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Permission assessment and decision

September/2016
Objective
To provide general guidance about the application and interpretation of legislation and policy related to
assessing and deciding on permit applications.
Target audience
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority staff, as well as applicants, permission holders and the
general public particularly those who are considering undertaking activities in the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park which may require permission.

CONSULTATION NOTES:
1. These guidelines form part of a broader package which has been released for public comment and
should be read in conjunction with:
a. The draft revised Environmental impact management policy: permission system (Permission
system policy) explains how the management of the permission system ensures
consistency, transparency and achievement of the objects of the Act.
b. The draft Risk assessment procedure explains how GBRMPA determines risk level and the need
for avoidance, mitigation or offset measures.
c. The draft Application guidelines explain when permission is required and how to apply.
d. The draft Checklist of application information proposes information required to be submitted
before an application is accepted by GBRMPA.
e. The draft Information sheet on deemed applications under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC deemed application information sheet) explains how
application, assessment and decision processes work for those applications that require
approval under both the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act and the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
f. The draft Information sheet on joint Marine Parks permissions with Queensland (Joint Marine
Parks permissions information sheet) explains how GBRMPA and the Queensland Government
work together to administer a joint permission system.
g. The draft Guidelines: Value impact assessment in the permission system (Value assessment
guidelines) provide further detail on specific values of the Marine Park, including how to
determine risk and possible avoidance, mitigation or offset measures.
h. The draft Guidelines: Location-specific assessment in the permission system (Location-specific
assessment guidelines) highlight places in the Marine Park that have site-specific management
plans, policies or other information which may be relevant to decisions.
i. The draft Guidelines: Activity impact assessment in the permission system (Activity assessment
guidelines) provide further detail on how GBRMPA assesses and manages specific activities.
j. The Managing facilities discussion paper and draft Guidelines: Activity impact assessment in the
permission system Fixed facilities propose changes to how GBRMPA manages facilities in the
Marine Park.
2. Amendments are underway to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983, as outlined in the
Response Document prepared after consultation in December 2015. These guidelines have been
written to reflect the proposed amendments.
3. You can provide feedback on this document via our online survey, which can also be accessed from our
webpage at www.gbrmpa.gov.au/zoning-permits-and-plans/permits/improving-permissions

Purpose
1. Decisions within the permission system are fair, transparent and consistent and contribute to
achieving the objects of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.

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Contents
Related legislation / standards / policy............................................................................................................... 3
Context............................................................................................................................................................... 3
General principles.............................................................................................................................................. 4
Natural justice................................................................................................................................................ 4
Assessment timeframes................................................................................................................................. 4
Further information requests.......................................................................................................................... 4
Native Title Notification.................................................................................................................................. 6
Public comment............................................................................................................................................. 7
Assessment criteria....................................................................................................................................... 8
Consideration A: Zoning and other statutory requirements........................................................................8
Consideration B: Suitable Person............................................................................................................. 15
Consideration C: Reasonable steps......................................................................................................... 20
Consideration D: Public comment............................................................................................................ 21
Consideration E: Potential impacts........................................................................................................... 22
Consideration F: Avoid, mitigate, offset.................................................................................................... 23
Consideration G: Monitoring and managing............................................................................................. 26
Consideration H: Other legislation............................................................................................................ 26
Consideration I: Policies and guidelines................................................................................................... 28
Consideration J: Queensland approvals................................................................................................... 29
Consideration K: Any other matters.......................................................................................................... 30
Other assessment considerations................................................................................................................ 30
88RA Dumping...................................................................................................................................... 30
88S Protected species........................................................................................................................... 30
88T Mission Beach leader prawn broodstock........................................................................................ 31
88U Swimming with dwarf minke whales in part of Cairns Planning Area............................................. 31
88V Princess Charlotte Bay Special Management Area........................................................................ 31
88VA Maritime Cultural Heritage Protection Special Management Areas.............................................. 31
88W Camping on Commonwealth islands............................................................................................. 31
Making a Decision........................................................................................................................................ 31
Permits......................................................................................................................................................... 32
Permit conditions......................................................................................................................................... 33
Management Plans...................................................................................................................................... 36
Role of an Environmental Management Plan (EMP)................................................................................ 36
When an EMP is required......................................................................................................................... 36
Content of an EMP................................................................................................................................... 38
Assessing an EMP................................................................................................................................... 38
When an EMP needs to be updated......................................................................................................... 39
Schedule of Works....................................................................................................................................... 39
Decommissioning and Removal Plan........................................................................................................... 40
Notification to GBRMPA............................................................................................................................... 41
Indemnities and insurances......................................................................................................................... 42

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Deeds........................................................................................................................................................... 42
Bonds........................................................................................................................................................... 42
Determining a bond amount..................................................................................................................... 43
Calling upon a bond.................................................................................................................................. 43
Review rights............................................................................................................................................ 44
Permit terms................................................................................................................................................. 44
Modifying Permit Conditions........................................................................................................................ 44
Permission Transfer..................................................................................................................................... 45
Change in Beneficial Ownership.................................................................................................................. 46
Accreditations research and education..................................................................................................... 46
Implementation................................................................................................................................................. 46
Definitions........................................................................................................................................................ 47
Supporting information..................................................................................................................................... 48
Further information........................................................................................................................................... 48
Appendix A List of all related Legislation, Standards and Policy.................................................................... 49

Related legislation / standards / policy


2. Refer to Appendix A of this document for a full list of related legislation, standards and policy.
3. These guidelines apply to the Commonwealth Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (the Marine Park) which
is governed by the following key legislation:
a. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (the Act).
b. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 (the Regulations).
c. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 (the Zoning Plan).

Context
4. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) is the Commonwealth statutory body that is
directly responsible for managing the Marine Park and its permission system.

5. These guidelines are non-statutory, that is, they are not legislation but rather a type of policy document.
These guidelines complement GBRMPAs Permission system policy. They provide more detailed
guidance to decision makers about how to apply the Regulations and policy in specific situations.

6. Once a permit application is accepted by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) as a
valid application (refer to Application guidelines), the proposal is assessed and a decision is made on
whether permission will be granted.

7. These guidelines explain GBRMPAs general approach and expectations about assessing proposals
and making decisions within the permission system. A decision maker may choose to deviate from
these guidelines in certain circumstances, where s/he has determined that the guidelines do not align
with that specific situation. The highest test is whether the decision meets the objects of the Act.

8. The assessment and decision phases described in these guidelines are governed by legislation,
particularly the Regulations.

9. Most assessments are conducted jointly with the State of Queensland. Refer to the Information sheet
on Joint Marine Parks permissions with Queensland.

10. Some assessments are conducted jointly with the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and
Energy or the Queensland Coordinator-General under processes established in the Environment
Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and the Regulations. Refer to the Information sheet
on Deemed Applications under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
(EPBC Deemed applications guidelines).

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General principles
Natural justice

11. Applicants are afforded natural justice throughout the application and assessment process. Application
forms provide clear details about the minimum information requirements that need to be submitted with
the application to commence assessment.

12. During the assessment process, the applicant is advised of any further information which may be
required to support the application. The applicant will be given reasonable opportunity to respond to any
potentially adverse matters before a decision is made.

13. After a decision is made, a range of review rights may be available to applicants or other people who
believe they may be affected by the decision. GBRMPA is preparing an information sheet on review
rights in the permission system which will be released along with final policy and guidelines in mid-
2017.

Assessment timeframes

14. The Regulations require GBRMPA to make a decision on a permit application and to notify the
applicant of this decision within a reasonable period after receipt of the application, unless it is a
deemed application under the EPBC Act.

15. In general, GBRMPA prioritises applications based on the order in which they are received. However,
following a severe environmental incident it may be necessary to prioritise assessments for
applications made under GBRMPAs Marine Tourism Contingency Plan. Applicants should apply well in
advance of any planned start date to allow for appropriate consideration of the application prior to
proposed commencement.

16. Assessment timeframes are largely influenced by the quality of information provided by the applicant at
the time of application, and the time it takes the applicant to respond to any requests for further
information. To minimise the amount of time for a decision, applicants should carefully read the
Application guidelines and provide detailed and accurate information with the permit application.

17. The Permission system policy outlines GBRMPAs service level standards for processing Level One
(Routine Assessment) and Level Two (Tailored Assessment) new applications for permission. Service
level standards serve two key purposes:
a. to provide staff with performance targets
b. to inform clients what to expect with a normal application process.

18. Because these service level standards are not legislated, GBRMPA is not legally bound to meeting
them. However, it is the intention to strive to meet these standards and to report to management on
performance against the standards. Reporting on the achievement of service level standards will
help GBRMPA determine what level of resourcing and efficiencies are required.

19. One service level standard relates to GBRMPA issuing an initial request for further information (often
referred to as a FINFO). This service level standard helps to ensure that the GBRMPA does not wait
too long before looking at a valid application.

20. Another service level standard relates to GBRMPA making a final decision on the application after all
required information is received from the applicant. The term all required information could mean:
a. a valid application for a Level One Routine permit (refer Permission system policy for
description of assessment processes)
b. a final response to a final information request.

Further information requests

21. The required minimum information must be submitted at the time of application for the application to be
considered valid (see the Application guidelines for more information). However in order to ensure a
complete assessment, GBRMPA may request more information in relation to one or more aspects of
the application at any time before a decision is made.

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22. Where GBRMPA needs more information to make an informed decision, a written request will be made
detailing what information is required. This is called a further information request (or FINFO) and can
be done by email or formal letter.

23. Further information requests can be made at any stage in the application process, but the preference is
for a comprehensive information request to be made as soon as possible after receiving a valid
application. Follow-up requests may be required to clarify details or if new issues are raised through
public comment.

24. Further information requests should strike a balance between clearly stating what is needed, without
being unnecessarily prescriptive about the exact methods required to collect this information.

25. Under Regulation 88E(3) the applicant must be given at least 20 business days to submit the further
information to GBRMPA. A longer period of time may be allowed if it is clear that the information may
take some time to provide. Examples might include where:
a. the applicant may need to engage an external contractor to collect the information
b. there is a large amount of information needed
c. the information is unusually complex or difficult to find
d. weather conditions (such as cyclone season or strong winds) may delay site inspections
e. the applicant is not available for a period of time due to travel, health or other reasons.

26. If the information specified in the request is not provided within the designated timeframe, the
application is automatically taken to have been withdrawn under Regulation 88E(3).

27. The applicant may write to GBRMPA seeking an extension of time to provide the information. However,
any extension must be requested before the expiry of the designated timeframe. It will be at the
discretion of GBRMPA whether an extension is granted. Extensions can be granted for any length of
time that is determined by GBRMPA to be reasonable. Extensions are unlikely to be granted unless an
applicant can demonstrate that:
a. progress is being made -- such as by providing part of the information requested
b. unforeseen circumstances have prevented them from gathering the information -- such as poor
weather conditions or staff illness.

28. Upon receiving a response (or partial response) to a further information request, the assessment officer
reviews the materials to determine whether the information provided meets GBRMPAs requirements
and advises the applicant of the outcome. This review considers whether:
a. each and every piece of information requested has been provided
b. the information is clear, accurate, reliable, and of sufficient detail
c. the method used to collect the information is appropriate, particularly where professional or
national standards exist
d. the person(s) collecting, analysing and/or presenting the information are appropriately qualified or
experienced.

29. Where the applicant has provided a response which meets the requirements of 28(a) but failed on
28(b), 28(c) or 28(d), GBRMPA will generally write to the applicant outlining what further details are
needed and offer the applicant the opportunity to address these deficiencies. This follow-up will be
treated as another further information request.

30. If the applicants response is not accepted, GBRMPA has three main options:
a. decide that failure to provide the requested information has resulted in the decision maker
having insufficient information to make a decision on the application, in which case since the
applicant has failed to provide the requested information and the application is automatically
taken to have been withdrawn under Regulation 88E(3)
b. decide that the requested information is no longer essential (although it would have been
useful), and there is sufficient information to proceed with a decision on the application in the
absence of that information
c. decide that while the information was essential, the assessment can proceed without it,
provided the applicant understands that this is likely to increase the risk rating of their proposal
(and therefore likely to increase the chance of refusal).

31. In rare cases, an applicant may respond to a further information request stating that they do not intend
to provide the requested information. This is usually accompanied by an explanation of why the
applicant does not think the information is relevant or required to make a decision on their application.
GBRMPA will consider the applicants rationale; however, unless there is already sufficient information
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before the decision maker to make a decision, it is likely that the application will be taken to have been
withdrawn under Regulation 88E(3).

32. For some applications, one or more meetings may be initiated by GBRMPA after the application has
been submitted to:
a. discuss the information requirements, including proposed methods and contractors
b. identify community groups, Traditional Owners and key stakeholders whose interests may be
affected by the proposed activity or who may have local knowledge.

Native Title Notification

33. GBRMPA uses the term native title notification to refer to the process it uses to comply with Future Act
Notice requirements under Division 3 of the Native Title Act 1993.

34. The purpose of native title notification is to ensure that the possible impact of the grant of the
permission on native title rights is not overlooked by the decision maker.

35. The granting of Marine Park permission is a future act under the Native Title Act 1993 (Native Title
Amendment Act 1998).
a. A future act is any proposed activity or act, on land or waters that has the potential to affect
native title rights and interests.
b. The granting of a permission (the future act) will be invalid to the extent it affects native title
unless it complies with the Native Title Act.

36. Under 24HA of the Native Title Act, GBRMPA is required to notify all registered Aboriginal/Torres Strait
Islander bodies, registered native title bodies corporate and registered native title claimants (Native
Title bodies) of any activity that would require the granting of a permission that is proposed to occur on
or near to their claim or determination area.

37. The Native Title bodies are notified and given opportunity to comment via a native title notification.

38. It is unclear if the accreditation of an educational or research institution constitutes a future act;
however, GBRMPAs position is that the risk of non-compliance with the Native Title Act is avoided if
GBRMPA proceeds on the basis that the accreditation may constitute a 'future act' and gives notice of
the proposed accreditation in accordance with section 24HA(7).

39. GBRMPA conducts two types of native title notifications:


a. Individual Notification is made for an individual permit application at the time the application
is received.
b. Class Notification may occur where GBRMPA is aware that it will receive numerous similar
applications during a certain period. GBRMPA notifies the relevant bodies that a class of future
acts may be permitted, instead of a single notification for each individual permit application. For
example, GBRMPA may issue a class notification for granting up to 250 permits per year for
three years for tourist programs. Class notifications reduce the burden on Native Title bodies to
respond to multiple identical proposals, by rolling these together into a single class notification
with a single response.

40. Native Title bodies are invited to comment on the possible grant of a Marine Park permission. Those
with the right to comment have an entitlement to:
a. explain why they believe permission should not be granted
b. explain why permission should be granted subject to certain conditions
c. draw the attention of the decision maker to information which they possess and which
they consider the decision maker should know about before making a decision.

41. If comments are received, they are kept as a government record. The assessment should also note if
comments were not received.

42. In the case of Harris v. GBRMPA, in 2000 the Federal Court found that under the Native Title Act,
GBRMPA is required to have regard to comments made, but is not under an obligation to respond to
the Native Title body, to make any particular use of the information provided, nor to act so as to
minimise harm to the native title interest.

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43. Even though GBRMPA has no particular obligation under the Native Title Act, under the Regulations
the potential impacts of the activity on Indigenous heritage values are considered. For more
information, refer to the section Assessment Criteria Consideration E: Potential Impacts and the
Guidelines: Indigenous heritage impact assessment in the permission system (Indigenous heritage
value assessment guidelines)

44. Comments obtained via the Native Title notification process should be used throughout the assessment.
The future act notice under the Native Title Act, and the text of the notification sent by GBMPRA, clearly
intend that comments are used in evaluating how the proposal may impact on Indigenous heritage
values and whether any specific conditions should be placed on the proposal.

45. If permit conditions are recommended to address native title comments, the assessment should explain
how the conditions would mitigate potential impacts.
EXAMPLE
A Traditional Owner group raised concerns about potential impacts on humpback whales, their totem.
In response, GBRMPA included a condition prohibiting extractive research (such as taking tissue
samples or tagging whales) within that geographical area.

46. Comments received after the due date may still be considered as part of the assessment process. If the
assessment report has not been completed and submitted to the decision maker, the assessment
officer will include any late comments in the report. However, there is no guarantee that late comments
will be included.

