Reef Rescue

Bleached branching coral at Heron Island, Great Barrier Reef Image published under creative commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) by J. Roff
28 September 2016

The Australian and Queensland Governments have released the first annual report for the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan (Reef 2050 Plan).

The report details the progress in the first 18 months of implementing the 35-year plan, which was launched in March 2015.

The Reef 2050 Plan is supported with a $2 billion joined investment by the Australian and Queensland Governments. The Australian Government has also committed to establishing a Reef Fund under the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which will provide up to $1 billion over 10 years in investment finance for projects targeting the Reef's health in the reef catchment region.

Key activities achieved to date include:

The report also includes a brief account of the major global coral bleaching event which recently affected many reefs in the world, including the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).

Initial monitoring indicates that 22% of coral on the GBR has died, with 85% of the mortality occurring in a 600-kilometre stretch in the far north. The severity of the event is variable and declines southwards, with the far south showing only minor bleaching and no mortality. Further surveys will be conducted in October to make a final assessment of survival and mortality.

However, the report does not address progress in achieving the Reef 2050 Plan targets. These will be covered separately, including through Great Barrier Reef Report Cards, which have been produced annually since 2009. The latest in the series was released in September 2015 and showed that despite contiuned efforts to reduce pollutant loads, more needs to be done to sustain the Reef's health.

There are also five yearly Outlook Reports, with the next edition due in 2019. It will provide the first comprehensive review of the Plan's effectiveness.

The Reef 2050 Plan report is combined with the third Reef 2050 Implementation Strategy, which outlines priorities for the coming year. They include:

More information: