The Great Barrier Reef received World Heritage status in 1981, the first coral reef ecosystem in the world to have this distinction.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef region.  The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority works closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner groups to develop and maintain Sea Country Partnerships.

The Heritage Strategy outlines actions to identify, assess and monitor the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park's heritage values, to develop a heritage register and propose heritage management plans.