Our Vision

The Gold Coast waterways represent a unique landscape providing recreation and amenity for the enjoyment of all and, in so doing, help to establish the Gold Coast as a place of significant social and cultural assets for Queensland and Australia.

As the organisation entrusted with the responsibility of caring for the Gold Coast’s most important waterways space, the work of the Gold Coast Waterways Authority is founded on the belief that government leadership and community involvement are key to ensuring that the waterways and their essential purpose endure.

Our vision embraces sustainable management of Gold Coast waterways that improves their total quality, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the multiple aesthetic, economic, environmental and social values on which they depend.

Our Mission

Our mission is to manage and enhance Gold Coast waterways in partnership with the public and on behalf of the Queensland Government.

We aspire to set the standard for and spread the principles of world-class waterways management – emphasising environmental excellence – to improve the quality of open waterways space for the enjoyment of all.

In embracing this mission, the GCWA of the future will retain and build on its successful infrastructure program while adopting a broader focus on supporting sustainable commercial and recreational uses of the waterways as the Gold Coast population grows, managing these multiple uses and ensuring acceptable behaviours as well as preserving environmental values including water quality and waterways resilience.

Our Guiding Principles

Our approach to sustainable waterways management, development and use is built on the following principles which inform our decision-making to achieve our desired outcomes:


  • Equity of access: Present and future generations should have fair and equal access to resources and opportunities.
  • Ecological and structural integrity: Decisions and actions will maintain the biological diversity and physical robustness of the waterways.
  • Community involvement: Progress towards sustainability requires the support and involvement of the whole community.
  • Continual improvement: Continual improvement in performance will be based on accountability, transparency and good governance.


  • Foresight: Decisions are guided by foresight, thinking ahead, so that decisions now anticipate change.
  • Integration: Economic, environmental and social considerations should be effectively integrated into planning and decision-making.
  • Precautionary behaviour: A lack of scientific certainty should not be used as a reason to postpone action in the face of the risk of serious or irreversible community, environmental or economic damage.
  • Balance: It is necessary to balance easily identified short-term economic costs with more difficult to quantify long-term social and environmental costs.

Our Strategy

The Gold Coast Waterways Management Strategy 2014-2023 is the first 10-year strategy prepared by the Authority to guide the responsible management of the Gold Coast’s waterways and the Authority’s land-based reserves. The strategy is an important achievement and has successfully turned public attention towards the waterways in recognition that they are a previous asset which we all need to understand, look after, respect, enjoy and share.

Since the first Strategy, two significant imperatives have emerged which will shape the Authority’s long-term plans and planning approach. These imperatives are increased congestion and resilience in response to increasing use and climate change impacts.


Congestion: The Gold Coast of the future is facing severe congestion, transport and planning issues as a result of the forecast doubling of the population to 1 million people by 2050 as well as staggering growth in watercraft ownership and registrations.

Resilience: Gold Coast waterways are vulnerable to increasing use and the effects of climate change, given their vast scale and proximity of development to the water.

Last updated: 13 June 2017