Dimension: Protect, repair and manage the environment
Proportion of land and water areas dedicated to the long-term conservation of nature, its ecosystem and cultural values
Why does this matter
The National Reserve System, with its network of protected areas, is conserving our biodiversity, protecting our ecosystems and providing opportunity for Australians to connect with nature – a critical part of our national identity, and an essential part of First Nations culture.
Marine protected areas are recognised as one of the best ways to conserve and protect biodiversity in our oceans. Australia has a world leading National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas, which contributes to the long-term viability of the marine environment.
Has there been progress
Progress has been made on the protection of the natural environment in Australia, with the proportion of protected landmass growing significantly since 1997.1 A large portion of the growth has come from the increase in Indigenous Protected Areas, which are managed by First Nations groups in accordance with Traditional Owners’ objectives.2
Australia’s National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas was designed to create a comprehensive, adequate and representative system of protected areas which contributes to the long-term viability of the marine environment. In 2022 this system covered 45 per cent of our oceans.
1 Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (2022) Collaborative Australian Protected Areas Database, DCCEEW website, accessed 28 June 2023.
2 Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) are areas of land and sea Country managed by First Nations groups in accordance with Traditional Owners’ objectives