Public comment

47. The opportunity for public comment is required for any application for an activity that may restrict the
publics reasonable use of part of the Marine Park or have a significant impact on the values of the
Marine Park. Refer to the Permission system policy and Application guidelines for more information on
deciding whether public comment is required.

48. Public comment is a component of Public Information Package (PIP), Public Environment Report (PER)
and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) processes. The process is slightly different for each:
a. PIP The applicant is required to publish a notice in the local newspaper and on their website.
By local newspaper, the expectation is to publish the notice in the nearest newspaper to the site
of the proposed activity, and the newspaper should be published at least weekly (daily is
preferred, where available). This notice is approved by GBRMPA before publication. The
applicant must also prepare an information package clearly explaining the proposal, possible
impacts and how they plan to avoid, minimise or offset these impacts. This package must be
approved by GBRMPA and published on the applicants website. GBRMPA will also publish a
notice on the GBRMPA website, linking to the information package on the applicants website.
b. PER and EIS The Terms of Reference will outline how public comments are invited and
collected. A supplementary report will often be required to demonstrate publicly how comments
have been considered and incorporated. For deemed applications under the EPBC Act, refer to
separate EPBC deemed applications information sheet.

49. For all three processes (PIP, PER and EIS), even deemed applications under the EPBC Act (refer
separate EPBC deemed applications information sheet), GBRMPA reviews the comments and may
require the applicant to address any issues raised. This may be done in different ways, but typically
GBRMPA provides the applicant with a summary of the views expressed and issues a further
information request (see section Further information requests) asking the applicant to respond to new
information or specific issues raised. GBRMPA expects the applicants response to be publicly
available, so that people who commented can see how their comments were considered.

50. Depending on the situation, another approach might be more appropriate. For example:
a. Where timelines are tight and only a few issues were raised during the public comment
period, GBRMPA might decide not to provide a summary to the applicant of all comments.
GBRMPA might simply issue a further information request asking the applicant to reply to a
few specific issues.
b. Where a very large number of comments are made, GBRMPA might pass on all submissions
verbatim to the applicant (but without names or contact details of the submitters) and require
the applicant to provide a report summarising the submissions and responding to issues raised.
GBRMPA expects the applicants response to be publicly available, so that people who
commented can see how their comments were considered.
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51. Refer to the section Assessment Criteria for how public comments are considered in an assessment.

Assessment criteria

CONSULTATION NOTES:
Currently, the Regulations list some criteria that must be considered for all applications (mandatory
considerations) and some criteria that may or may not be considered (discretionary considerations). To
improve consistency and transparency in decision-making, amendments are underway to the Regulations to
make all assessment criteria mandatory. The draft guidelines are written to reflect the proposed new criteria.
The actual criteria have not changed, but rather:
a. All criteria will become mandatory
b. Some additional wording will be added to clarify the intent of the criteria (for example, adding prudent
and feasible alternatives)
c. The order of the criteria will be changed, and some criteria will be grouped together.

52. When deciding whether to grant or refuse permission, GBRMPA must consider matters specified in the
Regulations. These criteria provide for the adequate assessment of impacts to the environment,
biodiversity and heritage values of the Marine Park.

53. Each permission must be considered on its own against each criterion, even when an applicant has
requested multiple permissions. See the section Making a decision for more information.

54. Specific regulations also apply to these activities or locations:


a. Regulation 88RA Limitation on granting permission for dumping
b. Regulation 88S Limitations on granting permissions to take protected species
c. Regulation 88T Limitations on granting permissions to take leader prawn broodstock in
Habitat Protection Zone in Mission Beach Leader Prawn Broodstock Capture Area
d. Regulation 88U Limitation on granting permissions to swim with dwarf minke whales in part of
the Cairns Planning Area maximum number
e. Regulation 88V Limitations on granting permissions to enter or use Princess Charlotte
Bay SMA special management provisions
f. Regulation 88VA Limitations on granting permissions to enter or use Maritime Cultural Heritage
Protection SMAs special management provisions (refer to Guidelines: Maritime cultural
heritage protection special management area permit application and assessment (Maritime
cultural heritage protection SMA guidelines).
g. Regulation 88W Considerations for permissions to camp on Commonwealth islands.

55. Complementary criteria for joint assessments are outlined in the Queensland Marine Parks Regulation
2006.

56. To ensure transparency and accountability in the assessment process, an assessment report will be
prepared which identifies for each criterion:
a. whether it was deemed relevant to the application
b. if not, the reasons why it was found not to be relevant
c. if so, a comprehensive assessment of the application against this criterion.

Consideration A: Zoning and other statutory requirements


if the conduct proposed to be permitted by the permission (the proposed conduct) will take place in an area
to which a zoning plan applies - the objectives of the zone as set out in the zoning plan; AND

any relevant plan or regulation made under the GBRMP Act relating to the management of an area in the
Marine Park.

Zoning Plan

57. Consider whether there is a clearly defined area of operations proposed within the application and
explain how the area of operation is delineated (for example map, GPS coordinates). The activity may
be proposed to occur in a number of different zones and locations. If this is the case, each zone or
location will need separate consideration to identify whether the activity is consistent with the objective
of that zone or location as noted in the Zoning Plan.

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58. The Zoning Plan identifies the types of activities that may occur in each Marine Park zone, as of right or
with permission or notification. The assessment must consider which zone(s) will be used for the
purpose of the proposed activity including what the objects of the relevant zone are and whether the
proposal is consistent with the objectives of the zone(s).
a. Zones such as the Preservation Zone and Marine National Park Zone are highly protected and
have strict limitations on the activities which may be permitted.
b. Consider whether the activity includes the Remote Natural Area (Part 3 of the Zoning Plan) and
any restrictions on proposed activities as a result. Notably, most facilities are prohibited within the
Remote Natural Area.

59. For each zone:


a. Some activities are listed in the Zoning Plan which can be conducted without GBRMPAs
permission in that zone. GBRMPA has already determined that these activities are consistent
with the objectives of that zone, or in some cases are appropriately managed under other
legislation or treaties.
b. Other activities are listed in the Zoning Plan as requiring GBRMPAs permission in that zone.
These need to be individually assessed, based on scale and how the proponent proposes to
conduct them, to determine whether they are consistent with the objectives of the zone.
c. Activities which are not listed as being allowed with or without permission in that zone have a
greater likelihood of being inconsistent with the objectives of that zone. An assessment is
required to determine whether the activity can be conducted in a manner which is consistent with
the objectives of that zone. Proponents are encouraged to consider other zones which are more
appropriate for the activity.

60. Table 1 provides a summary of activities which are generally consistent, possibly consistent and
generally inconsistent with the objectives of each zone. See the Zoning Plan for further details.

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Table 1. Summary of activities which are generally consistent and possibly consistent with the
objective of each zone.

Zone name
Consistent with zone objective Could be consistent with zone objective
(colour on zoning
(allowed without permission) (allowed with permission)
maps)
General Use Fishing or collecting involving Aquaculture
(Light Blue) trawling, trolling, line fishing, limited Carrying out works including dredging, spoil
spearfishing, netting (including bait dumping, reclamation, beach protection works
netting), trapping, taking in or harbour works
accordance with an accredited Collecting
harvest fishery, or limited collecting Fishing - Developmental fishery program
Limited impact research under Fishing - Harvest fishery that is not accredited
accreditation Fishing industry service vessel
Limited educational program under Navigating a managed vessel or aircraft
accreditation Operating a facility
Low impact activities Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity
Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other Research
than a managed vessel or aircraft) Take of plants or animals that pose a threat
Photography, filming or sound Tourist program
recording that is low impact Traditional use of marine resources not under
Traditional use of marine resources a TUMRA
in accordance with a TUMRA Vessel or aircraft charter
Any other purpose that is consistent with the
zone objective
Habitat Protection Fishing or collecting involving Aquaculture that does not involve the addition
(Dark Blue) trolling, line fishing, limited of feed
spearfishing, netting (including bait Carrying out works including dredging, spoil
netting), trapping, taking in dumping, reclamation, beach protection works
accordance with an accredited or harbour works
harvest fishery, or limited collecting Collecting
Limited impact research under Educational program
accreditation Fishing - Developmental fishery program
Limited educational program under Fishing - Harvest fishery that is not accredited
accreditation Fishing - Leader prawn broodstock in Mission
Low impact activities Beach
Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other Fishing industry service vessel
than a managed vessel or aircraft) Navigating a ship, managed vessel or
Photography, filming or sound managed aircraft
recording that is low impact Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity
Traditional use of marine resources Operating a facility
in accordance with a TUMRA Research
Take of plants or animals that pose a threat
Tourist program
Traditional use of marine resources not under
a TUMRA
Vessel or aircraft charter
Any other purpose that is consistent with the
zone objective
Conservation Park Fishing or collecting involving Aquaculture that does not involve the addition
(Yellow) trolling, limited line fishing, limited of feed
spearfishing, bait netting, limited Carrying out works for a purpose that is
trapping, or limited collecting consistent with the zone objective
Fishing involving taking in Educational program
accordance with an accredited Fishing involving taking in accordance with a
harvest fishery for aquarium fish, non- accredited harvest fishery for aquarium
coral or worm (beachworm) fish, coral or worm (beachworm)
Limited impact research under Fishing industry service vessel
accreditation Navigating a ship, managed vessel or
Limited educational program under managed aircraft
accreditation Operating a facility
Low impact activities Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity
Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other Research
than a managed vessel or aircraft) Take of plants or animals that pose a threat
Photography, filming or sound Tourist program
recording that is low impact Traditional use of marine resources not under
Traditional use of marine resources a TUMRA

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Zone name
Consistent with zone objective Could be consistent with zone objective
(colour on zoning
(allowed without permission) (allowed with permission)
maps)
in accordance with a TUMRA Vessel or aircraft charter
Any other purpose that is consistent with the
zone objective
Buffer Fishing involving taking pelagic Carrying out works for a purpose that is
(Olive) species by trolling consistent with the zone objective
Limited impact non-extractive Educational program
research under accreditation Navigating a ship, managed vessel or
Limited educational program under managed aircraft
accreditation Operating a facility
Low impact activities Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity
Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other Research that is relevant to, and a priority for
than a managed vessel or aircraft) the management of the Marine Park; or
Photography, filming or sound cannot reasonably be conducted elsewhere
recording that is low impact Take of plants or animals that pose a threat
Traditional use of marine resources Tourist program
in accordance with a TUMRA Traditional use of marine resources not under
a TUMRA
Vessel or aircraft charter
Any other purpose that is consistent with the
zone objective
Scientific Research Limited impact research under Carrying out works for a purpose that is
(Orange) accreditation consistent with the zone objective
Limited educational program under Educational program
accreditation Fishing industry service vessel
Low impact activities Navigating a ship, managed vessel or
Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other managed aircraft
than a managed vessel or aircraft) Operating a facility
Photography, filming or sound Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity
recording that is low impact Research
Traditional use of marine resources Take of plants or animals that pose a threat
in accordance with a TUMRA Tourist program
Traditional use of marine resources not under
a TUMRA
Vessel or aircraft charter
Any other purpose that is consistent with the
zone objective
Marine National Park Limited impact non-extractive Carrying out works for a purpose that is
(Green) research under accreditation consistent with the zone objective
Limited educational program under Educational program
accreditation Fishing industry service vessel
Low impact activities Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity
Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other Navigating a ship, managed vessel or
than a managed vessel or aircraft) managed aircraft
Photography, filming or sound Operating a facility
recording that is low impact Research that is relevant to, and a priority for
Traditional use of marine resources the management of the Marine Park; or
in accordance with a TUMRA cannot reasonably be conducted elsewhere
Take of plants or animals that pose a threat
Tourist program
Traditional use of marine resources not under
a TUMRA
Vessel or aircraft charter
Any other purpose that is consistent with the
zone objective
Preservation Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other Research that is relevant to, and a priority for
(Pink) than a managed vessel or aircraft) the management of the Marine Park; or
for access to areas that form part of cannot reasonably be conducted elsewhere
Queensland Any other purpose that is consistent with the
Operating an aircraft at an altitude zone objective
not less than 500 feet above the
surface

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Zone name
Consistent with zone objective Could be consistent with zone objective
(colour on zoning
(allowed without permission) (allowed with permission)
maps)
Commonwealth Islands Limited educational program under Camping
(may not be indicated on accreditation Carrying out works for a purpose that is
zoning maps) Low impact activities consistent with the zone objective
Navigating a vessel or aircraft (other Educational program
than a managed vessel or aircraft) Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity
Photography, filming or sound Navigating a managed vessel or managed
recording that is low impact aircraft
Traditional use of marine resources Operating a facility except for a mooring
in accordance with a TUMRA facility for vessels
Research
Take of plants or animals that pose a threat
Tourist program
Traditional use of marine resources not under
a TUMRA
Vessel or aircraft charter
Any other purpose that is consistent with the
zone objective

61. Table 2 summarises the objectives of each zone and the principles on which areas were selected for
inclusion in that zone.
Table 2. Summary of the objectives of each zone and the selection principles.
Zone name (colour Objective Principles for selecting which locations are in
on zoning maps) this zone
(source: Report on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Zoning Plan 2003)
General Use Provide for the conservation of Areas important for trawling or shipping which were
(Light Blue) areas of the Marine Park, while not within 500m of a reef or island
providing opportunities for
reasonable use.
Habitat Protection (1) Provide for the conservation of A buffer around all islands and reefs to ensure that
(Dark Blue) areas of the Marine Park through trawling would not occur any closer than 500m
the protection and management of from all reefs and islands
sensitive habitats, generally free Four reefs within the Marine Park which were part
from potentially damaging activities; of the Effects of Line Fishing Experiment
and (2) subject to objective (1), Areas closed to trawling by QLD or Commonwealth
provide opportunities for legislation
reasonable use. Historic shipwrecks, aircraft wrecks and war graves
Special and unique areas where inclusion in
Marine National Park Zone or Conservation Park
Zone was not possible
Dugong or turtle habitats where inclusion in Marine
National Park Zone or Conservation Park Zone
was not possible
Conservation Park (1) Provide for the conservation of Areas with significant social and/or biological values,
(Yellow) areas of the Marine Park; and (2) based on a combination of the different values
subject to objective (1), provide described below:
opportunities for reasonable use waters adjacent to nationally/internationally
and enjoyment, including limited important wetlands, National Parks or areas listed
extractive use. on the Register of the National Estate
special and unique areas where inclusion in Marine
National Park Zone was not possible or necessary
dugong or turtle habitats where inclusion in Marine
National Park Zone was not considered possible
areas which submissions indicated were important
areas to be considered as Conservation Park Zone
places of public access and areas of high
recreational use (including fishing)
waters adjacent to Deed of Grant in Trust (DOGIT)
lands and identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities.

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Zone name (colour Objective Principles for selecting which locations are in
on zoning maps) this zone
(source: Report on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Zoning Plan 2003)
Buffer (1) Provide for the protection of the Areas important for trolling for pelagic species,
(Olive) natural integrity and values of areas where surrounding reefs or waters were Marine
of the Marine Park, generally free National Park Zone or Preservation Zone
from extractive activities; and (2) Areas where there were few human activities at the
subject to objective (1), provide time of zoning
opportunities for: (a) certain
activities, including the presentation
of the values of the Marine Park, to
be undertaken in relatively
undisturbed areas; and (b) trolling
for pelagic species.
Scientific Research (1) Provide for the protection of the Areas previously zoned as Scientific Research
(Orange) natural integrity and values of areas Zones
of the Marine Park, generally free The waters adjacent to the six major research
from extractive activities; and (2) institutions in the Marine Park - resulting in four
subject to objective (1), provide new Scientific Research Zones
opportunities for scientific research
to be undertaken in relatively
undisturbed areas.
Marine National Park (1) Provide for the protection of the No-take areas each having a minimum size of at
(Green) natural integrity and values of areas least 20 kilometres along the smallest dimension
of the Marine Park, generally free (except for coastal bioregions)
from extractive activities; and (2) Larger (versus smaller) no-take areas
subjective to objective (1), provide Sufficient no-take areas to ensure against negative
opportunities for certain activities, impacts on some parts of a bioregion
including the presentation of the Where a reef is incorporated into a no-take area,
values of the Marine Park, to be the whole reef should be included
undertaken in relatively undisturbed Represent at least 3 reefs and 20% of reef area
areas. and 20% of reef perimeter in each reef bioregion in
no-take areas
Represent at least 20% of each non-reef bioregion
in no-take areas
Represent cross-shelf and latitudinal diversity in
the network of no-take areas
Represent a minimum amount of each community
type and physical environment type in the overall
network, taking into account principle 7
Biophysically special or unique places
Consideration of sea and adjacent land uses in
determining no-take areas
Preservation Provide for the preservation of the Biologically significant populations of protected
(Pink) natural integrity and values of areas species -- helps conserve and support significant
of the Marine Park, generally populations of protected species, usually by
undisturbed by human activities. conserving significant breeding habitat; and/or
Representative examples of specific habitat types -
- meets one of the requirements of the Act to
preserve some areas in its natural state
undisturbed by humans except for the purposes of
scientific research
Commonwealth Islands (1) Provide for the conservation of All Commonwealth islands (or parts thereof) within
(None may not be areas of the Marine Park above the the Marine Park, noting that not all may be
indicated on maps) low water mark; and (2) provide for illustrated on zoning maps due to lack of detailed
use of the zone by the information
Commonwealth; and (3) subject to
objective (1), provide for facilities
and uses consistent with the values
of the area.

