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

What is the Charge?

There are a number of categories of fees for the Environmental Management Charge (EMC) depending on the operations you are undertaking.

Most commonly, the EMC is a daily charge paid by each visitor. The term 'visitor’ is defined in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 as meaning:

  • a tourist; and
  • any other person who is provided with a service in the Marine Park under a tourist program.

In calculating the amount of EMC due and owing, you are required by the Regulations to count visitors as defined above.

Where non-tourist charter operations are conducted, passengers pay a daily charge to the permit holder.

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).

Check the Fee Schedule for the amount relevant to your operation, including whether you are entitled to any concessions or exemptions.

What is the usual fee?

For the majority of tourism operations, each passenger is liable for a charge of $3.50* per day or part thereof. The amount is reduced for short visits to the Marine Park or those lasting more than three days.

  • Passengers who have already paid the full EMC for that day with a different operator do not need to pay again.
  • Transfer passengers who simply transit the Marine Park do not need to pay.
  • Staff or crew who are on duty do not need to pay. However, if they are off duty and taking part in your tourist program, they are considered as visitors and must be included.
  • The EMC must be collected for visitors travelling on discounted fares, including children aged four years or older and pensioners.

* Correct as of 1 April 2012.

How do I know if a passenger has already paid?

The only way you can be sure that a passenger has already paid the full EMC amount for a particular day is to see evidence of the payment. This means that either the passenger, or the operator who provided the original service, needs to show you a dated receipt or dated ticket stating that the full EMC amount has already been paid for that day. You should retain a copy of the receipt or ticket in case you need to demonstrate why you did not collect EMC from the passenger.

What if I provide activities for cruise ship passengers?

If you are providing tourism activities to cruise ship passengers as part of a tour sold onboard the cruise ship, then it is important that you establish whether your potential clients have already paid EMC for that day. This information (e.g. a dated receipt) will usually be available from the shipping agent.

What if I only operate in the State Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park?

If you only operate in the State Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park, then there is no charge for the passengers you carry.

What is a transfer passenger?

A transfer passenger is a person who transits through the Marine Park on a tourism operation, but for whom you do not provide any tourism activities while they are in the Marine Park and for two hours after disembarkation.

© Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority