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Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Amendment Bill 1993

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House: House of Representatives

Portfolio: Environment, Sport and Territories


To provide for the collection of a charge in respect of certain activities in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.


The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP) is managed by the GBRMP Authority (GBRMPA), which is a Commonwealth statutory authority comprising a Chairperson and two members, one of whom is a representative of the Queensland government. The main aim of GBRMPA is the management of the park in such a way as to balance its protection and use. Policy regarding GBRMP is determined by a Ministerial Council, which contains two Ministers from both the Commonwealth and Queensland government governments.

GBRMPA's activities include the environmental impact management of the area, which involves the assessment of proposals for activities and monitoring the environmental impact of permitted activities. The majority of the efforts in the environmental management relate to the monitoring and approval of tourist activities.

GBRMPA is principally financed by appropriations from the Commonwealth and Queensland governments (the Commonwealth contributed $14.125 million in 1991- 2 while Queensland contributed $3.038 million) and expenditure in 1991- 2 totalled approximately $17 million. 1 Funds are also received from other areas, including permit assessment fees.

In 1989- 90 the GBRMPA, with the cooperation of the tourist industry, established a system of cost recovery for the environmental assessment of development proposals and for the environmental monitoring associated with these projects when operational.

In February 1991, the Ministerial Council agreed that charges on users of the GBRMP should supplement government appropriations. The GBRMPA commissioned a study by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics on charging users of the GBRMP. One of the conclusions of the October 1991 report was that all users of the GBRMP, not just commercial tourism operators, should contribute to the cost of its management, noting the rapid growth of private boats using the GBRMP and that these boats are responsible for half of the total catch of reef fish in the Great Barrier Reef Region.

On 23 June 1992 the Minister for Arts, Sport, the Environment and Territories announced that from 1 July 1993 commercial operators who have a Marine Park permit will be required to pay a charge, to be applied to research and management of GBRMPA. The charge is estimated to raise approximately $1 million per year and administrative costs are estimated at 10%.

Main Provisions

The Bill will commence on 1 July 1993 (clause 2).

The term `chargeable permission' is defined in clause 3 to be a permission granted under the regulations that is declared by regulation to be a chargeable permission (i.e. the regulations may require that permission be acquired to perform various activities in GBRMP and these may then be made subject to a charge).

A new Part VA dealing with the charge will be inserted into the Principal Act by clause 5.

The charge will be payable by a person where they are granted a chargeable permission or such a permission is transferred to them. The charge will be payable in respect to existing chargeable permissions as well as ones granted or transferred after the commencement of the Bill. As a result, the charge will apply to all chargeable permissions after the commencement of the Bill (proposed section 39B).

The amount of charge is to be calculated in accordance with the regulations (proposed section 39C), as is the time for payment (proposed section 39E) and the regulations may provide for payment by instalment (proposed section 39F).

Where a charge is unpaid after the time it is due, a late penalty calculated at the rate of 20% will apply, although GBRMPA will have power to remit all or part of a late penalty (proposed section 39G).

The charge and late penalty are to be collected on behalf of the Commonwealth (proposed section 39H) and proposed section 39I provides that an amount equal to the amount of charge collected and paid to the Commonwealth is to be appropriated and paid to GBRMPA.

Proposed sections 39L to 39N provide for the review of decisions relating to the remission of the late charge by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The remaining provisions of the Bill contain administrative provisions in relation to the charge, including record keeping, the requirement for returns and the power to inspect records, premises, boats and aircraft. Premises may only be entered with permission or a warrant (proposed sections 39T and 39U).


1. Great Barrier Marine Park Authority Annual Report, 1991- 2, p. 79.

Bills Digest Service 10 May 1993

Parliamentary Research Service

This Digest does not have any official legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine the subsequent official status of the Bill.

Commonwealth of Australia 1993

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Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1993.