It brings millions of tourists to Australian shores each year.

But it’s in bad shape and the outlook for the Reef is ‘poor’ despite conservation efforts, with more deterioration likely.

Those are the findings of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s latest five-yearly report.

‘Even with the recent management initiatives to reduce threats and improve resilience, the overall outlook for the Great Barrier Reef is poor, has worsened since 2009 and is expected to further deteriorate,’ the report said.

Climate change is the biggest threat to the site, with poor water quality from land-based run-off, proposed coastal development (including the planned coal port expansion at Abbott Point) and illegal fishing other causes for concern.

The report coincided with the release of a strategic assessment by the government on measures needed to protect the reef, with Australian Environment Minister Greg Hunt calling on government, industries and communities to make a ‘concerted effort’ to turn things around.

‘Together, these reports reinforce there are no quick fixes and it will take time to turn around the overall health of the reef with a concerted effort from government, industries and communities,’ he said.

‘We are absolutely committed to protecting and improving the health of this iconic natural wonder so it can be enjoyed by future generations.’

An ‘overarching framework’ for managing the reef from 2015 to 2050 was being developed, Mr Hunt said.

Let’s hope some real action is taken before this natural beauty is lost forever. 

Image via Thinkstock