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New permissions to carry out works may require public comment with the assessment approach of Public Information Package, Public Environment Report or Environmental Impact Statement.

Some continuation applications for existing permissions may also require public comment. Specific information is required at the time of application.

We recommend contacting the Marine Park Authority before applying for a permission to carry out works in the Marine Parks.

Permissions for carrying out works cannot be granted in the Remote Natural Area covering most of the Far Northern Management Area.

Carrying out works is not permitted in a Preservation Zones or if it is inconsistent with objectives of other zones or a Plan of Management. There are also non-statutory site plans and site management arrangements that required consideration.

Environmental Management Plan

An Environmental Management Plan may be required at the time of application or requested as further information during the assessment.

If permission is granted, an updated Environmental Management Plan will require approval from the Authority prior to commencing works.

Applicants should refer to the assessment guidelines for further information about Environmental Management Plans.  

Deed of agreement

Most carrying out works permission conditions require the permission holder to enter into a deed of agreement with the Authority. For further information about deeds refer to the application guidelines.

Dredging and spoil disposal

Dredging can be for capital projects — including new or an enlargement of navigational channels, ports, marinas or boat harbours — or for engineering purposes such as trenches for pipes and cables or the removal of unsuitable material.

Dredging can also be for maintenance to ensure safe access by maintaining the designed depth of channels, berths or other port areas.

Dredge material may be re-used at or near the dredging site, or disposed of on land or at sea.  

Disposal at sea requires a permit under the Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981 (the Sea Dumping Act).

The Marine Park Authority administers the Sea Dumping Act when disposal is proposed in the Marine Park. Disposal at sea must also be consistent with the National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging 2009 (NAGD).

The Authority’s Dredging and Disposal Policy describes the management arrangements (including International, Commonwealth and State laws) aimed to mitigate environmental impacts associated with dredging and spoil disposal in the Marine Park.

The Marine Park Authority’s hydrodynamic modelling guidelines provide the specific procedures, methodologies and frameworks associated with hydrodynamic modelling and dredge plume modelling expected for dredging and disposal projects in the Marine Park.

Dredging and disposal activities may also require permission under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) (refer to the EPBC referral deemed application information sheet and Application Guidelines for further information).

Capital dredge spoil disposal – prohibited dumping and exemptions

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations (88RA) prohibit any amount of capital dredge spoil material that is more than 15 000 cubic metres in volume, prior to its excavation, to be disposed of in the Marine Park (excluding material excavated to create a trench in which the pipe, cable or tube is laid and then used to backfill the trench).

Harbour works and bed levelling

Harbour works requires a carrying out works permission and includes activities such as removing incidental navigational hazards, replacing pylons, ramps or cables.

Bed levelling is often conducted as harbour works or to level out the seafloor following a capital or maintenance dredging campaign.

Beach protection works

Beach protection works primarily occur in Queensland jurisdiction and therefore only requires permission from the Department of National Parks, Sport and Racing.

If, however, the beach protection works occurs in both State and Commonwealth or on Commonwealth Islands then a Marine Parks permission is required.

The material extracted for the Marine Parks during a capital or maintenance dredge campaign may be beneficially reused for beach protection works if deemed suitable in accordance with the National Assessment Guidelines for Dredging 2009.

However, dredging to recover minerals, including removing sand for beach protection works, is prohibited in the Marine Park.

Updated 27 Feb 2023
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