31 May, 2021
Fee relief for Whitsunday tourism businesses
WHITSUNDAY reef tour operators have been given an additional 12-month reprieve from the cost of applying for permits to access the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park as the Morrison Liberal National Government extends the fee waiver from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the temporary waiver was delivering on a commitment from the recent Budget.
“Our regional tourism industry is going to be a big part of the economic
recovery and we need to ensure we still have operational tourism
businesses when the borders reopen,” Mr Christensen said.
“This fee waiver offers some much-needed relief for tourism operators in the
Whitsundays who have had an incredibly tough 18 months.
“A relatively simple measure like this can make a big difference to a struggling tourism business, so this will be welcome news for the Whitsunday community.”
Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said the Morrison Government was committed to supporting businesses affected as result of the global pandemic.
“Travel and work restrictions associated with the outbreak of COVID-19 have placed severe financial hardship on businesses who use and access the Great Barrier Reef,” Minister Ley said.
“We have consistently looked for ways to ease pressure where we can and extending the temporary waiver of fees that would usually be associated with administering and assessing Great Barrier Reef Marine Park permit applications is one of those.
“Permits will still run through the usual rigorous assessment process, but this means businesses will not have an up-front cost.”
Operations occurring in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier
Reef (Coast) Marine Park will still 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 Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority usually collects a fee to partially cover the cost of the time spent administering and assessing the request for Marine Park permission.