Great Barrier Reef businesses have been given an additional 12-month reprieve from the cost of applying for Reef permits.
The Morrison Government will extend the fee waiver from 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022.
Federal Environment Minister 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,” Ms 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.”
Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said the temporary waiver was delivering on a commitment from the recent Budget.
“The Great Barrier Reef region contributed $6.4 billion to the Australian economy and supported an estimated 64,000 jobs prior to COVID-19,” Mr Entsch said.
“I know this initiative will be welcomed by many Cairns and Far North Queensland businesses.”
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.