Overview of the Representative Areas Program
- The need for rezoning
- Research and planning
- First community participation phase
- Developing the Draft Zoning Plan
- Second community participation phase
- Further development of the Plan
- Implementing the Zoning Plan
- Education, Surveillance and Enforcement
- Monitoring the ecological effects of the 2004 rezoning of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Plans of management
- Cairns Area Plan of Management
- Hinchinbrook Plan of Management
- Shoalwater Bay (Dugong) Plan of Management
- Whitsundays Plan of Management
- Updates to Whitsundays Plan of Management
- Privacy Statement - Public Consultation for Whitsundays Plan of Management Amendment
- Guide to visiting the Whitsundays Plan of Management Area for recreational users
- Whitsundays Plan of Management Setting 5 Site Plans
- Superyacht anchorages in the Whitsundays
- Special Management Areas
- Raine Island Moulter Cay and MacLennan Cay Site Management Arrangements
- Clump Point Site Management Arrangements
- Michaelmas Cay Locality Site Management Arrangements
- Upolu Cay and Reef Site Management Arrangements
- Milln Reef Site Plan
- Flynn Reef Site Plan
- Bauer Bay, Site Management Arrangements
- Tongue Bay, Hill Inlet, Whitehaven Beach
- Fitzroy Reef
- Keppel Bay and Islands Site Management Arrangements
- Lady Elliot Island and Reef
- Lady Musgrave Reef
- Cairns Area Plan of Management Historical Site Plan
- Horseshoe Bay Site Management Arrangements
- Blue Pearl Bay, Hayman Island
- Low Isles
- Permission system
- Environmental management charge
- Environmental assessment management
Some commercial activities and operations occurring in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef (Coast) Marine Park require a permit. Permits are issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) through a joint permission system.
The permission system is the legislated methods of regulating activities that require permission or accreditation under Australian and Queensland government acts, regulations and the Zoning Plan.
The Permission System Policy outlines the approach to managing the permission system within the Marine Parks. A Service Charter for the permission system is available and information about current applications, recent decisions, and current permits. Guidelines assist applicants seeking permission to undertake activities in the Marine Parks and guide staff assessing the applications:
- Application guidelines
- Assessment guidelines
- Risk assessment procedure
- Value guidelines
- Location guidelines
- Activity guidelines
The Zoning Plans explain which activities require permission, for example:
- Commercial tourist programs and vessel and aircraft charter operations
- Installing, maintaining and demolishing a facility, such as pipes, jetties, pontoons, and marinas
- Installing and operating moorings
- Waste discharge from a fixed facility
- Aquaculture facilities
- Carrying out works such as dredging and dredge spoil disposal
- Anchoring or mooring for an extended period
- Some commercial fishing activities (such as dive-based harvest fisheries)
- Research, except for limited impact research
- Educational programs
Also, existing permission holders who wish to make changes to their operations or transfer their permit(s), are also likely to require permission.
Permission is not usually required for:
- Private recreational use, such as boating, fishing and swimming
- Limited impact research conducted by an accredited research institution
- Filming or recording which uses hand-held equipment and is low impact or using unmanned aircraft (provided conditions are met). Refer to Recording activity assessment guidelines for guidance on low impact recording.
- Interacting with whales and dolphins (please note required approach distances). Refer to Whale-based tourism activity assessment guidelines.
- Most commercial fishing
- Commercial shipping using designated shipping areas
- Traditional uses through an accredited Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement
- Fireworks (provided conditions are met).
Any proposed activity in the Marine Parks that requires a permission is subject to an assessment and a decision on whether the permission is granted.
Application guidelines provide a comprehensive guide to applying for an Marine Parks permission.
An online application portal allows applicants to submit their Marine Parks application (both new and continuation) and track its progress. The system also enables applicants to view existing permits, submit required documentation and update contact details.
What information should be included?
Applications for permission must provide enough information about the proposed activity to allow managing agencies to conduct an assessment of potential impacts and determine the most appropriate risk management measures. Refer to ’How we assess applications’
An application will be considered as properly made when all relevant inforamtion is provided to the Marine Park Authority - refer to the Application checklists for information on what's needed.
How long will it take to assess?
We have developed a Service Charter for the permission system which provides information on the service level standards for routine and tailored assessment approaches. For further information on the assessment approaches go to Permission System Policy.
Where permission is granted, the applicant will receive a permit detailing the permission(s) granted and how activities are to be conducted.
If applying to continue an existing permit you can continue operating under the permit until a decision has been made on the continuation application, so long as the application has been completed before the existing permit expires.
If you require changes to your existing permit, the Marine Park Authority must assess and make a decision on the proposed amendments before you can undertake those changes.
An applicant has the right to request a reconsideration of any decision made about a permit application. Third parties can also seek a reconsideration.
A request for reconsideration must be made within 21 days of the decision being published on the Marine Park Authority’s website.
If the applicant or the third party are dissatisfied with the outcome of the subsequent reconsideration, they have a further right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the reconsidered decision.
Given the majority of permits are granted jointly with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, if a review of their decision is sought, applicants should apply using the form here.
For clarification on any matters relating to the permission system, contact:
Phone our permits hotline on (07) 4750 0860 (between 9am and 2pm, Monday to Friday).