, particularly dugong and turtles.


The Reef Trust Investment Strategies are developed and implemented in a phased approach to allow investments to be evaluated and adapted, so they remain responsive and target the key threats to the GBR.