If disaster strikes
There are contingency arrangements in place to help you if an environmental incident affects the site you are visiting.
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) recognises that environmental incidents, such as cyclones and oil spills, may severely degrade the quality of a tourism site and that presentation of that site may damage the reputation of the Great Barrier Reef and the marine tourism industry. We also understand the economic hardship that may result from such an incident.
The GBRMPA has a Marine Tourism Contingency Plan (see Related Links) to guide our rapid response to requests for temporary relocation and to ensure that all requests are dealt with in a consistent and streamlined manner. This plan is particularly important for the Cairns, Whitsundays and Hinchinbrook areas where the number and locations of tourism operations and structures are closely managed.
Can I move my operation?
It is possible for you to relocate your operation following a severe environmental incident. However, if it is not already provided for in your permit, you must have approval from the GBRMPA and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service.
To apply for a temporary relocation you must be able to demonstrate that an event (e.g. cyclones, ship groundings, coral bleaching, oil spills, crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks) has occurred that was beyond your reasonable control (and did not result from any negligence on your part) and has resulted in sufficient degradation of your tourism site to render it unviable for tourism operations.
In assessing your application we will need to be confident that any relocation does not in itself cause environmental harm or unreasonable impact on other users of the Marine Parks.
For how long can I move?
Relocations under this plan are intended to be granted for a maximum period of up to 12 months. This temporary relocation allows you to continue operating in the short term while longer term solutions are established.
How do I apply?
Please contact the GBRMPA as soon as possible if you are affected by an environmental incident and are considering relocation. It is important that all parties (managing agencies, tourism industry, traditional owners and other stakeholders) are involved and consulted early so that worthwhile solutions can be developed.
To apply for temporary relocation following a severe environmental incident you must complete a temporary relocation application form and submit to GBRMPA.
If available, you could also provide supporting material with your application, for example video transects, before and after photos and client satisfaction survey results.
What will it cost?
When you apply for temporary relocation you will need to pay the relevant assessment fee. The fee will vary depending upon whether the changes can be implemented through a variation to the permission. A new Permit Application Assessment Fee depends on the nature and scale of the operation, and whether an initial fee or further permit fee is appropriate.
All operational expenses associated with removing and/or reinstalling a tourist facility will be borne by the operator, including the costs of site supervision.
If you need to quickly change the vessel or aircraft that you are using, there are ways for you to nominate another vessel or aircraft. This will let you keep operating even when you have had a mechanical breakdown or unforeseen problems.
If you're heading out on the water, don't forget your free Zoning Map so you know where you can go and what you can do.
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