Queensland is the fortunate custodian of five world heritage listed sites: the Great Barrier Reef, Fraser Island, the Wet Tropics, Goondwana Rainforests, and the Riversleigh World Heritage site. These sites are not only unique and naturally beautiful but also environmentally sensitive.

Queensland is Australia’s second largest tourism market after New South Wales, accounting for 23.3 per cent of the national tourism output and employing around 151,100 people in 2017–18. Our world heritage sites are a cornerstone of the tourism industry, some attracting increasing numbers of visitors.

Sustainably managing the tourism and environmental priorities of these sites presents significant challenges for the responsible public sector agencies. While considerable national and international attention has been given to the management of and risks to the Great Barrier Reef, considerably less public attention has been given to our four other world heritage sites.

The Department of Environment and Science is responsible for the protection of these sites. Its Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service is responsible for the day-to-day management of the sites while promoting tourism is managed by a range of public sector agencies. In 2016, Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (then a unit in the former Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing) released the Queensland Ecotourism Plan 2016–2020.

Audit Objective

This audit will assess how effectively the state’s tourism and environmental agencies are managing tourism and environmental priorities for Queensland’s World Heritage listed sites.

Who we might audit
  • Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy
  • Department of Environment and Science
  • Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development
  • Tourism and Events Queensland
  • Local councils.
Parliamentary Committee
Innovation, Tourism, Development and Environment Committee
Audit status
Anticipated tabling: to be advised