Protected areas of Australia

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Protected areas of Australia include Commonwealth and off-shore protected areas managed by the Australian government, as well as protected areas within each of the six states of Australia and two self-governing territories (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory), which are managed by the eight state and territory governments.

Commonwealth and off-shore protected areas in the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory, the Christmas Island Territory, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands Territory, the Norfolk Island Territory and the Australian Antarctic Territory are managed by Parks Australia, a division of the Department of the Environment and Water Resources, with the exception of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which is managed by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, a separate body within the department.

Protected areas cover 895,288 km² of Australia's land area, or about 11.5% of the total land area. The Australian Capital Territory has the highest level of protection at nearly 55% of its territory, followed by Tasmania with nearly 40% and South Australia with 25%. Lowest level of protection is in Queensland and the Northern Territory with less than 6%.[1] Of all protected areas, two-thirds are considered strictly protected (IUCN categories I to IV), and the rest is mostly managed resources protected area (IUCN category VI). Over 80% of the protected area in Australia is publicly owned and managed by the Australian government or state and territory governments. The second largest component of protected areas are the Indigenous Protected Areas while only 0.3% are privately owned.[2]

World Heritage Listed Areas[edit]

Source: UNESCO [3]

Protected areas managed by the Australian government[edit]

The following list shows only the Commonwealth and off-shore protected areas that are managed by the Australian government; a small portion of all the protected areas of Australia. Each state and territory is responsible for the management of the state and territory protected areas under its jurisdiction. This does not include the Commonwealth areas listed below, some of which (e.g. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park) are inside state and territory boundaries. Most Australian national parks are managed by the state and territory governments.

National Parks[edit]

Australia's first national park - and the second in the world - is Royal National Park in New South Wales, established in 1879.[4]

Botanical Gardens[edit]

Specially Protected Areas (part of the Antarctic Treaty Areas)[edit]

Special Scientific Interest Sites (part of the Antarctic Treaty Areas)[edit]

Marine reserves and parks[edit]

The Australian Government manages an estate of marine protected areas (MPA) that are Commonwealth reserves under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

Marine Parks[edit]

Marine National Nature Reserves[edit]

Marine Reserves[edit]

Historic Shipwrecks[edit]

The following historic shipwrecks lie within protected or no-entry zones declared under the Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976 for protection and management purposes.[5]

Biosphere reserves[edit]

The following biosphere reserves belonging to the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve program are located within Australia:[7]

Protected areas managed by Australian states and territories[edit]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Australian Government:State and territory levels of protection, retrieved 2009-09-22
  2. ^ Australian Government: Ownership of protected areas, retrieved 2009-09-22
  3. ^ UNESCO, retrieved 2009-09-22
  4. ^ Australian Government: National Reserve System, retrieved 2009-09-22
  5. ^ 'Historic shipwreck protected zones,', retrieved 14/08/2012.
  6. ^ "Japanese ‘mother-shipwreck’ protected for future generations". Commonwealth of Australia. 28 July 2013. Retrieved 24 October 2013. 
  7. ^ "Australia's Biosphere Reserves". Parks Australia. Retrieved 3 November 2014. 

External links[edit]