62. Where the objective of the zone refers to the conservation of areas, this means to manage the area
so that values are not degraded. Potential impacts should be avoided, mitigated or offset to achieve a
risk rating as low as possible (see Risk assessment procedure) to all values of the Marine Park.

63. Where the objective of the zone refers to providing opportunities for reasonable use, this means
allowing ecologically sustainable human activities (see also section Assessment Considerations
Consideration F: Avoid, mitigate, offset for a discussion of ecologically sustainable use).

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64. Where the objective of the zone refers to sensitive habitats, these are habitats that are considered to
have significant conservation and/or cultural heritage values. Examples include (but are not limited to):
a. dugong protection areas
b. fish spawning aggregation sites
c. major seagrass meadows
d. significant breeding areas, especially for rare or vulnerable species
e. diverse, rare or very old coral assemblages.

65. Where the objective of the zone refers to potentially damaging activities, this means an activity
which has a medium, high or very high risk of negatively impacting on sensitive habitats, once all
avoidance, mitigation and offset measures are considered.

66. Where the objective of the zone refers to protection of the natural integrity, this means that the
place or ecosystem retains its natural biodiversity and geodiversity and other natural processes and
characteristics. The Australian Natural Heritage Charter and its companion document Protecting
Natural Heritage provide further guidance.

67. Where the objective of the zone refers to extractive use/activities, this means activities that remove
plants, animals or materials from where they are naturally located within the Marine Park. This includes
activities that shift or relocate plants, animals or materials from one location to another. Examples of
extractive uses are fishing, coral collecting, programs to take animals or plants that pose a threat,
dredging, seabed levelling, beach nourishment and research that involves taking samples of plants,
animals, sediment or water.

68. Where the objective of the zone refers to generally free from, this means that the impacts from a
specified activity should be avoided. The term generally free from is recognition that some existing
uses may pre-date the creation of the Marine Park in 1975, or the zoning of that area (possibly as late
as 2003). The term generally free from also allows for some limited extractive uses for example,
removing crown-of-thorns starfish from a snorkelling site or marine stingers from a swimming beach.
Subject to an assessment:
a. Pre-existing uses may be considered for permission to continue.
b. Substantial increases in scale to pre-existing uses are unlikely to be approved.
c. New uses of the type specified are unlikely to be approved, except as needed to protect the
environment or human safety.

69. Where the objective of the zone refers to presentation of the values of the Marine Park, this
generally refers to tourism or educational activities in which visitors receive interpretation from a
knowledgeable person about the values in that area. Examples might be guided tours, study tours or
school trips. It may also include facilities such as underwater observatories, scenic viewing platforms or
interpretive signage associated with self-guided snorkel or kayak trails.

70. Where the objective of the zone refers to generally/relatively undisturbed, this means areas where
natural vistas and ecological processes are preserved and dominant, both above and below water.
Zones which are to be generally undisturbed are expected to be mostly free from human activities;
while zones which are to be relatively undisturbed may have some evidence of human activities but
still retain an overall natural appearance and healthy ecological processes. Examples of activities which
might be incompatible with such zones include:
a. large numbers of moorings or boats anchored in the area, leading to a cluttered or crowded
appearance which interrupts the natural scenic vista above the waterline
b. large amounts of underwater facilities in the area, such as signs, sub-surface buoys, pipes,
cables or research equipment which interrupts the natural scenic vista below the waterline
c. significant discharge of wastes that impacts on water visibility or ecological processes;
d. major earthworks (such as seawalls, breakwaters or dredged channels) that impact on
the natural appearance of the area or alter hydrodynamic processes
e. facilities which are clearly visible and detract from the natural appearance of the area
f. removal of large amounts of plants, animals or sediment (including for research purposes),
so that the natural appearance of the area is degraded or ecological processes are impacted.

71. It is often useful to consult the Report on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 . This
document gives further detail on the unique aspects of particular locations and why they were selected
for a certain zoning category in the current Zoning Plan.

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EXAMPLES
The Report on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 provides these descriptions
(selection only):
1. South Kurrimine Beach -- This Marine National Park Zone includes 2 bioregions (NA3 and RE3)
and protects coastal fringing reef. The zone complements the adjacent nationally significant
Kurrimine Area Wetland and Maria Creek National Park by providing some connectivity between
protected land habitats and fringing coral reef habitats. The configuration of the zone minimises
the potential impact on the net fishery.
2. Orpheus (Goolboddi) Island Reef south-west This Conservation Park Zone builds on the
western margin of a pre-existing CPZ to simplify the boundary to assist in compliance. The zone
includes fringing reef and shallow seagrass habitat. The zone complements the conservation
and heritage values of the adjacent Orpheus Island National Park and allow for limited fishing.
The zone recognises the importance of line fishing from the adjacent Orpheus Island Resort and
Yanks Jetty campground, as well as by fishers travelling to this area from adjacent coastal
communities. A Public Appreciation SMA restricts spearfishing, marine aquarium fish and coral
collecting, and aquaculture in the zone.
3. Eshelby Island Reef This Preservation Zone is a pre-existing PZ and includes 2 bioregions
(NB6 and RE4). The zone protects substantial fringing coral reefs, and is adjacent to significant
breeding and roosting sites for a number of seabirds, including bridled and crested terns. The
zone is one of a few inshore PZs and thereby provides a valuable baseline for comparison with
other inshore reefs. Additional restrictions apply to the area under the Whitsundays Plan of
Management (WPOM).

Plans of Management and Special Management Areas

72. If the activity is proposed to take place in a Planning Area, consider any requirements under the
relevant Plan of Management. This may include group size limits, access restrictions and whether there
is a cap on the number and type of the proposed activity. In general, permits cannot be granted for daily
access to a Planning Area, unless the application under assessment is for a special permission which
has been allocated by GBRMPA through an expression of interest process (see GBRMPAs policy on
Managing Tourism Permissions to Operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (including Allocation,
Latency & Tenure).

73. Special Management Areas in various locations of the Marine Park have certain statutory requirements
that need to be considered in an assessment. Special Management Areas may be declared (under Part
4 of the Zoning Plan) for a range of reasons including specific conservation purposes, public enjoyment
or safety. Refer to the Location-specific assessment guidelines for a complete list. Keep in mind that
Emergency Special Management Areas may also be designated from time to time, as notified on the
GBRMPA website.

Consideration B: Suitable Person


whether the applicant for the permission is a suitable person to hold such a permission, having regard to:
(i) the applicants history in relation to environmental matters; and
(ii) if the applicant is a body corporate the history of its executive officers in relation to
environmental matters; and
(iii) if the applicant is a company that is a subsidiary of another company (the parent body) the
history of the parent body and its executive officers in relation to environmental matters; and
(iv) any charge, collected amount or penalty amount that is overdue for payment by the applicant as
the holder of a chargeable permission (whether or not the permission is in force); and
(v) any late payment penalty that is payable by the applicant as the holder of a chargeable
permission (whether or not the permission is in force); and
(vi) any unpaid fines or civil penalties required to be paid by the applicant in relation to a contravention
of the Act or of these Regulations; and
(vii) the capacity of the applicant to satisfactorily develop and manage the project;
any other matter relevant to the proposed conduct.

General guidance

74. The application form may include a statutory declaration addressing the basic elements of the suitable
person criterion. GBRMPAs assessment may confirm these details by conducting a search of
government records, checking with other government departments, or following up directly with the
applicant for more information.

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75. The Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energys Environment Assessment Manual
provides further information that may be considered by the decision maker when assessing an
applicants suitability to hold permission.

76. During the assessment process, the applicant is given reasonable opportunity to respond to any
adverse material or produce information that contradicts the adverse material (see section on Natural
Justice).

77. The assessment considers whether permit conditions or a deed of agreement could further mitigate any
risks posed by the applicant. For example, permit conditions might require a particular permit holder to
report more regularly on their activities, to avoid specific locations or to install a vessel tracking device
for monitoring purposes.

78. In making a final decision about the applicants suitability, the decision maker considers information
about the applicants suitability in a fair, reasonable and open manner. They consider:
a. the information obtained relevant to Consideration B: Suitable Person in the context of the
current application
b. any response provided by the applicant resulting from their consideration of adverse
information and further information requests
c. any options for mitigating the risks posed by the applicant through permit conditions.

Applicants history in relation to environmental matters (i)

79. The meaning of environmental matters is not specifically defined in GBRMPAs legislation, so
GBRMPA relies on the definition of environment contained in the EPBC Act. This meaning is broad
and encompasses biophysical, social, cultural and heritage matters. The assessment can consider not
just the applicants history in Queensland, but also in other parts of Australia and internationally.

80. The assessment considers whether the applicant has, in the past ten (10) years, had any convictions,
non-compliance, allegations, incidents or other intelligence recorded which is relevant to this
application. This may include offences or allegations under GBRMPA legislation as well as:
a. the Nature Conservation Act 1992 (QLD)
b. the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cth)
c. the Marine Parks Act 2004 (QLD)
d. the Recreational Areas Management Act 2006 (QLD)
e. the Fisheries Act 1994 (QLD)
f. any other act or legislation in another state or country.

81. The assessment considers details of previous and current permits held and the level of compliance
with the approval and permit conditions, which may also include whether the applicant has had a
previous permit revoked or a previous permit application refused. In both cases, the decision maker
considers relevant information and reasons that led to the revocation or refusal.
a. The existence of a previous revocation or refusal does not automatically deem an applicant
unsuitable. The decision maker must consider whether any of the matters leading to a
revocation or refusal are relevant to the current permission being applied for.
b. Compliance with permit conditions includes consideration of whether bond(s) were lodged
on time and whether insurances were maintained.

82. The assessment also considers any positive environmental history of the applicant. Evidence of good
environmental performance will usually provide a broad indication of a persons general approach to
environmental management. This might include considerations such as the applicants environmental
policies and corporate plans; record of compliance; and receipt of environmental awards or honours.

83. If there are any matters potentially of concern, the assessment considers the nature and scale of the
incident, how long ago it occurred and the final outcome. For example:
a. Is the past matter relevant to the permission now being sought?
b. Was the applicant directly or indirectly implicated in the problem?
c. Did they give any reasons or extenuating circumstances for their non-compliance?
d. What steps did they take to fix the problem and prevent it from happening again?
e. If the matters occurred some time ago, have there been any further issues in recent years? Has
the applicant shown an improvement in compliance, or are issues still being reported or
investigated?
f. If the matter proceeded to court, what reasons were given for recording or not recording
a conviction?
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84. The assessment considers the relevance of these matters to the current application. Information
relevant to the persons environmental history is that which will indicate whether a person is likely
to comply with the conditions of a permit. For example:
a. An applicant might not be suitable to hold a high-risk permission (such as for a major facility)
but might still be deemed suitable to hold a low-risk permission (such as for routine tourism).
b. A decision maker might decide that a particular incident occurred a long time ago and the
applicant has not had any infringements since that time, so limited weight should be placed
on the past incident.

History of executive officers and/or parent body and its executive officers (ii)(iii)

85. The decision maker may consider not only the environmental history of the applicant itself, but also
(where relevant) the environmental history of certain related entities and of its executive officers in
assessing whether the applicant is a suitable person to hold a permit:
a. If the applicant is a body corporate, then its executive officers can be examined.
b. If the applicant is a subsidiary of another company (the parent body), then the parent body and
its executive officers can be examined.
86. The term body corporate is not defined in the Act, the Regulations, or the EPBC Act. However, the
term ordinarily means any artificial person which has a separate legal identity and is identified by a
particular name. Bodies corporate can apply for permits under the Act.

87. An executive officer of a body corporate is defined under section 3 of the Act as a person, by whatever
name called and whether or not a director of the body, who is concerned in, or takes part in, the management of the
body. In some cases, a person not formally identified as an officer of the group may in fact be assessed as
an executive officer. The test is whether there is reasonable evidence to suggest that the person is
concerned in, or taking part in, the management of the group.
EXAMPLES
1. Gordon retired from the family business last year and handed over his role as director to his
daughter Jenna. Gordon continues to phone and write to GBRMPA with questions about the
business and is an authorised contact for all matters relating to the permit. In conversations with
Jenna, she says she has to check with Dad before giving an answer. Gordons past history and
current role indicate that he may be acting as an unofficial executive officer. It would be difficult to
determine whether he is simply helping his daughter adjust to her new role, or whether he is
actively controlling the companys decisions.
2. Roshan is the operations manager for a large boat hire company. He is not a director on the official
paperwork. The company director in Perth has authorised Roshan to speak on the companys
behalf for most day-to-day decisions, such as submitting reports or information to GBRMPA. Any
major decisions by the company (such as lodging applications or consenting to changes to a
permit) still need to be signed off by the company director. Roshan is unlikely to be an executive
officer, as his delegated authority is clearly limited by the company director.

88. The assessment considers whether the environmental history of executive officers or parent bodies is
relevant, given the nature of the permission being applied for. Generally, this would only be considered:
a. for Level 3 (PIP), Level 4 (PER) and Level 5 (EIS) proposals
b. if there are concerns or a lack of information about the applicants suitability, suggesting a closer
look at the executive officers or parent body may be prudent. Examples of such cases may
include:
i. a standard body corporate check (done to confirm that the person signing the application
is an authorised person for the body corporate) shows that:
the body corporate has recently been created; or
one or more executive officers are known to GBRMPA due to past allegations,
incidents, investigations or convictions; or
the body corporate is under external administration, in default, or subject to
judgements, writs or petitions.
ii. the applicant has some matters of concern under other aspects of the suitable person
criterion.

89. Considerations about executive officers and parent bodies are limited only to environmental history and
do not extend to other aspects of the suitable person criterion (such as outstanding fees).

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90. See the previous section on Applicants history in relation to environmental matters for guidance on
assessing an applicants history in relation to environmental matters. The same principles are applied to
assessing executive officers or parent bodies.

91. Under this criterion, the assessment cannot consider other companies or body corporates which are not
parent bodies. For example, the following cases cannot be assessed under this criterion:
a. Commercially related companies that are not the applicants parent body such as another
company that is owned by the same parent company as the applicant
b. Agreements or contracts between the applicant and other parties such as an applicant who is
carrying out works or constructing facilities on behalf of (under contract to) another company
c. Another community group that has splintered or broken away from the applicant group over
some difference of opinion.
EXAMPLES
A port has lodged an application to construct a new jetty. The port will own the infrastructure, but
construction and ongoing maintenance will be funded through a commercial agreement with a sugar
mill. The port would not be building the jetty if the sugar mill had not signed a long-term contract for its
exclusive use.

The port is the applicant. The sugar mills environmental history cannot be considered under this criterion.

A community fishing club owns several moorings which are available for use by its members. A dive
club has an unofficial gentlemens agreement which allows them to also use the moorings. The
moorings are under a continuation application.

The fishing club is the applicant. The dive clubs environmental history cannot be considered under this criterion.

92. In the above cases, there may be limited scope to consider such matters under:
a. Consideration B(vii) capacity to develop and manage the project. For example, if the applicant
does not have adequate credit or funds to deliver the project on their own and relies financially on
some contractual or philanthropic arrangement, this can be considered. In such cases, GBRMPA
may request further information from the applicant about such arrangements.
b. Consideration K Any other matter. For example, the environmental history of related companies
or groups that will use a facility may be relevant to the current decision.

Payments due (iv)(v)(vi)

93. The assessment considers whether the applicant owes any payments or returns to the Commonwealth
of Australia. This includes a check of Environmental Management Charges (EMC) obligations, unpaid
fines or civil penalties infringements in relation to a contravention of any Act or Regulations.

94. More specifically, the assessment may consider:


a. Environmental Management Charge information such as payment history, outstanding payments,
charges or late payment penalties
b. any permit application and assessment fees outstanding
c. any fines or civil penalties owing under the GBRMP Act or related Commonwealth Legislation.

95. Outstanding or late bonds cannot be considered under this sub-criterion, however they may be
considered under the sub-criterion of applicants history in relation to environmental matters. This is
because failure to lodge the correct bond by the due date is a breach of the Act.

96. A request for further information from the applicant about outstanding payments and penalties may be
required to determine the cause. There may be a simple administrative explanation that doesnt impact
the applicants status as a responsible permit holder. The assessment considers specifically:
a. Did they give any reasons or extenuating circumstances for their non-compliance?
b. What steps did they take to resolve the liability and prevent it from happening again?
c. If the matters occurred some time ago, have there been any further issues in recent years? Has
the applicant shown an improvement in their payment history, or are issues still occurring?

97. Generally, the GBRMPAs expectation is that all fees and penalties will be fully paid before making a
decision on the application. Where fees remain outstanding, and no reasonable explanations are
provided, GBRMPA is unlikely to grant a new permission or a continuation of an existing permission.

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Capacity to develop and manage the activity (vii)

98. Larger scale projects, such as the installation and operation of a facility, have the potential to
significantly impact the values of the Marine Park. The key considerations are described in this section.
A decision needs to be made for each application whether this is a relevant consideration, but
generally:
a. Routine Assessment (Level 1) the standardised permit includes relevant conditions to mitigate
this low risk.
b. Tailored Assessment (Level 2) likely to be relevant only for facilities or carrying out works.
c. Public Information Package (Level 3) applications likely to be relevant.
d. Public Environment Report (Level 4) applications very likely to be relevant.
e. Environmental Impact Statement (Level 5) applications almost certainly relevant.

99. Consider whether the applicant has adequate project management or environmental management
expertise to develop and manage the project. This could be evidenced by:
a. a robust project plan or business plan
b. staff who have demonstrated experience in the successful delivery of similar projects,
including adherence with environmental management conditions
c. the engagement of experienced and qualified consultants to manage the project or its
environmental management.

100. Consider whether the applicant has sufficient financial capability to install, maintain, operate, and
ultimately decommission or remove the facility, including contingency reserves.
a. credit rating of BBB (or higher), or demonstrated equity sufficient to deliver the project
b. demonstrated success in securing finance to deliver a project of this scale
c. financial due diligence conducted by GBRMPA or other regulators (such as the Queensland
Government).

101. Consider whether the applicant is under administration or in receivership, if the applicant has been
bankrupt or has other credit issues.
a. Such matters do not automatically render the applicant unsuitable. However, GBRMPA will
generally request further information related to the applicants financial situation.
b. Where applicants have a history of financial management issues, GBRMPA may consider using
a deed or bond to further mitigate risks to the public and the Marine Park.

102. Where the applicant is lacking their own capacity, it may be appropriate to consider any commercial or
philanthropic arrangements in place which would mitigate these concerns.
a. This may include considering the formality and certainty of the arrangement Is it legally
binding? What are the exclusion clauses? Is the agreement likely to persist if the applicant fails
to deliver the project or becomes insolvent?
b. If an applicant is unable to demonstrate their own capacity to manage the activity, the person
contracting or funding the activity may prefer to lodge the application in their own name.

Other matters relevant (viii)

103. The assessment also considers any additional matters that the decision maker considers to be relevant
to the circumstances and nature of the application. These may include, but are not limited to:
a. the applicants likelihood of being able to comply with reasonable conditions that might be placed
on the permission for example, the applicants experience or qualifications
b. findings from the coroners office or an inquiry
c. advice from other management agencies and regulators, for matters not already covered under
other criteria which are directly relevant to the application under consideration for example,
Maritime Safety Queensland for boating safety.

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Consideration C: Reasonable steps
the requirement in section 37AA of the Act for users of the Marine Park to take all reasonable steps to prevent
or minimise harm to the environment in the Marine Park that might or will be caused by the users use or
entry, including prudent and feasible alternatives to the proposed conduct.

Section 37AA of the Act

104. Section 37AA defines harm to include any adverse effect, direct or indirect harm to which the persons
use or entry has contributed.

105. When determining whether all reasonable steps have been taken by the applicant to minimise harm
from the proposed activity, the Act requires consideration of the following:
a. the nature and scale of the potential harm
b. the risk of harm
c. the sensitivity of the environment and the objectives of the zone where the activity is proposed
d. the practicality and cost of steps that will prevent or minimise the harm
e. whether or not the use or entry complies with relevant laws, codes of practice,
standards, guidelines and permit conditions.

Prudent and feasible alternatives


106. Evaluating prudent and feasible alternatives to the activity and identifying and implementing measures
to avoid and minimise impacts are important steps in the application and assessment process.

107. In general the option that would have the least impact to the values of the Marine Park and would also
deliver the outcomes required by the proponent should be pursued.

108. Prudent and feasible alternatives should be considered commensurate with risk. For example:
a. Level 1 (Routine Assessment) No information needed from the applicant, as GBRMPA has
already conducted this assessment of alternatives.
b. Level 2 (Tailored Assessment) A few sentences from the applicant may suffice to explain why
they need to conduct the activity in the Marine Park. Applicants should clearly demonstrate that
alternatives have been evaluated. They should be able to clearly explain and justify why a
particular option has or has not been chosen.
c. Level 3 (Public Information Package) As for level 2, but with a more detailed comparison of the
biophysical, social, economic and heritage impacts of options included in the application.
d. Level 4 (Public Environment Report) Terms of Reference will specify what is required. The
general expectation is as for level 3, but with some quantitative analysis of short-listed options.
e. Level 5 (Environmental Impact Statement) While individualised Terms of Reference will be
developed which specify what is required, the general expectation is for a robust cost-benefit
analysis of options to be conducted which incorporates ecosystem services.

109. Feasible alternatives may be available that would avoid or mitigate impacts. Important elements when
considering alternatives include:
a. Could the proposed activity be conducted at a different location that supports fewer values,
including a location outside the Marine Park?
b. Could the applicant conduct a different type of activity or install a different type of facility?
c. What are the comparative risks or impact to the values of the Marine Park of the alternatives?
d. What are the costs and benefits of the alternatives?

110. The applicant must provide justification if the preferred option has higher risks than other alternatives.

111. In determining whether an alternative is feasible, consider the costs (to the applicant and the
community) and practicalities of these alternatives commensurate with the risk of the proposed activity.
For example:
a. Is the reduction in risk significant enough to justify the increased cost of an alternative?
Applicants for larger scale or higher risk projects may be required to undertake a cost/benefit
analysis of alternatives to assist in this process.
b. Are alternative materials, equipment, methods or professional services available in Australia? Are
they tested and proven in tropical marine environments?

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Consideration D: Public comment
any written comments received about the application in response to the public advertisement published
in accordance with regulation 88D

112. As outlined in the Permission system policy, GBRMPA considers:


a. the issues raised in public comments
b. new information provided by the public, particularly around potential impacts/methods
of conducting the activity
c. the relevance of the issues raised to the permission being applied for.

113. Public comment is required under components of Level Three (Public Information Package), Level Four
(Public Environment Report) and Level Five (Environmental Impact Statement) processes (see section
Public Comment).

114. Often people comment on matters which are not directly within GBRMPAs jurisdiction. Some of these
comments may still be considered. Examples may include:
a. Comments about activities proposed in areas under Queensland jurisdiction, such as the
mainland or islands Where the activity in the Marine Park might impact on these, this could
be considered as indirect impacts under Criterion D potential impacts.
b. Comments about matters which are regulated by another agency, such as employment
conditions, workplace health and safety, or competition Where relevant to the permit
application, this could be considered under Criterion B Suitable person, Criterion E Other
legislation, Criterion G Queensland approvals, and/or Criterion K Any other matters.

115. In cases where an application is contentious, it may attract campaign style responses, where hundreds
(sometimes thousands) of copies of the same text are submitted, each by a different person. The
assessment will identify that a campaign email/letter was submitted, the quantity received, the issues
raised and how they have been addressed by the applicant.

116. The assessment does not consider public comments as a vote or opinion poll. The numbers of
submissions received which are in favour of and opposed to the proposal are not taken to accurately
reflect public sentiment. However, a large number of public comments does indicate significant
community interest in the proposal. The Guidelines: Social impact assessment in the permission
system (Social value assessment guidelines) provide more guidance on how an assessment considers
public perceptions and sentiment.

117. The assessment considers the applicants response to the issues raised and whether any issues
remain outstanding. The results from public comments are used throughout the assessment. For
example:
a. locals may provide new information on species that nest or feed in the area
b. the community (even the international community) may raise concerns about how the proposal
may impact on other businesses or peoples appreciation of the area.

118. Typically the assessment report contains a table summarising issues raised or information provided, but
addresses these in detail as they relate to other assessment criteria.
EXAMPLE
If a member of the community provides new information about where turtles nest, this would be noted in
a table of comments under this assessment criterion, but discussed in detail under Consideration E:
Potential Impacts.

119. Comments received outside the formal public comment period may still be considered in the
assessment, if they present new information that is critical to the decision.

120. Where campaign-style responses are received outside the formal public comment period, the numbers
of responses are not considered. This is because the process is clearly not equitable others may not
have commented at the time because their views were not invited, or they were not aware of the
opportunity to comment. However, the preference is for such comments to be received during the public
comment period. This ensures that the assessment has enough time to properly consider the issues
raised and to seek further information if needed.

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Consideration E: Potential impacts
the potential impacts of the proposed conduct on the environment and on the social, cultural and
heritage values of the Marine Park, a part of the Marine Park, or areas adjacent to, adjoining or near the
proposed conduct (including areas outside the Marine Park).
121. The assessment identifies the Marine Park values that may be present in the locations where the
conduct is proposed to occur and describe their significance. The assessment considers whether there
are particularly sensitive or unique examples of any values. A range of supporting information may be
available to assist in evaluating impacts, including:
a. GBRMPAs value assessment guidelines
b. GBRMPAs activity assessment guidelines
c. GBRMPAs Vulnerability assessments
d. scientific research reports
e. local and traditional knowledge
f. historical records
g. expert advice.

122. The assessment describes the findings of any site inspections that may have been conducted recently
(in the past 12 months or less), including routine field inspections by GBRMPA or surveys conducted
through Eye on the Reef, Reef Health and Impact Surveys or any other routine monitoring which may
be implemented as part of a nearby project. The Reef Integrated Monitoring and Reporting Program
may provide details of any data available for the location.

123. The assessment considers whether the proposed area of operation has recently been impacted by
severe weather events and if so, the extent of damage and whether granting a permission is likely to
contribute to impacts at that location. Permissions in an impacted area may be limited for a certain
period of time to ensure the values can recover.

Types of impacts

124. The assessment considers the potential for direct, consequential, indirect and cumulative impacts.

125. Flow-on impacts can result from direct or indirect impacts. Flow-on impacts occur when an impact on
one value creates another impact on a different value. For example, removing seagrass will have flow-
on impacts on species that feed on seagrass, such as turtles and dugong.

126. Direct impacts occur when the proposed activity directly interacts with the values of the Marine Park at
that location. For example, the installation of mooring blocks may physically damage corals.

127. Indirect impacts are those which are not a direct result of the project, often occurring away from the
site of the activity, but which would otherwise not have occurred. GBRMPA considers indirect impacts
on areas that are outside the Marine Park when deciding whether to grant permission for an activity
within the Marine Park.
a. Guidance material from the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy explains
that indirect impacts may include:
i. Downstream impacts arise when the proposal creates impacts at another location due
to the by-products or waste caused by its operation. For example:
Chemicals discharged into the ocean near land may disperse widely throughout the
reef.
Rubbish generated by construction may require a nearby landfill to be expanded.
ii. Upstream impacts arise when the proposal creates impacts at another location due to
supply requirements. For example:
Building a new rock breakwater may increase heavy vehicle traffic on the route from
the local quarry to the barge ramp, which may impact negatively on residents.
Increasing the number or size of dive boats may require an expansion of the local
marinas refuelling system.
iii. Facilitated impacts or consequential impacts arise when the proposal requires,
makes possible or makes easier other activities (including by third parties). For example:
Building a new jetty leads to an increase in recreational use, which may create new
or more serious impacts on the environment.
Expanding an island resort creates an influx of new tourists to the region, which may
create demand for other tourism operators to expand their activities.

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b. The assessment considers all positive and negative impacts that could reasonably be predicted
to follow from the activity, whether these impacts are within the control of the applicant or not. An
indirect impact should be considered in the assessment if:
i. The downstream, upstream or facilitated impacts would not occur without the proposed
activity happening.
ii. The proposed activity is a material and substantial cause of the downstream, upstream or
facilitated impacts.
iii. The applicant could reasonably expect that the downstream, upstream or facilitated
impacts may happen in response to their own activity.

128. Cumulative impacts arise when the impacts from a proposal combine or interact with other impacts,
including those from past, present and reasonably foreseeable future pressures.
a. GBRMPA is preparing policy and guidance materials to improve the consideration of cumulative
impacts in all aspects of GBRMPAs work as part of implementing the Strategic Assessment.

Assessing impacts using the Risk assessment procedure

129. GBRMPA adopts a risk-based approach in its management and decision making. GBRMPAs
management program is clearly focused on the highest risk impacts, without ignoring medium risks. In
some cases the lower risks are already well understood and can be easily mitigated through standard
permit conditions.

130. Taking a risk-based approach to assessments provides for a more complete assessment of the impacts
to environmental, cultural, social and heritage values and assists the assessment officer and decision
maker to prioritise issues requiring management.

131. GBRMPA has implemented a Risk assessment procedure based on International and Australian
Standards and relevant public sector guidance. This framework provides a step-by-step guide to the
identification of environmental risk using a hazard risk grade system, including methods to prioritise,
treat and monitor risks and assess acceptability.
a. Value assessment guidelines have been developed for many individual values, with more added
as resources allow. These guidelines assist in determining impacts and how they may be
avoided and mitigated.
b. Guidance material for specific activities, facilities and locations is available in the
activity assessment guidelines and Location-specific assessment guidelines.
c. These guidelines provide a more detailed explanation of impacts for consideration in an
assessment.

132. When assessing impacts of a proposed activity or facility, consideration should be given to the whole-
of-project-life including construction (where applicable), operation, decommissioning and removal
(where applicable). In the case of some facilities it may be necessary for the applicant to provide a full
plan for the decommissioning and removal stage, to allow for the assessment of potential risks from this
phase of the proposed activity. Refer to the Facilities activity assessment guidelines for details relevant
to specific types of facilities.

133. GBRMPA often seeks the advice of internal and external experts, including for second opinions of
information submitted by applicants.

Consideration F: Avoid, mitigate, offset


Options for avoiding, mitigating and offsetting the potential impacts of the proposed conduct.

Options for avoiding, mitigating and offsetting


134. Identify how proposed avoidance, mitigation or offset measures may reduce the risks posed by the
activity. When an activity is likely to have an impact on the values of the Marine Park, the risk must be
managed to bring it down to an acceptable level. If measures cannot be implemented to reduce the risk,
then the proposed activity may be refused.

