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Education activities extend throughout the Great Barrier Reef and makes a significant contribution to the presentation, management and economic value of the Great Barrier Reef.

The managing agencies recognise the Marine Parks are areas of high educational interest due to their biological and ecological diversity, geomorphology and cultural heritage. Educational programs play an important role in providing valuable opportunities to enhance appreciation, understanding and enjoyment of the Marine Park’s values.

In addition, knowledge gained through education programs can empower people to be more proactive about promoting conservation messages, becoming involved in activities that help protect the Reef, or encouraging others to visit.

When is a permit required?

Under the provisions of the (Commonwealth) Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 and the (Queensland) Marine Parks (Great Barrier Reef Coast) Zoning Plan 2004, written permission is required for the conduct of an education program.

An educational program involves the systematic education of the participants in a particular skill or topic, where none of the participants are tourists.

  • Educational programs must be either:
  • an accredited course delivered by a registered training organisation; or 
  • a learning activity which is part of a formal curriculum led by, or on behalf of, a primary or secondary school, tertiary institution or university.

If you're not sure whether your proposal includes an educational program, check out our Application Guidelines.

Activities which do not meet the above criteria are generally not considered to be educational programs by the managing agencies. If the activities don’t meet the criteria, they are likely to be considered conduct of a tourism program or research, depending on the activities and type of participant.

Primary and secondary education

Public and private schools are accredited by their relevant Australian state. Primary or secondary school activities are only educational programs if they are part of a formal curriculum, rather than primarily a recreational outing.

Be a Marine Biologist for a Day - Great Barrier Reef - Commonwealth of Australia (Reef Authority)
Updated 3 Jul 2024
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