EPBC Act referral guidelines for the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area

Department of the Environment, 2014

About the referral guidelines

The EPBC Act protects the World Heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area from actions which have, will have or are likely to have a significant impact on those values. The protection and management of World Heritage properties should ensure that their values at the time of inscription are sustained and enhanced over time. This is done primarily through the protection of a property’s attributes of Outstanding Universal Value. Thus the World Heritage values of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area are considered the same as the property's attributes of Outstanding Universal Value. For more information on Outstanding Universal Value see ‘Understanding World Heritage: What is Outstanding Universal Value?’.

These referral guidelines are intended to provide guidance to proponents on the need to refer an action to which the EPBC Act applies*.

There are other matters of national environmental significance that may also need to be considered in deciding whether to make a referral – for example, if the action is likely to have a significant impact on the environment, including cultural heritage values, in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and on a listed threatened or migratory species, including those found in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. These guidelines should therefore be read in conjunction with the Significant impact guidelines 1.1 - matters of national environmental significance.

There may be other EPBC Act policy statements or referral guidelines which provide further guidance on specific matters of national environmental significance.

A public consultation process on the guidelines was conducted in 2013. If you have any new research or information on the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area which can contribute to future policy revisions, or if you have any questions on the guidelines, please contact the Referral Gateway Section at:

Email: epbc.referrals@environment.gov.au
Fax: 02 6274 1789

Mail: Referrals Gateway Section
Environment Assessment Branch

Department of the Environment
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

*Please note that a permit may also be required from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. For information on how to submit a permit application under the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975, contact the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on 07 4750 0700 or at info@gbrmpa.gov.au.