Ecologically sustainable use


135. For the purposes of the Act, the following are principles of ecologically sustainable use:
a. Decision-making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term
environmental, economic, social and equitable considerations

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i. In practice, this means considering not merely the direct and immediately
observable impacts of an activity, but also the indirect or delayed impacts.
EXAMPLE
It is not enough to consider how many fish would be directly killed by the activity; you must also
consider the sub-lethal effects, such as fish becoming more prone to disease or unable to
reproduce. Such effects may not become noticeable for many years after the original impact or
activity.
b. Precautionary principle: The precautionary principle is established in the Act, which states,
lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing a measure to
prevent degradation of the environment where there are threats of serious or irreversible
environmental damage. Within the permission system, this means that if there is a high degree
of uncertainty about the ability to manage impacts, and the consequence might be severe, the
GBRMPA decision maker must be convinced that the risk can be managed, otherwise the
proposal is likely to be refused. Examples might include where:
i. Background or baseline conditions are not well documented;
ii. Likely impacts of particular chemicals or activities are not well understood;
iii. Techniques for monitoring a particular value, or a particular location, are not well-tested or
commercially feasible.
b. Inter-generational equity: The present generation should ensure that the health, diversity and
productivity of the environment is maintained or enhanced for the benefit of future generations.
Future generations should not inherit a degraded Marine Park.
i. A real risk is shifting baselines, where the condition of the Marine Park gradually
degrades over several generations. Each generation believes that the condition is only
a little worse and can be corrected when, in fact, a significant change has occurred over
decades. If a tipping point has been passed, the Marine Park may never recover to its
previous condition.
Baseline conditions for the Marine Park are measured from its World Heritage
Declaration in 1981. As stated in the Permission system policy, proposals should explain
how they will contribute to maintaining this baseline condition (for values in good condition)
or improving upon this baseline condition (for values in poor condition).
Background conditions are those that currently exist (or recently existed) before a
proposed activity starts. When defining background conditions, applicants should
ensure that unusual events do not skew the data. For example, it would be
inappropriate to characterise an area as not supporting seagrass if this were based on
a seagrass survey conducted after a cyclone destroyed all the seagrass in the area.
Defining background conditions and then monitoring these during and after an activity
can help to decide whether a specific activity is causing specific impacts. However,
proposals must do more than just avoiding changes to background conditions. The
most important consideration is whether the proposal contributes to maintaining values
at, or restoring values to, the baseline condition of 1981.
ii. There is significant overlap with prudent and feasible alternatives as discussed under
Consideration C. Options should be favoured which promote the maintenance of values
which are in good condition and the recovery of values which are in poor condition. This
requires a longer term perspective than is commonly applied in project assessments.
iii. For Public Environment Report (Level 4) or Environmental Impact Statement (Level 5)
proposals, terms of reference may require detailed consideration of inter-generational
equity. A range of tools and theories are available to undertake such an assessment.
GBRMPA may seek expert advice to assist in evaluating the results.
c. Social values and community benefits rely upon a healthy, resilient ecosystem. The first priority is
therefore conservation of biodiversity and ecological integrity.
i. Biodiversity means the variety and variability of life within the Marine Park the number of
plants and animals and the number of different kinds.
ii. Ecological integrity means the living and non-living parts and processes necessary to
maintain an ecosystem and allow it to recover from disturbances. Integrity includes living
parts (biodiversity), non-living parts (such as water and sand), and natural processes (such
as waves, winds and predation).
iii. While GBRMPAs assessment always seeks to maximise community benefits and minimise
impacts on social values, human use of the Marine Park should only be permitted when it
does not degrade biodiversity or ecological integrity.
d. Improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms should be promoted.

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i. Historically, the value provided to humans by natural processes has not been well
captured in traditional economics. Natural resources like clean air or water are not usually
traded on markets, and so it is difficult to place a value on them.
ii. Environmental valuation looks at quantifying the value of these natural resources and
processes, so that they can be included in traditional cost-benefit analysis or other
economic techniques.
iii. Applicants are encouraged to utilise accepted international methodologies for more
accurately calculating costs and benefits from an ecosystem perspective. GBRMPA may
require this for Public Environment Report (Level Four) or Environment Impact Statement
(Level Five) assessments.
Avoid
136. Avoiding impacts is the first priority when assessing an application. Avoidance measures must be fully
explored before considering mitigation or offset measures.

137. Consider the purpose of use or entry and why the proposed activity needs to be conducted in the
Marine Park. If the activity can be conducted elsewhere, the applicant needs to justify continuing with
the application to conduct the activity in the Marine Park.

138. Consider whether the activity or facility has been designed to be fit for the intended purpose and for
how long into the future. For example:
a. Constructing a breakwater that does not meet its stated objective, either in terms of
wave protection or the size of vessels it can accommodate, may not be justifiable.
b. The Permission system policy states that disused facilities should not generally be permitted,
except in certain situations.

Mitigate

139. Mitigation measures either reduce the consequence of an impact, or alternately reduce the likelihood of
that impact occurring. The Risk assessment procedure identifies in which situations further steps are
needed to reduce risks.

140. Mitigation measures should align with the principles of Best Available Technique (BAT) and Best
Environmental Practice (BEP), for example as outlined in the Stockholm Convention for certain
chemicals.
EXAMPLES
Mitigation measures might include:
1. Supervising participants so they dont touch wildlife.
2. Using silt curtains to prevent sediment from spreading during construction.
3. Treating effluent before discharging it.
4. Having a whale spotter during construction and stopping work if a whale comes too close.
5. Providing displays or information sheets to interpret the heritage of the site.

141. More mitigation ideas can be found in the activity assessment guidelines and value assessment
guidelines.

142. Monitoring is not a mitigation measure. Monitoring provides valuable information about impacts but
does not actually reduce the consequence of an impact or the likelihood of impacts monitoring merely
tracks the impact.

Offset

143. The Australian Governments offset policy states, avoidance and mitigation measures are the primary
strategies for managing the potential significant impact of a proposed action. They directly reduce the
scale and intensity of the potential impacts of a proposed action. Offsets do not reduce the likely
impacts of a proposed action, but instead compensate for any residual significant impact.

144. Offsetting of impacts is the third step in the mitigation hierarchy. Determining the need for offsets is
based on a rigorous impact assessment process that maximises avoidance and mitigation measures,
and is governed by legislation. Offsets do not mean proposals with unacceptable impacts will be

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approved. They simply provide an additional tool that can be used during the environmental impact
assessment process.

145. Guidelines are being developed to explain how offsets will be applied more specifically for the Great
Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Consideration G: Monitoring and managing


Options for monitoring and managing the potential impacts of the proposed conduct

146. If permission is granted, a monitoring program may be needed to check that mitigation measures are
working and that no unexpected impacts are occurring.

147. Monitoring requirements are commensurate with risk and implemented through permit conditions. The
frequency at which monitoring should be conducted depends on the type of proposal and the values
being monitored. It may need to take seasonality or other temporal factors into account.

148. It is important to consider in the permit assessment whether such monitoring can reasonably be
conducted at the location and whether it is likely to provide enough advance warning of changes to
allow for adaptive management responses.

149. Before the activity starts, additional monitoring may be needed to gather more detailed information
about the background condition of values which may be impacted by the proposed activity. This data
may be readily available or the applicant may be required, as a condition of permission, to engage a
suitably qualified person to obtain the data prior to any permitted activity starting.

150. Options for monitoring may include the permission holder:


a. developing a specific Environmental Monitoring Plan or system which is approved by GBRMPA
(see section -- Management Plans)
b. conducting a regular water quality monitoring program in accordance with relevant GBRMPA
guidelines and approved by GBRMPA
c. Conducting reactive, issues-based monitoring following an incident or a severe weather event
d. participating in larger-scale activities associated with GBRMPAs Reef Integrated Monitoring and
Reporting Program or Eye on the Reef program
e. engaging an independent auditor to check compliance with monitoring requirements.

Consideration H: Other legislation


interactions with other legislation:
1. if the proposed conduct also requires an approval or permit under the Environment Protection
and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999:
a) whether the approval or permit has been, or is likely to be, granted and, if granted, the terms
and conditions of it being granted; and
b) any relevant assessment documentation (within the meaning given by subsection 133(8) of that
Act) in relation to the approval or permit;
2. any international Convention to which Australia is a signatory, or any agreement between the
Commonwealth and a State or Territory, that is relevant to the application;
3. any relevant law of the Commonwealth, or a relevant law of Queensland as in force from time to time, or
a relevant plan made under such a law, relating to the management of the environment, or an area in the
Marine Park;
4. any relevant recovery plan, wildlife conservation plan, threat abatement plan or approved conservation
advice, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

EPBC Act

151. The Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy and GBRMPA have a Memorandum
of Understanding in relation to referrals made under the EPBC Act which may also require a Marine
Parks permit to proceed. Refer to separate EPBC deemed applications information sheet

Convention or agreement

152. The Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement aims to ensure an integrated and collaborative
approach is taken by the Australian and Queensland governments to manage marine and land

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environments within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. In doing so, the agreement provides
for the joint permitting process for activities in the Marine Parks.

153. The Commonwealth Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade maintains a current list of
international treaties to which Australia is a signatory. Of the 107 treaties currently in force related to
environmental matters, the following are the most relevant to the permission system:
a. Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Peoples Republic
of China for the Protection of Migratory Birds and their Environment
b. Agreement on the Conservation of Albatrosses and Petrels
c. Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Korea on the Protection of Migratory Birds
d. Convention for the Protection of the Natural Resources and Environment of the South Pacific
Region Requires that other countries that might be affected by the impacts of a proposal
be consulted during the environmental impact assessment.
e. Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (World Heritage
Convention)
f. Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to
Justice in Environmental Matters
g. Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
h. Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS)
i. Convention on Conservation of Nature in the South Pacific
j. International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships
k. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)
l. International Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other
Matter
m. Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement (JAMBA)
n. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

154. In most cases, GBRMPAs legislation ensures that the requirements of the above treaties, conventions
and agreements are met. This is accomplished either through procedural fairness built into the system,
or through the focus on ecologically sustainable use of the Marine Park.

Commonwealth or Queensland law or statutory plan

155. Consider any other laws of the Commonwealth or state that have not already been included elsewhere
in the assessment.
EXAMPLES
Statutory regional plans under Queensland legislation express State interests at the regional scale. If
relevant, consider whether the proposal is consistent with the statutory regional plan. GBRMPA should
seek the views of the local council and the Queensland planning department if considering these
regional plans.
1. The Mackay Isaac Whitsunday Regional Plan 2012 states that any changes to the existing approval
(pre-2012) for Keswick Island should not result in increased scale of activity or further residential
development.
2. The Far North Queensland Regional Plan 2009 states that to increase resilience to climate change,
intact fish habitats should be protected, and large scale buffers and corridors should be identified
and enhanced.

156. As of 2015, all major commercial ports in Queensland are required to have statutory Port Master Plans
developed. If relevant, consider whether the proposal is consistent with the Port Master Plan.

Conservation documents under EPBC Act

157. The Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy publishes a range of statutory
recovery plans, conservation advices, wildlife conversation plans and threat abatement plans to
address key threatening process under the EPBC Act. Consider whether the proposal is consistent with
these statutory instruments. Search for these by region or species on the Species Profile and Threats
(SPRAT) database. Relevant statutory management documents under the EPBC Act may include the
following, although each Marine Park value should be assessed for each application to determine
whether it is relevant to a proposed activity :
a. Whales - Blue whale, Humpback whale, Sei whale, Brydes whale, Orca, Melon-headed whale,
Sperm whale

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b. Marine Turtle Recovery Plan covers Flatback turtle, Green turtle, Hawksbill turtle, Leatherback
turtle, Loggerhead turtle, Olive Ridley turtle;
c. Birds -- Australasian bittern, Southern giant petrel, Herald petrel; Migratory birds
d. Plants Ant plant;
e. Sawfish and River Sharks Multispecies Recovery Plan covers Green sawfish,
Speartooth shark, Dwarf sawfish, Northern river shark;
f. Oceanic sharks - Whale shark, Grey nurse shark, Great white shark.

158. The Great Barrier Reef Region Strategic Assessment Report 2014 provided a list of listed threatened
species and listed migratory species relevant to the Great Barrier Reef Region (refer Table 4.7, page 4-
33 and Table 4.4, page 4-25 respectively), which may assist with determining if there are relevant plans
under the EPBC Act that pertain to those species. Note however, that such listings can change over
time so the Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energys website should always be
checked to ensure any additional listings are considered.

159. The value assessment guidelines provide more details for certain species and habitats.

Consideration I: Policies and guidelines


any relevant policies issued by GBRMPA under section 7(4) and 7(5) of the GBRMP Act or the EPBC Act
about the management of the Marine Park and/or its values;

160. GBRMPAs policy documents include any document developed by the Authority under section 7,
subsection 4 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 to manage the Marine Park or perform its
other functions. These include strategies, policies, guidelines, position statements and site
management arrangements. Refer to GBRMPAs public website for an up-to-date list of approved
policies and guidelines.

161. Proposals should generally comply with GBRMPAs policies and guidelines. If a proposal does not
comply, the decision maker will need to consider whether there are compelling reasons to deviate from
GBRMPAs stated policy in a particular case.

162. The assessment considers any policy that is relevant to the proposed activity and whether granting a
permit would be consistent with such policy. Some of these are addressed in more detail below.

163. Commonwealth Department of the Environment and Energy policies which may be relevant include:
a. Industry guidelines on the interaction between offshore seismic exploration and whales
b. Engage early guidance for proponents on best practice Indigenous engagement for
environmental assessments under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation
Act 1999 (EPBC Act) - 2016
c. EPBC Act Condition-setting policy - 2016
d. EPBC Act environmental offsets policy - 2012
e. EPBC Act assessment and approval process policies - July 2013
f. EPBC Act Policy Statement 3.21 - Industry Guidelines for avoiding, assessing and mitigating
impacts on EPBC Act listed migratory shorebird species
g. EPBC Act referral guidelines for the Outstanding Universal Value of the Great Barrier Reef
World Heritage Area - May 2014
h. EPBC Act Policy Statement: Change of person proposing to take an action; Change of proponent;
Transfer of approvals: Sections 78(5), 145B and 156F of the EPBC Act - June 2013
i. Outcomes-based conditions policy and guidance - 2016
j. Policy statement: Advanced environmental offsets under the EPBC Act - 2016

Special permissions

164. Special permissions are required for activities that have been limited in a Planning Areas under a Plan
of Management (PoM). These permissions may be capped in number, limited by location or provide for
more access arrangements to certain locations within a Planning Area.

165. When applying for a permit continuation, the permission holder must demonstrate reasonable use in
accordance with GBRMPAs policy on Managing Tourism Permissions to Operate in the Great Barrier
Reef Marine Park (including Allocation, Latency & Tenure).

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Relevance of policy documents

166. Policy documents are written expressions of GBRMPAs views on a specific matter. They reflect the
expected or typical approach to certain issues at the time they were written. However, GBRMPA makes
unwritten policy decisions on a daily basis as new situations arise.

167. Written policy documents may not keep pace with changing situations. Some policy documents may be
clearly out of date and overdue for a formal review. Other policy documents may be superseded by
unexpected events or higher-level shifts in Australian Government position. Because of this, the
assessment considers:
a. Is the policy relevant to this specific situation?
b. Does the policy accurately reflect GBRMPAs current position?
c. Is the policy under review?

168. If a formal policy review is underway, the assessment gives appropriate weight to the likely direction
that GBRMPA is heading. Greater weight is given to policy documents as they become more certain.
For example, if the policy has been released for public comment or if the Board is considering a final
policy document, it would not be prudent to make a decision that conflicts with this draft policy.

Consideration J: Queensland approvals


if the proposed conduct also requires an approval or permission under a law of Queensland whether the
approval or permission has been, or is likely to be, granted and, if granted, the terms and conditions of it
being granted

169. If relevant approvals or permits have not been granted by other authorities, consideration should be
given to whether the proposed activity could, or should, proceed.

170. To avoid being overly speculative, GBRMPA will generally only consider that a required Queensland
approval is unlikely to be granted if the Queensland delegate provides correspondence indicating this.

171. It is important to understand the reason why Queensland is unlikely to grant approval, in order to decide
what weight it should be given. For example:
a. If the proposal is prohibited under legislation Significant weight may be placed on this
consideration. However consider whether the legislation has been recently introduced or is
under review. If legislation lacks broad support, it may be subject to overturning if a new
Government comes into office.
b. If the proposal is inconsistent with public Government policy position Some weight may be
placed on this consideration. However, be aware that such policies may change, sometimes very
quickly, if public sentiment changes.

172. In all cases, if GBRMPA is considering refusing on the basis that the proposal is unlikely to secure the
required Queensland approvals, under the principles of natural justice the applicant should be given
opportunity to respond and explain why they believe they can secure Queensland approvals.

173. In most cases, GBRMPAs approval is not conditional on securing other approvals. The applicant should
be afforded liberty to determine the most logical sequence of obtaining approvals, based on their own
circumstances.

174. The one exception is the ability of the applicant to gain Queensland Marine Park approval. If approval
from GBRMPA would have no purpose or utility in the absence of permission for the Queensland
Marine Park, then GBRMPA may refuse on this basis. This is because GBRMPA operates a joint
permitting system with Queensland (see separate Joint Marine Parks permissions information sheet).
However, in some cases even if Queensland Marine Park permission is refused, GBRMPA permission
may still be of use. In such cases, GBRMPA makes its own decision independent of the Queensland
Marine Park decision.
EXAMPLE
Queensland may refuse permission for jet skiing in the Hinchinbrook Channel (which is not park of the
Commonwealth Marine Park), but GBRMPA may still decide to grant approval for jet skiing in the
Hinchinbrook area outside the Hinchinbrook Channel.

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175. GBRMPA does not usually make its permission contingent or conditional upon receiving other
approvals. It is implicit that the activity cannot legally proceed until all necessary approvals, permits and
licences have been secured.

Consideration K: Any other matters


any other matters relevant to achieving the objects of the Act, including the orderly and proper management
of the Marine Park
176. This criterion is open to the consideration of any matters that may influence whether permission should
be granted for a particular application. For example:
a. Consider whether granting this permission may restrict future use of the area. For example,
constructing a facility may lock out other uses for a long time.
b. Consider any goals of GBRMPA, Commonwealth, Queensland or Local Government that have
not already been considered elsewhere. For example, is the local council trying to grow
tourism in this particular location, and if so how might the permit decision affect this?
i. QPWS has a range of policies relating to the management of the coastal Marine Park,
adjacent islands and National Parks.
c. Consider whether granting permission for the proposed activity would set a precedent in relation
to that type of activity, or the activity at a particular location. If this is likely, the assessment
should consider any adverse effects from setting such a precedent.
d. Consider whether there are any limitations on potential sites within an area where the proposed
activity could take place, including whether there is a voluntary moratorium on certain activities.
e. Consider whether granting permission would significantly increase the demand on management
resources and if so, whether there are opportunities for cost recovery or how this demand could
otherwise be met.
f. Consider whether granting permission for the proposed activity may result in other benefits to
the Marine Park or contribute to management of the Marine Park. These opportunities should be
explored in the assessment. For example, the proposal may include contributions to the Reef
Integrated Monitoring and Reporting program in areas where data is otherwise scarce; or a
proposal for a facility such as a jetty may actually reduce impacts in an area by providing a
dedicated area where access is carefully managed.
g. If the application is for a research program, consider whether there are any benefits to research
priorities resulting from the latest Great Barrier Reef Outlook Report (2014) and how these may
be incorporated into management activities.
h. Consider any indirect or flow-on liability or safety issues that may be created by the
permission. For example, the installation of a mooring at a shipwreck may encourage
recreational divers to access the wreck, possibly without adequate training or knowledge. This
might pose a risk not only to the recreational divers but also to any emergency personnel who
are required to assist them.

Other assessment considerations


88RA Dumping

177. Regulation 88RA establishes that permission cannot be granted for certain types of dumping.

178. More information can be found in GBRMPAs Dredging and Spoil Disposal Policy.

88S Protected species

179. Regulation 88S(1) relates to the take of protected species. It instructs GBRMPA not to grant permission
unless the decision maker is satisfied that:
a. the conduct is not inconsistent with any relevant recovery plan, wildlife conservation plan, threat
abatement plan or approved conservation advice, under the Environment Protection and
Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999; and
b. one or more of the following apply:
i. to the extent that the conduct relates to an area or areas outside the Marine Parkthe
conduct is permitted by or under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999;
ii. the conduct is of particular significance to the traditions of traditional owners and will not
adversely affect the survival or recovery in nature of the protected species;
iii. the conduct will contribute to the conservation of the protected species;

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iv. the taking of the protected species is not the main purpose of the conduct but is merely
incidental to the conduct and will not adversely affect the conservation status of the
species.

180. Regulation 88S(2) specifically relates to research, recording or tourist programs involving cetaceans. It
requires GBRMPA to consider whether the conduct will adversely affect:
a. an individual animal
b. the conservation status of a species
c. a population of a species.

181. In assessing these matters, the primary references are:


a. Operational Policy on Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
b. GBRMPAs Policy on Managing Activities That Include the Direct Take of a Protected Species
from the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

88T Mission Beach leader prawn broodstock

182. Regulation 88T places limits on who can be granted a new permission for this activity. It does not apply
to continuation applications. Refer to the Regulations for details.

88U Swimming with dwarf minke whales in part of Cairns Planning Area

183. Regulation 88U caps the total number of permissions that can be in force at any one time to nine (9)
permissions. This cap applies only to swimming with whales as part of a tourist program.

88V Princess Charlotte Bay Special Management Area

184. Regulation 88V places limits on who can be granted a new permission for netting (other than bait
netting) in this area. It does not apply to continuation applications or to other types of activities. Refer to
the Regulations for details.

88VA Maritime Cultural Heritage Protection Special Management Areas

185. Refer to the Guidelines: Maritime cultural heritage protection special management area permit
application and assessment (Maritime cultural heritage protection SMA guidelines)

88W Camping on Commonwealth islands

186. Regulation 88W establishes that the only relevant consideration for this type of assessment is the
reasonable requirements for the orderly and proper management of the Marine Park and the camping
site. No other assessment criteria apply.

Making a Decision

187. The Minister or the Marine Park Authority Board may approve delegations, giving a range of officers at
different levels within GBRMPA the ability to make decisions relating to different aspects of
permissions.

188. When determining the most appropriate decision maker, the following matters are considered:
a. Who is available and has adequate time to give due consideration to the decision The
assessment officer may need to consult with their supervisor to identify possibilities.
b. The complexity of the application and how contentious a decision will be. Generally, a more
complex and contentious decision will require consideration by a higher level decision maker.
i. In some cases, low risk permits may be decided by a project manager.
ii. In general, most applications are decided by a manager.
iii. For high risk or particularly contentious projects, the responsibility may be given to the
section director or the branch general manager.
iv. It is very rare for the Chairman of the Authority to be the decision maker, primarily because
if the applicant requests a reconsideration there is no one of equal or higher level within
GBRMPA to reconsider the Chairmans decision. While there is no requirement for
reconsiderations to be made by a higher level, this is GBRMPAs policy.
v. It is generally preferable for the decision maker to have some knowledge of, and
experience with, the proposed activity and/or proposed location. A detailed assessment
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report will assist in providing this information; however, the decision maker may also wish
to undertake a site visit to the proposed location to gain first-hand understanding of the
issues and context.
vi. While it is preferable for the decision maker to be familiar with the proposal, there should
not be an actual or perceived conflict of interest or bias. More information relating to
conflicts of interest is available from the Australian Public Service Commission. If there
is any reason to believe a conflict of interest exists, it is best to seek direction from a
supervisor or choose a different decision maker.

189. Generally, the assessing officer will liaise with the applicant and prepare an assessment report for the
decision maker. For high risk applications, there may be a small team of officers working together to
prepare the assessment report. The assessment report summarises the proposal, then addresses each
assessment criteria. The assessment report will usually include recommendations to the decision
maker.
EXAMPLE
If the recommendation is to refuse the permit the assessment report would provide reasonable grounds
for the refusal. Where a permit is recommended, the assessment report would identify potential
conditions to mitigate impacts of the activity.

190. The decision maker will generally make a decision based on the information provided in the
assessment report. Where additional information is required to make an informed decision, and the
information would be available or able to be provided, the decision maker may request that additional
information is sought from the applicant or from internal or external experts and incorporated into an
updated assessment report. In some cases the information will not be available or able to be provided
and the decision maker may use the precautionary principle in making a decision.

191. The decision maker is free to accept, modify or reject the recommendations made in the assessment
report.

192. Where an applicant has requested more than one type of permission, a separate decision is made on
each type of permission. In most cases, a single assessment report is prepared to cover all the
permissions sought.
EXAMPLE
A person has applied for two different permissions: (1) permission to install and operate a facility, being
a mooring; and (2) permission to conduct a tourist program. A single assessment report is prepared
which clearly describes the potential risks associated with each permission type. After considering the
relevant matters, the decision maker refuses permission for the mooring and grants permission for the
tourist program. This is sometimes called a partial refusal.

193. An official decision has not been made until the decision maker has signed a decision notice and the
decision notice has been sent to the applicant. Applicants will be informed of the decision in writing as
soon as practicable after the decision is made.

194. A decision maker can review an assessment report and indicate (by signing where indicated on the
assessment report) that the activity should be permitted, but subsequently determine during preparation
of a permit that it is actually not possible to permit the activity. The circumstances and reasons for such
changes in position should be clearly documented.
EXAMPLE
It may become clear that reasonable conditions cannot be formulated; or new information may come to
light about the applicants environmental compliance history. In these examples, as no decision notice
has yet been sent to the applicant, the decision maker is able to change their previous position (a
preference to grant a permit) and make a final decision not to grant a permit.

Permits

195. A permit is a written document issued by GBRMPA which clearly explains the permission(s) granted.
Refer to the Application guidelines for more information.

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196. Permits include conditions regulating how the activities can be conducted in order to minimise potential
impacts to the Marine Parks values. Permit holders are required to comply with all conditions set out in
the permit.

197. For non-standard research applications and Level 3 to 5 applications, GBRMPA will generally provide
proposed permit conditions to the applicant for comment before a decision is made. This ensures that
conditions (if the permit is granted) are practical, reasonable and understood by the applicant.
a. There is no requirement for the decision maker to accept changes to conditions that
are requested by applicants.
b. If the applicant indicates permit conditions cannot be complied with, consider whether alternative
conditions can be formulated which are equally effective in mitigating impacts. If no alternative
conditions can be formulated which meet GBRMPAs requirements, then the application is likely
to be refused on the basis of unacceptable risk to the Marine Park.

Permit conditions

198. Regulation 88ZE specifies that any conditions which are appropriate to the attainment of the objects of
the Act may be placed on a permit and specifically mentions:
a. submission of a plan for GBRMPAs approval (see section on Management plans and section on
Decommissioning and Removal Plan);
b. agreements and undertakings with GBRMPA (see section on Deeds);
c. security such as a bond (see section on Bonds);
d. indemnities and insurances (see section on Indemnities and insurances);
e. specific monitoring and auditing activities ;
f. cost recovery for GBRMPA inspections and supervision;
g. financial contributions (such as monetary offsets) to assist with protecting or rehabilitating the
Marine Park.

199. Permit conditions should be designed and tailored to reflect the project risk and proposed activities. A
condition should only be placed on the permission if the assessment has identified a residual risk that
needs further mitigation, management or monitoring.

200. Each permit condition has four essential elements:


a. what action must be taken (or not taken)
b. by whom
c. at what time
d. to what standard.
EXAMPLE - Conditions that do not meet the above requirements
It is a requirement for anyone operating in the Marine Park to collect and submit Environmental
Management Charge to GBRMPA.

This is merely an advice statement, not a permit condition. This requirement is independently established in
legislation and does not need to be enforced by making it a permit condition.

201. Permit conditions are generally one of two types:


a. Prescriptive conditions specify exact details of methods or materials.
EXAMPLE
Sewage must be treated using ultraviolet light and a three-stage sand filter prior to discharge
into the Marine Park.
i. Benefits: They are appropriate where GBRMPA has a firm view on the best method or
material, or to explicitly prohibit certain methods or materials. It is generally clear what
GBRMPA expects from the permission holder.
ii. Drawbacks: They can stifle innovation and continuous improvement, particularly for
permits that extend beyond five (5) years. New methods or materials cannot be
adopted without GBRMPA changing the permit conditions.
b. Outcomes-based conditions specify the outcome that must be achieved, or the
performance indicator that must be met.
EXAMPLE
Sewage discharged into the Marine Park must not exceed 10 mg/L of Total Nitrogen at any
time.

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i. Benefits: The permission holder has flexibility in how they achieve the outcome, and the
ability to adopt new technology as it becomes available.
ii. Drawbacks: Tends to transfer GBRMPAs workload from the assessment stage to the
compliance stage. It can become more difficult for GBRMPA to determine whether the
permission holder has complied with their permit conditions (whether they have
achieved the outcome). If progress indicators are not set, there is a risk of failure that
is, by the time it becomes apparent that the outcome cannot be achieved, it may be too
late for GBRMPA to intervene or for the permission holder to fix the problem.

202. The Environmental impact management policy: permission system (Permission system policy) outlines
general principles for setting permit conditions. Further guidance and examples are provided below:
a. Supportive -- Permit conditions should support the management of the proposal, but cannot
fundamentally change the proposal. If the proposal is not acceptable without significant
changes, and the applicant is unwilling to make these changes, then the decision maker may
refuse permission. The applicant may also choose to change their application in response to
concerns raised by GBRMPA, in order to avoid possible refusal.
EXAMPLES
1. If an applicant proposed to discharge untreated sewage, GBRMPA should not grant a permit
with a condition requiring sewage to be treated.
2. If an applicant proposed to build a 100m long jetty, GBRMPA should not grant a permit with a
condition allowing only a 20m long jetty.
In both cases, the changes from the proposal are so significant that they would amount to
a different proposal entirely.
b. Reasonable and relevant -- Conditions are to be directly related to the activity and linked to
achieving the objects of the Act. Conditions are to be achievable, reasonable to comply with, and
in proportion to the impacts likely to be caused by the activity. They should not repeat
requirements that are already established under other legislation, or seek to enforce matters that
are outside GBRMPAs jurisdiction.
EXAMPLES
1. GBRMPA should not condition a facility to be constructed using materials sourced from the
local area in order to contribute to local jobs. This is beyond GBRMPAs role and outside
the objects of the Act.
2. GBRMPA should not require monitoring and reporting on whales if the activity is unlikely to
cause any impacts on whales. Such a condition would not be relevant to the activity.
c. Clear Conditions are to be easy to understand. An average person should be able to
understand what has (and has not) been permitted.
i. The legal condition is what is actually written in the permit, not the intention the decision
maker had when writing that condition. For this reason, it is critical that the permit clearly
states any and all limitations that the decision maker wishes to impose. For facilities, the
permit should clearly indicate approved drawings (whether concept drawings, design
drawings or as-built final record drawings) and GPS coordinates.
EXAMPLE
If a permit approves a jetty at Blue Island, then the permission holder could potentially build any
size or type of jetty, from any material, at any site within the location called Blue Island. If the
decision maker intends to only approve a certain size, type, design or site for the jetty, then these
details should be specified in the permit.
d. Enforceable Conditions should be designed to allow practical compliance monitoring by
GBRMPA. There are several elements to this consideration, including:
i. The matters must be within GBRMPAs power to enforce.
ii. GBRMPA should not bend over backwards to create a condition that will allow permission
to be granted, if such a condition imposes an impractical or unreasonable compliance or
administrative burden on GBRMPA.
EXAMPLES
1. A permit condition stating, Staff must be paid correctly according to relevant government
legislation is outside GBRMPAs power to enforce. Such a condition should not be included.

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2. A permit condition stating, A GBRMPA inspector must be on board the vessel whenever it is
underway may place an impractical burden on GBRMPA. While this condition is legal and
could be appropriate in a unique situation to deal with a specific risk, it would not be
appropriate to include on large numbers of permits. If included, permit conditions may also
be needed to establish cost recovery mechanisms for GBRMPA to fund this extra compliance
role.
e. Certain and final The decision needs to be certain and final. This means that conditions
cannot be used to defer or delay consideration of matters that would be material to the
decision makers view on whether permission should be granted or on what conditions should
be placed on the approval.
i. While permit conditions can require the submission of a plan or other details in the future,
this is only intended to clarify and give greater certainty to some detail of the permitted
activity. It is important to remember that GBRMPAs decisions on such post-permit plans
are not open to internal reconsideration. This is another reason why any material
considerations should be clearly specified in the permit, rather than in a plan submitted
after a permit is granted.
EXAMPLES
1. A permit for a facility could be granted based on concept drawings, with a condition for
final drawings to be provided and approved prior to construction. Concept drawings
illustrate the scale and location of the facility, which are sufficient detail for both the
public and the GBRMPA decision maker to form a view on the proposal. It would not
generally be appropriate to issue a permit which did not specify at least a general
location and general design (size or scale) for a facility.
2. A permit for dredging could be granted on the basis of a preliminary Dredge Management
Strategy provided with the application, including details such as amount and depth to be
dredged, type of equipment to be used, sediment testing results and dredge plume
modelling. Conditions could require a comprehensive and final Dredge Management
Strategy to be submitted before dredging actually starts, with further details such as exact
dates, sub-contractors and thresholds for ceasing works.

ii. A permit condition can provide a choice to the permission holder about how to achieve the
outcome, but still meet the certain and final test.
EXAMPLES
1. The condition could state The permission holder must construct the facility in
accordance with Australian Standard 1210 or Australian Standard 1240. It is
acceptable to provide the permission holder a choice or selection of standards that
meet GBRMPAs requirements.
2. The condition could be outcomes-based.

