A tourist on a paddle board
Tourism is one of many community benefits bestowed by the Great Barrier Reef. Image: Matt Curnock

This project will provide a practical, science-based approach to assessing cumulative impacts and risks to the environmental, social and economic values of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Research will focus on providing a general and repeatable approach to be applied at the whole-of-reef scale (to meet planning, assessment and reporting requirements of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) and also at the development-site-scale (to meet the environmental assessment requirements of the GBRMPA and proponents of future development proposals). The approach will be developed in close collaboration with GBRMPA and the Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) to ensure it is practical and compatible with relevant legislation and policies.

A case study will focus on attributing impacts of pressures and their cumulative impacts on shallow-water coral reefs of eastern Australia (including cumulative impacts for the whole-of-GBR). It will also examine how this could be applied to shallow temperate reefs, following risk assessments conducted in New South Wales.

The project builds on work undertaken in the GBR Strategic Assessment and supports implementation of the Reef 2050 plan. It will help to guide decision-making by GBRMPA, DoEE, the Queensland Government, NSW Department of Primary IndustriesParks Australia may also benefit from the case study and insights to assessment of cumulative impacts.