Management of the Great Barrier Reef’s catchments is vital to improving water quality of the Reef. Investments in management of these cathments in recent decades total hundreds of millions of dollars, but measurable improvements have been slight. One reason is that the complex governance of the Reef and its catchments has failed in a number of ways. A new paper reporting on a governance analysis for the Reef is now published online in Environmental Management. The paper was led by Alan Dale from JCU’s Cairns Institute and involved two people from the Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies: Jon Brodie and Bob Pressey. The authors analysed 10 governance subdomains critical for achieving water quality objectives against eight criteria. The most serious detrimental aspects of governance include:
● Some governance subdomains increasing rather than reducing pollution;
● Fragmented resourcing among Queensland, Federal, and local agencies;
● Regular policy and program changes causing significant stop–start effort and loss of corporate knowledge;
● Poorly engaged regulatory and compliance actions reducing landholder participation in stewardship actions; and
● Insufficient target setting, strategy prioritization, and alignment of strategic effort at the catchment scale.
The paper includes with recommendations for improved governance and water quality outcomes for the Reef.