Skip to main content

Permit Application and Assessment Fees (PAAF)

From 1 July 2023, permit application and assessment fees, other permit related fees and all post permit requirements, inclusive of facility and mooring compliance certificates will apply.

Reasonable use for special tourism permissions

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Board has approved the suspension of the reasonable use latency provision (clause 16) of the Managing Tourism Permissions to Operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Policy until 30 June 2023 (previously 30 June 2021). Visitation data from the “exemption period” (1 March 2020 to 30 June 2023) will not be included in future reasonable use assessments, unless it is of benefit to the permit holder.  For more information visit the Special Tourism Permissions page.

Other COVID-19 links include changes to the Environmental Management Charge.

Guide for Current Permit Holders

A new guide for current permit holders is now available. The guide was developed with the Queensland Department of Environment and Science to help current permit holders navigate the sometimes confusing waters of permits, understand how to be a responsible permit holder and know the general requirements when operating in the Marine Parks.

Permissions in General

Some commercial activities and operations occurring in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef (Coast) Marine Park require a permit.

Permits are granted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science through a joint permission system.

The permission system regulates activities that require permission or accreditation under Australian and Queensland government acts, regulations and the Zoning Plan.

The Permission System Policy outlines the approach to managing the permission system within the Marine Parks. A Service Charter for the permission system is available and information about current applications, recent decisions, and current permits.

Online application portal

Permits Online is an online application portal that has been launched to allow applicants to submit Marine Parks permit applications and to manage their existing permits and contact details.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

When is a permission needed?

  • The Zoning Plans explain which activities require permission, for example:
  • Commercial tourist programs and vessel and aircraft charter operations
  • Installing, maintaining and demolishing a facility, such as pipes, jetties, pontoons, and marinas
  • Installing and operating moorings
  • Waste discharge from a fixed facility
  • Aquaculture facilities
  • Carrying out works such as dredging and dredge spoil disposal
  • Anchoring or mooring for an extended period
  • Some commercial fishing activities (such as dive-based harvest fisheries)
  • Research, except for limited impact research
  • Educational programs
  • Also, existing permission holders who wish to make changes to their operations or transfer their permit(s), are also likely to require permission.

When is a permission not needed?

  • Permission is not usually required for:
  • Private recreational use, such as boating, fishing and swimming
  • Limited impact research conducted by an accredited research institution
  • Filming or recording which uses hand-held equipment and is low impact or using unmanned aircraft (provided conditions are met). Refer to Recording activity assessment guidelines for guidance on low impact recording.
  • Interacting with whales and dolphins (please note required approach distances). Refer to Whale-based tourism activity assessment guidelines.
  • Most commercial fishing
  • Commercial shipping using designated shipping areas
  • Traditional uses through an accredited Traditional Use of Marine Resources Agreement
  • Fireworks (provided conditions are met).

Continuing or changing an existing permit

An applicant has the right to request a reconsideration of any decision made about a permit application. Third parties can also seek a reconsideration.

A request for reconsideration must be made within 21 days of the decision being published on the Marine Park Authority’s website.

If the applicant or the third party are dissatisfied with the outcome of the subsequent reconsideration, they have a further right to apply to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of the reconsidered decision.

Given the majority of permits are granted jointly with the Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service, if a review of their decision is sought, applicants should apply using the form here.

Review rights

If applying to continue an existing permit you can continue operating under the permit until a decision has been made on the continuation application, so long as the application has been completed before the existing permit expires.

If you require changes to your existing permit, the Marine Park Authority must assess and make a decision on the proposed amendments before you can undertake those changes.


For clarification on any matters relating to the permission system, contact or phone 
07 4750 0860.
Updated 14 Mar 2023
Was this page helpful?
Your rating will help us improve the website.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.