203. Authority conditions - A permit may also have an authority condition which allows the permit holder to
authorise another person to carry out any activity under their permit. This is not granted automatically
and should be considered on a case by case basis. The permission holder remains responsible for all
activities conducted under the permit.

204. To the greatest extent possible, GBRMPA conditions seek to harmonise with conditions set by other
regulatory agencies, such as Queensland agencies or the Commonwealth Department of the
Environment and Energy. This does not mean that GBMRPA conditions will be identical, but rather that
GBRMPA will avoid conflicts where possible and use similar language, timelines and indicators where
appropriate. This is achieved by engaging with other agencies throughout the assessment process.
This also ensures proper and orderly management of the Marine Park.
EXAMPLE
An EPBC approval requires A Marine Environmental Management Plan must be submitted by 30 June
2020, detailing mitigation measures for whales and dolphins. GBRMPA may adopt the term Marine
Environmental Management Plan and the due date, so that the permission holder can prepare one
plan which meets both agencies requirements. However, GBRMPA may wish to not merely receive the
plan but also approve it. GBRMPA may also be concerned about sea snakes. So, the final GBRMPA
condition may say: A Marine Environmental Management Plan must be submitted by 30 June 2020 for
approval by GBRMPA, detailing mitigation measures for whales, dolphins and sea snakes.

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Management Plans
Role of an Environmental Management Plan (EMP)

205. Regulation 88ZE(2)(b) establishes that GBRMPA may require a management plan as a condition of
permission.

206. An Environmental Management Plan (EMP) is a common tool used worldwide to describe how an
activity might impact on the values of an area and to set out clear commitments from the person
undertaking the activity on how those impacts will be avoided, minimised, offset and monitored.

207. Generally GBRMPA uses EMPs for more complex or higher risk activities and for activities associated
with carrying out works and operating a facility.

208. The EMP gives flexibility for permission holders to continuously improve and adopt best practice
methods and technology over time, without the need for GBRMPA to modify permit conditions. An EMP
therefore enables GBRMPA to impose outcomes-based conditions rather than highly prescriptive
conditions that may become outdated.

209. During the assessment, if something is identified as being critical to a decision on whether to grant the
permission, it should be included as a permit condition. The EMP should only contain further detail
related to how the permission holder will manage and monitor the permitted activity.
EXAMPLE
If the decision maker is concerned about the material proposed to construct a facility, a permit condition
could specify Timber treated with CCA is not to be used where it may come into contact with water.
This would be appropriate if the decision maker would otherwise refuse permission if CCA-treated
timber were to be used.

When an EMP is required

210. Table 3 lists permission types that generally require an EMP, based on assessment process. For those
permission types listed in the table:
a. A draft EMP should be submitted with the application (whether new or continuation).
i. New application Providing an EMP with the application gives GBRMPA a clear
understanding of the potential impacts (as identified by the applicant) and the measures
the applicant proposes to avoid, mitigate or offset these impacts. While impacts and
mitigation measures need to be explained for all types of permit applications, an EMP
provides a structured and consistent format for more complex proposals.
ii. Continuation application - If the permission type is shown in Table 3 as requiring an
EMP, an EMP is generally required with the continuation application, even if the previous
permit did not require an EMP. If an EMP was a condition of the previous permit, an
updated EMP is only required if indicated in Table 3 for that permission type.
b. If permission is granted, a final EMP should be submitted in accordance with permit conditions.
This should reflect any additional conditions placed on the permission by GBRMPA and how the
permission holder intends to comply with these conditions.

211. Table 4 lists permission types that usually do not require an EMP. This is regardless of assessment
process.

212. Table 3 and Table 4 provide general guidance. GBRMPA assessment officers should exercise
discretion and consider the specific circumstances of each application. An EMP may be required in
other situations, including:
a. As further information during the assessment (see section on Further information requests):
i. If, after reviewing the application, the GBRMPA assessment officers decides that the risks
are significant or complex enough to require an EMP. This most commonly occurs when
an application proposes to use new technology, materials and/or methods; or to conduct
activities in a location where such activities have not previously occurred.
ii. In such cases, the EMP would be expected to provide more detail about the potential
impacts and how the applicant plans to avoid, mitigate or offset identified potential impacts.
b. As a permit condition:
i. If permission is granted and the assessment identifies some residual risks which require
careful management. This most commonly occurs where non-compliance with a permit

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condition poses a serious environmental risk; or where the permission holder has a poor
history of compliance with permits.
ii. In such cases, the EMP requires the permission holder to detail how they will achieve
compliance with permit conditions. This allows GBRMPA to monitor and assess
compliance with interim steps or procedures to avoid any breach of permit conditions.

213. EMPs are also used to manage research activities under MOUs with accredited research institutions.
These EMPs are an MOU requirement rather than a permit requirement (refer to section on
Accreditations).

Table 3. Permission types that generally require an EMP


NA (Not applicable) indicates activities where the assessment process is likely to be at least Level 3.

Permission type Tailored Assessment PIP (Level 3),


(Level 2) PER (Level 4), EIS (Level 5)
Carrying out works - beach protection
YES YES
works
Carrying out works dredging YES YES
Carrying out works dumping of spoil NA YES

Carrying out works harbour works YES YES


Carrying out works - reclamation NA YES

Conducting an aquaculture operation YES YES


Level 3 NO
Conducting an educational program NO
Level 4 and 5 - YES
Fishing involving - taking in a harvest
fishery other than an accredited NO YES
harvest fishery

Fishing involving - conduct of a


YES YES
developmental fishery program

Operating a facility except for


YES YES
moorings
Level 3 NO
Research NO
Level 4 and 5 - YES
Any other purpose that is consistent Level 3 - depends on scale
depends on scale
with the objective for the zone Level 4 and 5 - YES

Table 4. Permission types that generally do not require an EMP.


Permission types that generally do not require an EMP.
Collecting
Conducting a tourist program

Conducting a vessel or aircraft charter operation


Navigating a managed vessel or aircraft

Operating a facility - mooring


Operating a fishing industry service vessel
Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity for more than 14 consecutive days

Operating a vessel or aircraft in 1 vicinity for more than 30 days in any period of 60 days
Program to take animals or plants that pose a threat to - human life or safety

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Permission types that generally do not require an EMP.
Program to take animals or plants that pose a threat to - marine ecosystems of the Marine Park

Program to take animals or plants that pose a threat to - the use or amenity of a part of the zone or an
adjacent area
Traditional use of marine resources

Content of an EMP

214. The EMP should be developed by applying the policies, principles and guidelines developed by
GBRMPA. Impacts should be identified by using the Risk assessment procedure and relevant
guidelines.

215. The EMP should clearly describe:


a. which values of the Marine Park may be impacted by the proposal
b. how these values may be impacted
c. risk rating for these impacts (initial risk)
d. proposed avoidance measures
e. proposed mitigation measures
f. proposed offsets
g. risk rating after avoidance, mitigation and offset measures are applied (residual risk)
h. proposed monitoring and reporting
i. at which times GBRMPA will be notified before specific works are conducted
j. at which times other agencies and/or the public will be notified before specific works are
conducted.

216. An EMP may include more specific management plans, such as:
a. Dredge Management Plan
b. Construction Management Plan
c. Historic Heritage Management Plan
d. Indigenous Heritage Management Plan
e. Pest Management Plan
f. Fuel Spill Response Management Plan
g. Decommissioning and Removal Plan (see section on Decommissioning and Removal Plan).

Assessing an EMP
217. GBRMPAs legislation does not mandate criteria for assessing an EMP, processes for making a
decision or requirements for notifying an applicant/permission holder of GBRMPAs decision. In
general:
a. Where the EMP is being assessed as part of a permit application:
i. Further information requests (see section Further Information Requests) are used to seek
more information or to advise the applicant of matters that have not been adequately
addressed.
ii. If permission is granted, the conditions of the permit may indicate additional areas
for improvement to be incorporated into a final EMP.
b. Where the EMP is being assessed after a permit is granted (that is, as a condition of the permit):
i. To assist in project planning and to avoid any contractual issues, permission holders
should allow at least 40 business days after submission of the final EMP until GBRMPA
decision. In our experience, this amount of time is needed to allow for review by GBRMPA
and for permission holders to respond to GBRMPAs comments.
ii. Permission holders can assist GBRMPA by ensuring that their EMP follows an agreed
template and addresses all required topics clearly and comprehensively.

218. GBRMPA evaluates the EMP for its effectiveness in identifying the potential impacts on the values of
the Marine Park and specifying appropriate mitigation measures. Some guiding questions include:
a. Does the EMP use GBRMPAs Risk assessment procedure to appropriately identify potential
impacts and assign a risk rating?
b. Are all values considered (not just biophysical values)?
c. Are direct, indirect, consequential, flow-on and cumulative impacts identified?
d. Have avoidance options been fully exhausted before considering mitigation measures?
e. Do proposed mitigation measures use best available technology and proven methods?

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f. Are the proposed mitigation measures likely to be successful in reducing risk to Low or Very
Low?
g. If residual impacts remain, have feasible offsets been proposed?
h. Are the proposed notifications to GBRMPA acceptable?
i. Does the EMP conform to relevant policies, guidelines and standards?

219. GBRMPA notifies the permission holder in writing when the EMP is approved. The approval will state
that only the sections of the EMP that are relevant to GBRMPAs jurisdiction are being approved.
GBRMPA does not accept any responsibility or liability for matters beyond the GBRMPAs jurisdiction
(for example, workplace health and safety).

220. GBRMPA is not obliged to approve an EMP. There is no option in the legislation for a permission holder
to request that GBRMPA reconsider a decision related to post-permit approvals, such as whether to
approve an EMP. However, other review rights or legal challenges may be available refer to the
website for details on review rights in the permission system.

When an EMP needs to be updated

221. An EMP may need to be updated at various times during the term of a permit, including:
a. when new methods and/or materials are proposed to be used more than once
b. if permit conditions change
c. for unconstructed facilities, when planning progresses to provide more detailed
construction specifications
d. once construction of a facility finishes, to include detailed maintenance requirements (such
as maintenance schedules and inspection schedules)
e. before decommissioning the facility, to update the Decommissioning and Removal Plan with the
latest or final details (see section on Decommissioning and Removal Plans), and/or
f. if an internal review or external audit has identified deficiencies in the EMP.

222. If a permission holder wishes to conduct works or use a material or method that is not detailed in the
approved EMP, there are two options:
a. Update the relevant sections of the EMP to include the proposed details and seek GBRMPA approval
recommended if the works/materials/methods are likely to be needed more than once.
b. Submit a Schedule of Works for approval recommended if the works/materials/methods are a
one-off and unlikely to be needed again in the future (see section on Schedule of Works).

223. For public transparency, the latest version of the approved EMP should be made publically available on
the permission holders website.

Public feedback sought


Auditing for EMP compliance
One option GBRMPA is considering is whether to require the permission holder to submit the results of an
independent audit of their EMP implementation every 5 years.
Note that GBRMPA can currently and will continue to be able to conduct an audit of EMP compliance at
any time. This option is about out-sourcing periodic audits to third parties, paid for by the permission
holder.

Schedule of Works
224. A Schedule of Works is basically a one-off EMP for a specific job or project. Like an EMP, a Schedule
of Works describes the proposed activity, methods and materials; and explains how impacts will be
avoided, mitigated and monitored.

225. The permit condition specifies the minimum timeframe for submitting a Schedule of Works, generally
expressed as the number of days before works are planned to start. This is typically at least 20
business days but may be up to 40 business days for more significant works.

226. The exact details of the works (such as start date based on weather conditions and vessel availability)
can be provided at short notice, provided the overall Schedule of Works (activities, methods and
materials) has been submitted in accordance with permit conditions.

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227. For permits with an EMP A Schedule of Works is required where the permission holder intends to
conduct a one-off, discrete project that involves works or methods or materials that have not already
been approved in the EMP. If the permission holder intends to use the new material or method
regularly, it is best to update the existing EMP, rather than to submit a Schedule of Works.
EXAMPLES
1. Repairing a facility damaged in a storm or accident.
2. Using a replacement method or material because the approved method/material is temporarily
unavailable.

228. For permits without an EMP Generally, these permits include a standard condition requiring that
GBRMPA approves a Schedule of Works before any works take place. Some permits may allow
specific works without a Schedule of Works.
EXAMPLES
1. A mooring permit includes the condition, Before any works take place, the permission holder must
submit for GBRMPA approval a Schedule of Works. Works cannot commence until GBRMPA has
notified the permission holder that the Schedule of Works has been approved. This means that
even minor works, such as replacing a worn bolt, require GBRMPAs approval.
2. A mooring permit includes the condition, The following minor works are allowed under this permit:
(a) replacement of worn tackle and tackling components and (b) replacement of worn buoys and
buoy components. All other works require prior GBRMPA approval of a Schedule of
Works. This means that the specified works can be conducted without seeking further approval
from GBRMPA.

229. Figure 1 illustrates the use of Schedules of Works in different situations.

Content of a Schedule of Works

230. The purpose of a Schedule of Works is to seek GBRMPAs approval of planned works, and should
specify the following:
a. details of the works to be undertaken including the methods, materials and planned timeframe
(acknowledging weather dependencies)
b. potential impacts to values of the Marine Park
c. proposed avoidance and mitigation measures to reduce risks to the Marine Park
d. a risk assessment, including the risk rating of these impacts taking into consideration
the proposed avoidance and mitigation measures
e. proposed monitoring and reporting, including when GBRMPA, other agencies and/or the public
will be informed of certain activities or situations.

Assessing a schedule of works

231. A Schedule of Works is assessed and decided in the same manner as an EMP. See section on
Management Plans.

Decommissioning and Removal Plan

232. A decommissioning and removal plan can be part of an EMP or can be a separate document. The latter
is true particularly for older or disused facilities.

233. When a facility has reached the end of its operational life, the permission holder is required to
decommission and remove the facility or decommission it and render it safe to remain in the Marine Park.
The decommissioning and removal plan may need to cover full or partial removal of the facility or
a plan to make it safe to remain in the Marine Park.

234. Consideration will need to be given to the feasibility of decommissioning and removal on a project by
project basis.

235. As a minimum the plan should include mechanisms for:


a. identifying the decommissioning and removal activities for each component of the facility,
including responsibilities, equipment needed, transport requirements (where relevant),
components to be completely removed and components which may be left in situ, disposal
of project components once removed
b. stakeholder engagement with interested parties and traditional owner groups as relevant
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c. managing the potential environmental impacts from the decommissioning process
including monitoring and reporting of performance indicators, corrective actions and site
supervision requirements
d. site clean-up activities and any environmental rehabilitation activities that may be relevant and
possible
e. projected costs of decommissioning and removal
f. rendering safe, including professional inspections of, any components that are to be left in situ.

236. The plan is assessed in much the same way as an EMP (see section on Management Plans). However,
where full removal is not proposed by the permission holder, the assessment also considers:
a. any ongoing liabilities associated with the facility (or a portion of the facility) remaining in
the Marine Park
b. any options for the facility owner to cover these liabilities so they do not transfer to the public.

237. In some cases, decommissioning and removal activities may not be covered under the existing permit.
A new permit may be required to allow this.

Notification to GBRMPA

238. Permit conditions and/or EMPs specify formal notifications to GBRMPA which usually relate to:
a. environmental harm, for example when a glass-bottom boat scrapes coral
b. a significant event, for example a cyclone, fire or vessel collision
c. works not covered by an EMP
d. completion of construction phase and notification of the intention to start operating a new facility
e. minor changes to vessels, aircraft or facilities.

239. Notifications are important for GBRMPA to:


a. decide whether to monitor or supervise the works/activities
b. alert field patrols that the works/activities are authorised
c. respond to any questions from the public about the works/activities.

240. For permits with an EMP -- The reporting section of the EMP should clearly specify when GBRMPA will
be notified of certain planned activities or unplanned incidents.

241. For permits without an EMP The permit conditions should specify in which situations GBRMPA
requires notification.

242. Figure 1 illustrates the use of notifications in different situations.


EMP should list when GBRMPA will be notified
before approved works take place

YES

Any works not approved in the EMP require


prior notification to GBRMPA and approval of
Is an EMP required with an updated EMP or a Schedule of Works for
'one-off' works
the application or as a
permit condition?

