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EMC waiver period extended until 30 June 2023.

Through the 2022-23 Budget the Australian Government continues to support the recovery of the tourism industry along the Great Barrier Reef by extending the waiver of Environmental Management Charge (EMC) up to 30 June 2023 (previously 30 June 2022).

What does this mean for me?

EMC must not be advertised, collected from visitors, nor paid to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority until 1 July 2023.  More information about advertising requirements during the waiver can be found here.

As always, our staff are here to help you should you have further EMC related enquiries and can be contacted by phone 07 4750 0700 (Option 3)  or email

Charging Framework Reform

Permit holders have long called for a review of the Marine Park fee charging system because it is complex and difficult to administer.  The far reaching impacts of COVID-19 travel restrictions on the marine tourism industry have further highlighted the administrative burden on small to medium businesses of the current system.

To address these issues, the Authority is conducting a review of the charging framework for the Marine Park, which includes the Environmental Management Charge (EMC) and the Permit Application and Assessment Fees (PAAFs), seeking to reform the complex arrangements and reduce red tape, thus supporting business efficiency.

Environmental Management Charge and Permit Application and Assessment Fees are charges which are paid by marine park visitors and/or permit holders to the Authority.

  • The review seeks to:
  • Deliver decreased regulatory and administrative burden for Marine Park users
  • Harness technology to provide an innovative and modern system that can continue to adapt to future needs
  • Support continued world-class management of the Marine Park
  • Align with the Australian Government’s Charging Framework and Cost Recovery Guidelines

A critical aspect to underpin this review is the engagement of an external consultant to provide economic and regulatory analysis.

  • The Authority has engaged KPMG to undertake this external analysis work, which will include:
  • Benchmark current charges and options against other charging structures for similar activities via a literature review.
  • Targeted surveys and interviews of current permit holders and representative bodies to document their sentiment about the current charging framework
  • Identify options for a modern charging framework.
  • Provide a comparative analysis of those options with respect to regulatory impact, cost and benefit, risk, and likely stakeholder acceptability.

Understanding the pros and cons of the current charging framework and consideration of other charging frameworks used elsewhere will inform the development of options for comparative analysis with respect to regulatory impact, cost and benefit, risk, and likely stakeholder acceptability.

A review of this charging structure is complex and broad stakeholder consultation will be a key aspect in further analysing a range of options following the completion of this initial economic and regulatory analysis.

The review is expected to continue over the next two years, including systems development to support implementation.

Contact the review team at

What are the charges?

For more information about the different charges per service and structure, click here.

Have you submitted your EMC visitation data?

It is still very important that permission holders lodge quarterly tourism visitation data through the EMC Online portal as you have previously done for each quarter. This data is vital to industry and the management of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.


NIL activity returns should continue to be lodged.

Other COVID-19 links include changes to permit processes and changes to special tourism permission.

What is the environmental management charge?

The environmental management charge (EMC) is a charge associated with most commercial activities, including tourism operations, non-tourist charter operations, and facilities, operating under a permit issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority.

For most tourism operations, Marine Park visitors participating in a tourist activity are liable to pay the charge to the permit holder, who then remits the charge to the Authority.

Other operations in the Marine Park, such as those involving the hire of equipment, installation and operation of tourist facilities, underwater observatories, sewage outfalls and vending operations, pay fixed quarterly charges to the Authority.

The funds received from the environmental management charge are vitally important in the day-to-day management of the Marine Park and in improving its long-term resilience. All funds received as environmental management charge payments are applied directly to management of the Marine Park.

At the same time, visitation information provided when environmental management charge is submitted greatly assists the Authority and the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) in developing management arrangements for sustainable use of the Marine Park.

Does it apply to me?

The role of the permit holder is to collect and remit the environmental management charge to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority by the due date in accordance with Part 13 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 2019.

  • As a permit holder in the Marine Park, you are responsible for:
  • collecting the correct amount of the environmental management charge
  • keeping accurate and up-to-date records of the environmental management charge
  • submitting the logbooks to the Authority by the due date, even when there is no activity
  • remitting all payments quarterly to the Authority by the due date
  • accurately advertising the environmental management charge

Regardless of private business arrangements you may make, as the permit holder it is your responsibility to ensure compliance with the legislative requirements of your permit and to ensure the full and timely lodgement of all environmental management charge returns and payments.

NOTE:  You are not required to pay GST on any environmental management charge collected.

Tourist related visitors – daily charges

The Standard Tourist Program Charge is $7.00 (full day) and $3.50 (part day) per visitor.

To review your records or lodge environmental management charge returns, please visit Environmental Management Charge Online (EMC Online).

Environment Management Charge Online is a web-based system to assist you in managing your environment management charge obligations. It is a user-friendly application with the ability to integrate environment management charge reporting into daily business practices and resolve accounts online.

Once you have entered your visitation data using Environmental Management Charge online, the amount owing is calculated for you. A secure online payment facility provides ready access to a range of payment options.

  • What are the benefits for you?
  • An easy to use system to enter your data and complete your payments.
  • Automatic calculation of the charge amount owing.
  • A secure online payment facility with a range of payment options.
  • The ability to customise to suit your operations.

Keeping records

We encourage the use of Environmental Management Charge Online (EMC Online) to submit environmental management charge data and make payments.

Permit Holders must record each day that the permission is used whether or not a charge is incurred or collected. Evidence of Environmental Management Charge transactions are required to be kept for two years. This means things such as tickets, receipts and logbooks.


The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park 2019 Regulations require all permit holders to meet all their Environmental Management Charge obligations. This includes maintaining appropriate records, submitting logbooks and payments by the due dates.

  • Failure to meet your obligations may invoke the following penalties:
  • late payment penalty
  • permit suspension
  • permit revocation.
  • It is illegal to operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park if your permit is suspended or revoked. It is important to note that failure to meet Environmental Management Charge obligations could also result in criminal proceedings as well as civil penalties.

Need help?

Environmental Management Charge help-desk is open weekdays between 9am and 5pm.
Phone (07) 4750 0837

There is no current requirement for Permit Holders to collect EMC from their visitors and advertising material should be altered to ensure consumers are not mislead about the prices charged.  These changes should take place immediately.

The Authority understands that most businesses do incur an administration cost, including but not limited to continuing to providing logbook and visitation data, this however is not a charge imposed by the Authority and reference to the Marine Park or the Authority in fee descriptions must be avoided as it is likely to be interpreted as implying these fees are being imposed by the Authority.

For further information advertisers should review the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission website ACCC relating to false or misleading claims.

How is logbook information used?

Logbook information is used to determine the amount of environmental management charge you need to pay. Data from logbooks is used by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service to assist in managing the Marine Park. This information is confidential and only aggregated data is released to the public, other organisations and government departments to protect your privacy.

Visitation Data

Read our privacy notice for the environmental management charge

Environmental Management Charge increases

The environmental management charge is linked to the Consumer Price Index for Brisbane. Increases take place on April 1 when the accumulated indexed calculation reaches $0.40 or more. Permit holders are advised of any increases twelve months prior to the implementation of the increase.

Created Wed, 2022-08-24 00:01
Updated 24 Aug 2022
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