Our vision: To protect the values of the Wet Tropics through collaboration, culture, knowledge and passion.
In 1990 the Commonwealth and Queensland governments agreed on a framework to manage the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area. They decided to establish a small agency based in Cairns which would be responsible for managing the Area. The Authority was officially established under the Wet Tropics World Heritage Protection and Management Act 1993.
Under the primary goal of the World Heritage Convention, the Authority must provide for the implementation of Australia's international duty to protect, conserve, present, rehabilitate and transmit the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area to future generations.
The Authority is responsible to both the Australian and Queensland governments through the Wet Tropics Ministerial Council and has an independent Board of Directors appointed by both governments. Administratively the Authority is a division within the Queensland Government's Department of Environment and Science.
The Authority administers the Queensland Government's Wet Tropics legislation and sets policies and procedures which govern activities and land use within the Wet Tropics of Queensland World Heritage Area. The Authority's Wet Tropics Strategic Plan 2020–2030 guides its operations.
In 2021 the Authority employs about 42 staff and works in partnership to manage the Area with a range of government agencies, land managers and landholders, Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples, research organisations, local government, tourism and community groups. The Board has appointed a Scientific Advisory Committee and a Community Consultative Committee to provide advice on community and scientific matters.
The Authority is responsible for policy and the coordination of on-ground management to ensure the Area is properly protected. The Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service & Partnerships and other land managers—including Rainforest Aboriginal Peoples—are responsible for day-to-day management issues such as maintenance, routine permits, and enforcement activities.
The Authority's main functions are to: