Gold Coast: the World Surfing Reserve is now legally protected by Queensland legislation | Photo: Save the Waves Coalition

The Premier of Queensland announced that the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve will be legally protected by legislation.

Annastacia Palaszczuk made the unexpected announcement as hundreds of surfers, conservationists and scientists wrapped up the 6th Global Wave Conference, held at the Gold Coast campus of Southern Cross University.

The head of the Queensland government will work with Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve to begin the process of drafting laws to put before Parliament. 

On February 11, 2020, just before the opening of the event, Palaszczuk asked Minister of Sport Mick de Brenni - a surfer himself - to look into legal protection for the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve. 

The 16-kilometer stretch of coast from Burleigh Beach to Snapper Rocks/Point Danger was officially declared the 8th World Surfing Reserve in March 2016.

"What I've been hearing from people is that they would like a bit more security around the reserve. My government is now going to actively look at legislating regarding the surfing reserve here in Queensland," Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

"I don't want to see it disturbed in 20, 30, 40, or 50 years' time. I want to make sure that this area of the coast is absolutely protected as a surf reserve."

Extending Legal Protection

The conference - an international ocean conservation event - made its Australian debut last week at Southern Cross University and challenged a wider surfing community to step up and join the global fight to protect our oceans.

The summit was hosted by the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve along with Save The Waves Coalition and Surfrider Foundation and cemented the city's reputation as the heart and capital of surfing and conservation in Australia.

Wayne Rabbit Bartholomew, Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve patron and former world champion surfer, believes that "the 2020 conference called upon surfers to be more proactive about ocean conservation."

The news also coincides with the 10th World Surfing Reserve's dedication in Noosa, on February 21, a public ceremony taking place at the national park.

"A recurring question has been asked by many: Will the Premiere extend legal protection to both World Surfing Reserves in Queensland?" asks Save the Waves Coalition.

The impact of climate change in the recent Australian fires and subsequent flooding that occurred, the world's first successful artificially constructed reef, and Australia's preparation for the 2020 Tokyo 2020 Olympics were some of the other topics discussed.

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