Environmental management charge

Important update on the Environmental Management Charge (EMC)

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority understands the pressures facing the tourism industry, which is a vitally important industry to the Great Barrier Reef.

On 12 March 2020 the Australian Government announced a $17.6 billion economic stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus and the impact that it is having on visitation to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

This support includes temporary waiving of the Environmental Management Charge across all charge categories to 31 December 2020.

The Authority is working closely with the relevant federal departments to implement the required legislative changes to enact the stimulus package as a matter of priority.

The Environmental Management Charge is required by law to continue to be collected from visitors until the legislative changes commence. At this stage it is expected that the commencement date will be 1 April 2020.

At the conclusion of the March Quarter (31 March 2020), under the current Regulations chargeable permission holders must remit the Environmental Management Charges that have been collected from visitors.

The Environmental Management Charge will then not be required to be collected from visitors from commencement of legislative changes through to 31 December 2020.

It is important that permission holders continue to lodge quarterly tourism visitation data. This data is vital to industry and the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

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 $6.50 (full day) and $3.25 (part day) per visitor.

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