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The Great Barrier Reef is naturally and culturally significant. The Reef Authority is committed to co-managing in partnership with Reef Traditional Owners by embracing Traditional Owner histories, rights, interests, and knowledge of the Reef to further deliver world-class Reef management. 

Co-Management Principles Policy

The Co-management Principles Policy defines the Reef Authority’s vision and principles for co-management and creates a foundation for co-management to be embedded in the work the Reef Authority does.

The policy is the Reef Authority’s clearest statement to date about what the Reef Authority means by co-management with Traditional Owners and explains their commitment to achieving it. 

Development of the co-management vision and principles was informed by several internal and external policies, strategies, and stakeholders.

  • ​​​​​The 8 Co-Management Principles

  • Principle 1 Traditional Owners have inherent rights and interests under lore and custom, common law and the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth). The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth) and our plans and policies expressly acknowledges these rights and interests that extend beyond those of stakeholders, and we respect these rights in the actions we take and the decisions we make.
  • Principle 2 We will implement co-management that recognises the Traditional Owner aspiration of co-governance, and that is delivered through meaningful relationships, partnerships, and empowerment in decision making. 
  • Principle 3 In implementing co-management, the Reef Authority will include members of the public, including commercial and non-commercial marine park users in our collective co-management journey. 
  • Principle 4 Integrating Traditional Owner expertise into management of the Reef increases protection and conservation of all values of the Reef and is necessary to enhance Reef resilience under a changing climate. 
  • Principle 5 We recognise that co-management requires a place-based approach to Traditional Owner estate boundaries and will work collaboratively with other managing agencies to provide a holistic, joined up approach to co-management of Country. 
  • Principle 6 We recognise and respect the cultural authority, aspirations and diversity of Reef Traditional Owners and commit to working together in a culturally safe and appropriate way, ensuring we adhere to cultural protocols, best practice, and fit for purpose engagement. 
  • Principle 7 Partnerships with Traditional Owners are co-designed, equitable, and transparent. Formal partnership success is predicated by shared risk, decision making and the management and maintenance of effective, robust, and mutually beneficial relationships. 
  • Principle 8 We recognise people and Country are connected, and strong peoples are necessary for strong Country, and we aim for effective, long-term partnerships that deliver benefits for the Reef and communities.
Updated 26 Sep 2023
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