With five rivers, 260km of navigable waterways and more than 750 hectares of lakes and dams to manage, the Gold Coast Waterways Authority plays a vital role in planning, managing and protecting the Gold Coast’s iconic waterways.

With boating registrations in the region growing at more than twice the State-wide growth rate, the responsibility for ensuring the Gold Coast’s waterways remain something that residents can use, understand, protect, respect, enhance and enjoy is crucial.

The Queensland Government established Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) on 1 December 2012 to deliver the best possible management of the Gold Coast waterways at reasonable cost to the community and government, while keeping regulation to a minimum. Other purposes under the GCWA Act include:

  • plan for and facilitate the development and management of the Gold Coast waterways over the long term in a way that is sustainable and considers the impact of development on the environment
  • improve and maintain navigational access to the Gold Coast waterways
  • develop and improve public marine facilities relating to the Gold Coast waterways
  • promote and manage the sustainable use of the Gold Coast waterways for marine industries, tourism and recreation.

Gold Coast waterways include all rivers, canals, lakes and dams within the City of Gold Coast local government area as well as the areas at the mouth of the Nerang River, Currumbin Creek and Tallebudgera Creek. Assets include the Gold Coast Seaway and Sand Bypass System, including interests in the associated Crown reserves of Doug Jennings ParkWave Break Island and the southern tip of South Stradbroke Island – and a recognised network of 33 channels

We’re a statutory authority led by a decision-making board of seven members and Acting Chief Executive Officer Nerissa Bartlett. The board is appointed by, and accountable to the Minister for Transport and Main Roads, the Honourable Mark Bailey MP.

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority Act (2012) requires GCWA to prepare a 10-year Waterways Management Strategy and an annual Waterways Management Program that provides a rolling 1+3-year investment plan. Investment under the Program must be consistent with the Strategy.

Last updated: 25 October 2019