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Onboard - Tourism Operator's Handbook for the Great Barrier Reef

Environmental Management Charge (EMC)

The Environmental Management Charge (EMC) is a charge associated with most commercial activities, including tourism operations, non-tourist charter operations and facilities, operated under a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park permit.

The funds collected are vital to protecting and managing the Marine Park and are applied across all areas of management.

Who must pay?

Visitors to the Marine Park participating in a tourist activity must pay a daily charge to the permit holder. Visitors must also pay when using a non-tourist charter operation. The role of the permit holder is to collect and remit the charge to the GBRMPA by the due date.

Permit holders must pay fixed quarterly charges associated with beach hire (including non-motorised beach hire, dinghy hire and motorised water sports), installation and operation of tourist facilities (including pontoons), and non-tourist related services and structures (including vending operations, marinas, mariculture and land-based sewage discharge).

What amount do I collect and pay?

The Environmental Management Charge is based on your type of operation.

An 'operation' refers to the individual components of your permitted tourism business. An operator may undertake more than one type of operation in their business - for example, a pontoon, a daily tour and beach hire. The amount of EMC to be collected and paid varies for different types of operations. 

The Charge can also vary depending on the type of passengers you carry and how long you are in the Marine Park.

Please check carefully the amount you need to collect and/or pay.

You will be advised of the appropriate fees payable when you are granted a Marine Parks permit.

Do I need to pay GST?

You are not required to pay GST on any EMC collected.

What do I need to do?

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

  • Collecting the correct amount of the EMC from individual visitors for tourist related operations and non-tourist charter passengers
  • Keeping accurate and up-to-date records of the EMC
  • For most operations, submitting the logbooks to the GBRMPA by the due date, even where there is no activity
  • Remitting all payments quarterly to the GBRMPA by the due date for tourist related operations and non-tourist charter passengers
  • Remitting fixed quarterly charges to the GBRMPA by the due date for tourist related services - for example, beach hire and pontoons - and non tourist related services and structures
  • Accurately advertising the EMC.

You have important responsibilities regarding record keeping and payment.

Are there penalties?

You are legally required to meet EMC obligations such as advertising the charge correctly, maintaining appropriate records to determine the amount of EMC payable, providing other information when requested to do so and lodging your payments and records by the due dates. There are penalties for not meeting your legal obligations.

Regardless of private business arrangements you may make, you are reminded that as the permit holder you have the responsibility to ensure compliance with the conditions of our permit and to ensure the full and timely lodgement of all EMC returns and payments.

Will the EMC increase?

The EMC is linked with the Consumer Price Index (all groups) for Brisbane. Increases take place on 1 April during years when the accumulated indexed calculation reaches $0.40 or more. The GBRMPA will notify operators of any increases to the EMC at least 12 months in advance.

© Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority