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Great Barrier Reef World Heritage condition

Key Finding

While the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef remains in good condition, the Outlook Report 2019 found the grade is good borderline with poor because the condition of the property has deteriorated to varying extents with respect to the 4 natural world heritage criteria. While the property remains whole and intact, ecosystem resilience is deteriorating, and the property’s size is becoming less effective as a buffer against these disturbances.

The Great Barrier Reef remains whole and intact and maintains many of the elements that make up its outstanding universal value, as recognised in its world heritage listing. However, significant components that underpin the 4 natural world heritage criteria for which the World Heritage Area was inscribed in 1981 have deteriorated since its inscription. This deterioration has affected the integrity of the Reef’s outstanding universal value.

For example:

  • Components of natural phenomena, such as turtle breeding, whale migration and coral spawning, continue but these elements are being increasingly challenged by climate change.
  • Some alteration to processes that influence reef formation and maintain sediment accumulation on reefs and islands has occurred.
  • Many ecological processes have deteriorated since 2014 due to the combined effects of climate change and inshore land-based run-off.
  • Significant habitat reduction and alteration in a number of areas has led to persistent and substantial effects on populations of some dependent species.

The significance of the World Heritage Area still transcends national boundaries and remains a source of pride for the Australian public broadly.

More information:

Relevant Sustainable Development Goals’ targets


See also: Great Barrier Reef World Heritage assessment summary.

Great Barrier Reef World Heritage natural criteria condition

World Heritage natural criteriaCondition summaryCondition grade

Download data from Queensland Government data


Great Barrier Reef World Heritage natural criteria condition as reported in the Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report 2019.