2015 Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management has been given to a successful collaboration of 115 Queenslanders who manage the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.

The area is being managed under the joint Field Management Program, run collaboratively by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service. It spans across 348,000 square kilometres and includes 1,050 islands in the Great Barrier Reef and 2,300 kilometres of coastline.

The two organisations were awarded with a silver award and the Collaboration Award at the awards night held by the Institute of Public Administration Australia in Canberra.

The $17 million joint program executes on-ground actions to maintain and protect the marine and island ecosystems of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The actions of the program are aimed toward supporting the traditional, recreational and economic use of the Great Barrier Reef.

Some of the activities carried out under the program include surveying the reefs and the islands, maintaining visitor facilities, execution of conservation actions, responding to incidents and ensuring compliance with Marine Park legislation.

Keeping the Reef healthy requires a collaborative effort — everything we do is a partnership between our government agencies, Traditional Owners, stakeholders, volunteers and communities,” states the press release by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. “Whether it’s giving turtles a helping hand with adaptive management on Raine Island, compliance patrols, or protecting culturally significant sites, we don’t do it alone.”

In the past, the joint field management program has also accelerated its efforts to stop illegal fishing in the area. According to the officials, the increased efforts have recorded the highest ever number of recreational fishing offences since the creation of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

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