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For most tourism operations, the environmental management charge (EMC) is calculated on a per person, per day (or part-day) rate. Permit holders are required to submit quarterly data returns (logbooks). This applies even when the permit holder did not operate.

Other operations, such as those involving equipment hire, installation and operation of tourist facilities, underwater observatories, sewage outfalls and vending operations, pay a fixed quarterly EMC. This applies even when the permit holder did not operate.

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

Standard tourism program charge

This charge is collected by the permit holder and remitted to the Reef Authority on a quarterly basis.

Staff or crew who are on duty should not be counted as visitors. However, if they are off duty and taking part in your tourist program, they are considered to be visitors and must be included.

Full day passenger (pax) $8.00 per day for:
  • trips of three hours or more
  • trips entering the Marine Park before 5.00 pm
  • trips leaving the Marine Park after 6.00 am
  • first three days of an extended charter
  • any visitors who are on the fourth or subsequent days of an extended charter with an operator who then participates in a tourist program with a different operator.
Part day passenger (pax) $4.00 per part-day visitor for:
  • trips of less than three hours
  • where the first day of a trip enters the Marine Park after 5.00 pm
  • where the last day of a trip leaves the Marine Park before 6.00 am

Non-tourist charge

This category applies to commercial vessels available for charter operations to conduct non-tourist activities (for example, surveys, research, commercial filmmaking, and delivery of goods/crew).

Passengers only pay on the first day of each trip. For extended trips passengers only pay on the first day and all other days are recorded under exempt.

  • $2 per person

Tourism excursions

If a visitor participates in more than one excursion on the same day and all the excursions are provided under the same permit, the visitor only pays for the first excursion.

  • Semi-submersible (SS) and glass-bottomed boat (GBB) excursions 40 cents per excursion

A trip to conduct a coral viewing program provides for a stand-alone activity involving an excursion for visitors to view coral and fish from a semi-submersible or glass-bottomed boat.

NOTE: This does not include glass-bottomed and semi-submersible excursions which are ancillary to another tourist program.

  • Sight-seeing flights 40 cents per excursion

Tourism related services and facilities – fixed quarterly charges

The permit holder must pay EMC even when there is no activity.

Beach hire

Charges are based on the equipment listed on the permit.

Non-motorised beach hire

  • less than six pieces of equipment: $12 per quarter
  • six or more pieces of equipment: $25 per quarter
Dinghy hire

A dinghy is a small open boat having no designed sleeping accommodation. It does not include half-cabin boats.

  • less than six dinghies: $50 per quarter
  • six or more dinghies: $12 per dinghy per quarter.
Motorised water sports
  • if the equipment is jet boats (e.g. jet skis) designed to carry no more than two persons: $25 per quarter
  • if the equipment includes no jet boats: $62 per quarter
  • if the equipment is jet boats and other motorised equipment $87 per quarter.
Pontoons (including tourist, helicopter and swim pontoons)
  • an area less than or equal to 40m2: $90 per quarter
  • an area greater than 40m2: $180 per quarter.
Floating hotels
  • $280 per quarter.
Underwater observatories (other than those attached to pontoons)
  • $130 per quarter.


Non-tourist related services and structures – fixed quarterly charges

Vending operations
  • $30 per metre of the length of the vessel per quarter
  • The general mode of operation of such vessels is for the sale of goods or services from a vessel. No visitors are carried.
  • $380 per quarter (for construction or operation).
  • $500 per quarter for the first 10 hectares plus $200 per quarter for each additional 10 hectares. 

Land-based sewage discharge (applies to land-based marine outfalls only)

This charge applies to marine outfalls only.

  • Sewage is taken to have received tertiary treatment if the effluent complies with standard described in the point source sewage discharge return. If sewage has received tertiary treatment, the change is $400 per quarter.
  • If sewage has not received tertiary treatment the charge is $400 per quarter, plus a charge based on a cost per unit nutrient formula: $4.00 x V x (N+P).

Where: V = total volume of sewage, expressed in megalitres, discharged in the quarter.

N = concentration, expressed as milligrams per litre of all forms of nitrogen.

P = concentration, expressed as milligrams per litre of all forms of phosphorus.

For further information regarding the requirements of tertiary, secondary and primary treatment, please refer to the regulations.

Free of charge

EMC should not be collected from visitors who are carried free-of-charge (i.e. the permit holder is not paid a fee for the provision of the service) and are:

  • children less than four years old
  • beneficiaries of registered charities
  • supervised school groups
  • participating in tourism industry trade familiarisations
  • media crews reporting on Great Barrier Reef Marine Park issues


EMC should not be collected from:

  • visitors who have already paid the full Environmental Management Charge for that day to another operator
  • visitors who are on their fourth and subsequent days of an extended trip with one operator, providing the visitor has paid the maximum charge ($24.00)
  • transfer passengers who transit through the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park via the most direct route and for whom the permit holder does not provide any tourism activities for two hours after disembarkation.
  • passengers who visit the Queensland Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park only.

You are required to keep records of any exemptions for at least two years

Future EMC fees

Charges are reviewed annually and changed in line with the Brisbane Consumer Price Index.

The Reef Authority provides 12 months' notice of any impending change to the environmental management charge allowing sufficient lead time to incorporate changes into brochures and implement changes in wholesale pricing arrangements.

Please note there will be no change to the standard tourism program charge for the year commencing 1 April 2025, in accordance with CPI increases.

All other EMC categories are fixed charges and will not change.

Updated 5 Jul 2024
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