20 Oct 2016


For the 5th year in a row the Great Barrier Reef has scored a ‘D’ for overall condition in the annual report card produced by the Federal and Queensland governments.

The Great Barrier Reef Report Card 2015 was published online this morning, and can be accessed here.

The score is based on the state of coral, seagrass and water quality. Since the first report card was produced in 2009 the reef’s scores have been:

  • 2009 Report Card – “moderate” or C
  • 2010 Report Card – “moderate” or C
  • 2011 Report Card – “poor” or D
  • 2012 Report Card* – “poor” or D
  • 2013 Report Card* – “poor” or D
  • 2014 Report Card – “poor” or D
  • 2015 Report Card – released today another “poor” or D

“A ‘D’ for five years in a row is simply not acceptable. It is not a good look with Australia due to report to UNESCO by December 1 on the progress of the Reef 2050 plan,” said WWF-Australia spokesperson Sean Hoobin.

“The scary thing is this latest fail was for the period before the mass bleaching event killed an estimated 22% of the Reef’s coral."

“The continuing poor scores are further evidence that the current programs and spending on reef pollution fall far short of what’s required. At this rate Australia simply won’t meet the targets committed to in Reef 2050,” he said.

The Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce Final Report, released in May found “significantly more investment” and change on “a vast scale” are needed if pollution reduction targets promised to UNESCO “have any chance of being achieved”.

A report by independent experts, commissioned by the Queensland Government and released in August, estimated that halting sediment and fertiliser pollution to the reef would cost $8.2 billion between 2016 and 2025.

Mr Hoobin said spending on programs to fix water quality were at least $7 billion short of that figure, and neither governments have made commitments to address this shortfall.

The World Heritage Committee decision last year called for the Reef 2050 Plan to be supported by “adequate and sustained financing”.

“If governments don’t step up and implement the investment and actions recommended by experts the Reef will continue to receive dismal report cards and international scrutiny.”

Almost $13 billion is being spent to save the Murray-Darling Basin.

“The Reef is the jewel in the crown of Australia’s tourism industry and deserves a rescue package similar to the Murray-Darling Basin,” Mr Hoobin said.

*The report cards for 2012 and 2013 were combined in one report which states “The overall condition of the inshore reef remained poor in 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.”

WWF-Australia Media Contact: Daniel Rockett, Senior Manager News and Public Affairs, 0432 206 592, drockett@wwf.org.au