Environmental management charge

Important information: COVID-19 changes

On 6 October 2020 the Australian Government announced Budget measures to provide continued support to Great Barrier Reef Marine tourism operators significantly affected by COVID-19. The funding provides a further 6-month extension of the current waiver of the Environmental Management Charge for visitors and businesses which operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, to 30 June 2021.

The Environmental Management Charge must not be advertised, collected from visitors, or paid to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority from 1 April 2020 30 June 2021.

For more information about the advertising requirements during the waiver period please review the information in the tab below.

Background

On 12 March 2020 the Australian Government announced a $17.6 billion economic stimulus package in response to the significant challenges posed by the spread of the coronavirus. An overview of this package is available on the Treasury website. The Government set aside $1 billion to support those regions and communities disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the Coronavirus, including those heavily reliant on industries such as tourism, agriculture and education.

This support included temporary waiving of the Environmental Management Charge (EMC) across all charge categories from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020. As such, the Environmental Management Charge must not be advertised, collected from visitors, or paid to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority during the waiver period.

Further, on 9 June 2020 legislative amendments were introduced, waiving the Environmental Management Charge across all charge categories for the first quarter 1 January to 31 March 2020. This legislation waived the requirement for permission holders to pay the charge to the Authority.  Money already paid to the Authority for this period will be returned.

Have you submitted your EMC visitation data?

It is still very important that permission holders continue to lodge quarterly tourism visitation data through the EMC Online portal exactly as you have previously done for each quarter. Understandably, the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted businesses and necessary restrictions have limited trips undertaken since January 2020. This data is vital to industry and the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

NIL activity returns should continue to be lodged.

Other COVID-19 links include changes to permit processes and changes to special tourism permission.

What is the environmental management charge?

The environmental management charge (EMC) is a charge associated with most commercial activities, including tourism operations, non-tourist charter operations, and facilities, operating under a permit issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

For most tourism operations, Marine Park visitors participating in a tourist activity are liable to pay the charge to the permit holder, who then remits the charge to the Authority.

Other operations in the Marine Park, such as those involving the hire of equipment, installation and operation of tourist facilities, underwater observatories, sewage outfalls and vending operations, pay fixed quarterly charges to the Authority.

The funds received from the environmental management charge are vitally important in the day-to-day management of the Marine Park and in improving its long-term resilience. All funds received as environmental management charge payments are applied directly to management of the Marine Park.

At the same time, visitation information provided when environmental management charge is submitted greatly assists the Authority and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) in developing management arrangements for sustainable use of the Marine Park.

Does it apply to me?

The role of the permit holder is to collect and remit the environmental management charge to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority by the due date in accordance with Part 13 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 2019.

As a permit holder in the Marine Park, you are responsible for:

  • collecting the correct amount of the environmental management charge
  • keeping accurate and up-to-date records of the environmental management charge
  • submitting the logbooks to the Authority by the due date, even when there is no activity
  • remitting all payments quarterly to the Authority by the due date
  • accurately advertising the environmental management charge

Regardless of private business arrangements you may make, as the permit holder it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with the legislative requirements of your permit and to ensure the full and timely lodgement of all environmental management charge returns and payments.

NOTE:  You are not required to pay GST on any environmental management charge collected.

Tourist related visitors – daily charges

The Standard Tourist Program Charge is $7.00 (full day) and $3.50 (part day) per visitor.

To review your records or lodge environmental management charge returns, please visit Environmental Management Charge Online (EMC Online).