The Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef ecosystem on earth and one of the best managed marine areas in the world. At 348 000 square kilometres, the reef is one of the richest and most diverse natural ecosystems on Earth.
The Great Barrier Reef attracts more than 1.6 million visitors each year, contributes more than $5 billion to the Australian economy, and generates about 63,000 jobs. The fact sheet below provides more information about one of the world's most important environmental assets.
The unique qualities of this property were recognised in 1981 when it was inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The Great Barrier Reef was one of 15 Australian World Heritage places included in the National Heritage List on 21 May 2007.
Australia is proud of the way we look after our world heritage properties. We have an excellent track record managing the Great Barrier Reef as a multi-use property, and are committed to sustainable development that ensures the outstanding universal value of the Great Barrier Reef is not compromised.
World Heritage Committee
At its 36th meeting in June 2012, the World Heritage Committee considered the state of conservation of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area and noted a report from the World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission that visited Australia earlier this year.
This report recognised that Australia's management of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area is in many respects international best practice. The Committee handed down a decision on Australia's management of the reef - including recommendations to further manage and protect the reef.
Australia will provide an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and also on the implementation of the Committee's decision in 2013.