Coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats

Australia's coasts and critical aquatic habitats are significant environmental assets which are also fundamentally important to the Australian lifestyle and economy.

These assets face significant pressures including declining water quality (and quantity), climate change, dune erosion, habitat loss from urban development, land clearing and increasing traffic in our ports and marinas. Our coasts and aquatic habitats require better management and protection to ensure they are sustained into the future. The Great Barrier Reef is an internationally significant symbol of Australia and requires special protection.

The following statements outline what we consider to be ambitious but achievable outcomes for the first five years of Caring for our Country.

By 2013, Caring for our Country will:

  • Reduce the discharge of dissolved nutrients and chemicals from agricultural lands to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon by 25 per cent.
  • Reduce the discharge of sediment and nutrients from agricultural lands to the Great Barrier Reef lagoon by 10 per cent.
  • Deliver actions that sustain the environmental values of:
    • priority sites in the Ramsar estate, particularly sites in northern and remote Australia
    • an additional 25 per cent of (non-Ramsar) priority coastal and inland high conservation value aquatic ecosystems including, as a priority, sites in the Murray-Darling Basin.
  • Improve the water quality management in the Gippsland Lakes in Victoria, the Tuggerah Lakes Estuary in New South Wales and in all priority coastal hotspots.
  • Increase the community's participation in protecting and rehabilitating coastal environments and critical aquatic habitats.

These outcome statements help determine our priorities for investing Caring for our Country funds and help us make decisions about the most efficient way of taking action.