Any works require prior notification to


GBRMPA and approval of a Schedule of
NO Works, unless permit conditions allow some works without
notification or a Schedule of
Works
Figure 1. Quick reference for notifications and Schedules of Works

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Indemnities and insurances
243. Regulation 88ZE(2)(g) and 88ZE(2)(h) establish that GBRMPA may require the permission holder to
indemnify GBRMPA from any costs that may be incurred due to the permitted activity and/or to insure
against certain liabilities related to GBRMPAs measures to repair and mitigate damage caused by the
permitted activity.

244. The role of indemnities and insurances is to protect GBRMPA (and by extension, the Australian
taxpayer) from costs or other liabilities associated with a permission holders activities.

245. Typically, Routine Assessments (Level 1) and Tailored Assessments (Level 2) will contain permission
conditions requiring indemnity and insurance. Other assessments will contain a permission condition
requiring a deed (see section on Deeds) which is then used to give effect to indemnity and insurance
provisions.

Deeds

246. Regulation 88ZE(2)(d) establishes that GBRMPA may require the permission holder to enter into an
agreement with the Commonwealth providing undertakings appropriate to the attainment of the
objects of the Act.

247. GBRMPAs approach is to require a standard deed of agreement for:


a. All facilities except moorings
b. All permits granted under a Public Information Package (Level 3), Public Environment
Report (Level 4) or Environmental Impact Statement (Level 4) assessment process.

248. The deed legally binds the permission holder to certain obligations to protect the Marine Park values,
above and beyond what the permission conditions require. The deed exists separate and additional to
the permit, so that even if the permit expires, the deed may continue to be in force and to provide
protection to the Marine Park. The deed can be enforced through civil court action.

249. The standard deed serves four main purposes:


a. to commit the permission holder to repairing, rehabilitating, inspecting, or removing a facility;
and/or taking other preventive or corrective actions to protect the Marine Park
b. to indemnify GBRMPA from any adverse impacts resulting from the project, including any costs
incurred by GBRMPA to remedy those adverse impacts
c. to require the permission holder to take out and maintain appropriate level of insurance, including
for public liability, removal and clean up
d. in most cases, to provide financial security (such as a bond see section on Bonds).

Bonds

250. Regulation 88ZE(2)(e) establishes that GBRMPA may require the permission holder to provide a
security by way of a bond, guarantee or cash deposit.

251. A bond is a sum of money lodged by the permission holder with GBRMPA (under the terms of the
deed) in the form of cash, a bank guarantee or an undertaking. Table 5 explains what type of bond is
required for specific types of permission holders.

Table 5. Type of bond is required for specific types of permission holders.

Type of permission holder Type of bond required


Private company Bank guarantee (preferred) or cash
Private individual(s) Bank guarantee (preferred) or cash
Incorporated association (club, Bank guarantee (preferred) or cash
non-profit group)
Commonwealth government Undertaking may be accepted in lieu of a bank guarantee or cash
agency
State government agency Undertaking may be accepted in lieu of a bank guarantee or cash

Local government authority Undertaking may be accepted in lieu of a bank guarantee or cash

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Type of permission holder Type of bond required
Government owned Bank guarantee (preferred) or cash, unless government provides
corporation (GOC) or surety
government based enterprise
(GBE)
Joint permission holders If any of the permission holders would require a bank guarantee or
cash on their own, then the joint permission holders require a bank
guarantee or cash. For example, if a public-private partnership
results in permission being held jointly by a State agency and a
private company, then a bank guarantee or cash is required.

252. Bonds are a financial security which allows GBRMPA ready access to funds to prevent, minimise or
rehabilitate environmental harm caused by the activity. The bond minimises risk to the Australian
taxpayer so that public monies are not used to cover these costs, should they occur.

253. Bonds are required in addition to insurance, because bonds persist even if a company or individual
becomes insolvent or bankrupt. Bonds also provide funds that are more readily available to GBRMPA.
For example, after an incident it may take many months to resolve an insurance pay-out; whereas a
bond is immediately available for use by GBRMPA subject to the terms of the deed.

254. Bonds are generally required for:


a. installation and/or operation of a facility, except for moorings
b. carrying out works
c. any other purpose -- transport or transfer of bulk fuel or bulk hazardous materials
d. any situation where GBRMPA requires additional security such as in cases where the applicant
has a history of permission breaches or lacks evidence of financial resilience.

Determining a bond amount


255. The amount of the bond should be adequate to respond to an incident and/or remove a facility and
rehabilitate the site to pre-facility condition. Consideration should be given to the costs of accessing the site
(for example, remote or offshore sites will be more expensive) and the disposal of any materials.

256. Bond amounts are determined at the time a permission decision is made and using a combination of
approaches, including:
a. salvage quotes sourced by the applicant or GBRMPA
b. comparison bond amounts for other similar facilities/activities in recent years
c. standard or guideline amounts that may be developed by GBRMPA.

257. When determining a bond amount, GBRMPA calculates inflation due to projected Consumer Price
Index increase over the life of the permit. For longer term (more than 10 years) permits, the initial bond
shock may be reduced by incorporating periodic bond top-ups into the term of the deed, rather than
requiring the full amount up-front.

258. For new facilities/activities, the deed may defer the lodging of a bond until the facility/activity is prepared
to commence. This allows permission holders time to source financing and also may allow a more
precise bond amount to be determined based on final (rather than conceptual) plans.

Calling upon a bond


259. In general, cases in which a bond may be used by GBRMPA (subject to terms of the actual deed of
agreement) include:
a. following an incident, if the permission holders insurance company contests a claim, leading to a
delay in the permission holders ability to undertake inspections, repairs or rehabilitation works; or
if the permittee is otherwise financially unable to adequately respond to the incident
b. at any time during a facilitys life, if the permission holder is no longer able to maintain the facility
for any reason or if GBRMPA directs the permission holder to remove the facility and the
permission holder fails to do so
c. at any time, if GBRMPA directs the permission holder to undertake specific actions to prevent,
minimise or rehabilitate environmental harm and the permission holder does not comply
d. at the end of a facilitys life, if the permission holder is financially unable to decommission the
facility, remove the facility, or rehabilitate the area to GBRMPAs satisfaction

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e. at any time, to clean up and rehabilitate the area, if the operation results in pollution or
environmental harm and the permission holder fails to remedy that pollution or harm.

Review rights
260. In most cases, applicants have the opportunity to request an internal reconsideration of the need for a
deed as a permission condition, and by extension a review of the bond or the amount of the bond.

Permit terms

261. The Permission system policy establishes that GBRMPA seeks to grant the longest permit term that is
acceptable, based on risk. GBRMPA typically grants permits for no less than three (3) months and no
more than 20 years.

262. In the absence of risk factors, the following permit terms are commonly used:
a. Tourism and research (new and continuation) may be granted a permit for up to 10 years.
b. High Standard Tourism Operators (new and continuation) may be granted a permit for 20
years.
c. New fixed facilities may be granted a permit for the design life of the facility (up to 20 years),
but only if end-of-life requirements (rehabilitation, replacement, decommissioning or removal)
were considered as part of the assessment.
d. Continuation for fixed facilities may be granted a permit for 10 years. Alternatively, may be
granted a permit for the remaining design life (up to 20 years), but only if end-of-life requirements
(rehabilitation, replacement, decommissioning or removal) were considered as part of the
continuation assessment.
e. Carrying out works typically granted a permit to cover the proposed timeframes of the
works plus an extra 6-12 months as a contingency buffer. For ongoing, repetitive work
programs (like scheduled maintenance dredging), permit may be granted for up to 10 years.
f. Other purposes depends on the nature of the proposal, but generally may be granted a
permit for up to 10 years.

263. The following risk factors may result in a shorter permit term being issued. In all cases, the
precautionary principle applies -- that is, even a short term permit should not be granted if there is
uncertainty about the impacts and the consequences may be major or extreme.
a. Concerns about the applicants suitability Where there are some matters of concern, but
not so much as to lead to refusal of permission, a shorter term allows the permission holder to
demonstrate their ability to conduct the activity appropriately. One (1) to two (2) years is typically
used, depending on the type of activity.
b. New or untested methods, materials or equipment A shorter term is matched with
monitoring and reporting conditions; evaluation can then be made of the level of impact and
effectiveness of mitigation measures. Three (3) months to one (1) year is typically used,
depending on the type of activity. Up to two (2) years may be used if the permission holder needs
time to establish business operations or conduct additional design work, or if GBRMPA wants to
monitor the impacts over several seasons.

Modifying Permit Conditions

264. As explained in the Application guidelines, GBRMPAs legislation does not contemplate permission
holders approaching GBMRPA to seek changes to permit conditions. Such concerns should be
discussed with GBMRPA before a permit is issued or during the reconsideration period. However,
GBRMPA may modify the conditions of permit in certain circumstances (see the Application guidelines
for details).

265. When considering whether to change a permit condition, GBRMPAs primary consideration is whether
the change is required to better achieve the objects of the Act.

266. Some situations where GBRMPA might need to modify permit conditions include:
a. A Plan of Management is amended and as a result existing permits need to be updated with new
exclusion or access arrangements.
b. Monitoring demonstrates that unexpected impacts are occurring or a permit condition is not
proving effective.

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EXAMPLE
At the time of assessment, it was thought that the noise up to 50 decibels would not bother turtles
feeding in the area. However, monitoring shows that turtles leave the area or stop feeding
whenever the noise reaches 20 decibels. GBRMPA may need to introduce a new permit
condition to limit the activitys noise level to 20 decibels.
c. New information becomes available suggesting that a permitted method or material poses a high
or very high risk to the Marine Park.
EXAMPLE
A scientific committee reporting to the Australian government recommends banning a substance
that is commonly used in marine facilities. GBRMPA may need to add a new condition into
existing permits to prohibit use of the substance and/or to require remediation of existing
facilities.
d. A prescriptive condition no longer reflects best practice of the most effective technology
EXAMPLE
An older permit has a prescriptive condition requiring The permission holder must only use a
cutter suction dredge. Other dredging equipment is now available and well tested which has
lower environmental risk. GBRMPA may need to update the permit condition either to be
outcomes-based or to prescribe the new equipment instead.

267. When determining what precise change to make to the permit condition, GBRMPA considers:
a. the matters previously addressed under the section on Permit conditions and the section on
Assessment Considerations - Considerations F & G
b. the reasons given in the original assessment for setting those permit conditions.

268. Before changing permit conditions, GBRMPA discusses the proposed change with:
a. the permission holder:
i. Most commonly, GBRMPA seeks the permission holders consent to modify the permit (see
Regulation 88ZP(2)(a)). In such cases, GBRMPA contacts the permission holder and
discusses the proposed change. The permission holder often brings valuable, practical
ideas to the discussion. The permission holder is provided with the proposed changes
in writing and is asked to sign a consent form.
ii. In certain cases, GBRMPA can modify the permit without the consent of the permission
holder (see regulation 88ZP(2)(b)). In such cases, regulation 88ZP(3 and 4) explains the
process that must be followed.
b. other regulatory agencies to avoid conflicting conditions and maximise harmonisation of
regulatory requirements.

269. Note that other mechanisms are available to GBRMPA which may be more effective at managing risks
than modifying permit conditions. These include emergency special management areas, Part 5.4
management actions and emergency directions. Such mechanisms also capture those activities not
requiring a permit (such as recreational boating).
EXAMPLE
A severe cyclone strikes a reef, damaging most of the coral. GBRMPA determines that access to the
area should be limited for the next 3 months to improve coral recovery rates. Instead of modifying
multiple individual permits, GBRMPA may instead declare an Emergency Special Management Area.

Permission Transfer

270. Refer to Application guidelines for information on how to request a permission transfer.

271. Under Regulation 88ZH, the assessment must consider:


a. the need to ensure orderly and proper management of the Marine Park for guidance, see the
section on Assessment criteria Consideration K: Any other matters.
b. whether either party has money owing under the Act or Regulations for guidance, see
Assessment criteria Consideration B: Suitable person.
c. whether the transferee can comply with the permit conditions.
d. whether the transferee has the financial capacity to develop and manage the project.
For guidance, see Assessment criteria Consideration B: Suitable person.
e. the environmental history of the transferee. For guidance, see Assessment criteria
Consideration B: Suitable person.

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272. Additional information may be required to assess whether the transfer should be approved. For
example, in the case of facilities and moorings GBRMPA may request the transferor to provide current
compliance certificate(s) and design drawing(s) to ensure the facility has been maintained in good
working order and remains compliant with permit conditions. For guidance, see the section on Further
information requests.

273. If the permission under transfer application is also subject to approval under the EPBC Act, GBRMPA
cannot grant a transfer unless the Minister has consented to the transfer of the EPBC Act approval. See
Regulation 88ZJ and the EPBC deemed applications information sheet for more information.

274. If the permission being transferred is subject to a deed of agreement or a bond, then these will usually
also require transfer or update. A bond should not be returned to the transferor until the transferee has
lodged a new bond in replacement.

Change in Beneficial Ownership

275. Refer to Application guidelines for information on how to request a change in beneficial ownership.

276. GBRMPA may seek further information in relation to the change in beneficial ownership to determine
whether the permission can remain in effect or whether there are grounds for suspension, revocation or
modification.

277. Regulation 88ZO requires GBRMPA to consider whether, due to the change in ownership, the
permission should be suspended, revoked or modified. In making this decision, GBRMPA is required to
consider four (4) criteria:
a. If there are reasonable grounds to believe the changed company does not have the capacity
to satisfactorily develop or manage the conduct -- This is assessed the same as for a new
permission application (see section on Assessment Criteria Consideration B).
b. Whether the changed company (including its executive officers, parent company and parent
companys executive officers) owe any fee, fine or other amount under the Act or Regulations --
This is assessed the same as for a new permission application (see section on Assessment
Criteria Consideration B).
c. Whether there are reasonable grounds to believe the changed company cannot comply with
one or more conditions attached to the permission -- GBRMPA is developing guidance on how
to assess this.
d. Whether the changed company is a suitable person to hold the permission -- This is assessed
the same as for a new permit application (see section on Assessment Criteria
Consideration B).

278. If GBRMPA intends to suspend, revoke or modify as a result in a change in beneficial ownership,
Regulation 88ZN establishes a process to ensure natural justice.

Accreditations research and education

279. GBRMPA will assess each application for accreditation of a research or educational institution on a
case by case basis in accordance with the requirements under the Regulations.

Implementation
280. These draft guidelines have been prepared for the purpose of seeking public feedback.

281. After the consultation closes, GBMRPA will consider public submissions in finalising the guidelines.

282. The final guidelines are planned for public release in July 2017, to coincide with amendments to the
Regulations taking effect.

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Definitions
Accredited educational institution
Has the meaning given by regulation 7 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983.
Accredited harvest fishery
Has the meaning given by regulation 8, in relation to the list of fisheries in regulation 16, of the Great Barrier
Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983.
Accredited research institution
Has the meaning given by regulation 7 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983.
Applicant
A person, as defined by common law, who has made a valid application to undertake an activity in the Marine Park
Bond
A financial guarantee which primarily relates to recovery, restoration and/or removal of an activity/structure and is
designed to act as a financial incentive for a permit holder to meet required performance levels. Default would lead
to full or part payment by the permit holder of the bond to the governing authority.
Deed of agreement
A binding contract attached to a permit which details obligations of the permit holder, indemnities and any requirement
for insurance or a bond.
Deemed application
An activity which has been referred under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 and
which also requires written permission from GBRMPA.
Decision maker
A delegate; an officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority who has been provided with decision making
power under relevant delegations of the Chairman of the Authority.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Marine Park)
Commonwealth Great Barrier Reef Marine Park established by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth) as
amended from time to time.
GBRMPA
the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority as established by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (Cth) as
amended from time to time.
Great Barrier Reef Region
Has the meaning given by Section 3 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975.
Impact
the result or effect that happens when a Marine Park value is exposed to a hazard; may be positive or negative.
Limited educational program
Has the meaning given by the Dictionary in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003.
Low impact activities
Has the meaning given by the Dictionary in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003.
Marine park values
Aspects or attributes of an environment that make it of significance. Marine Park values include biophysical, social,
historic heritage, Indigenous heritage and other heritage.
Matters of national environmental significance (MNES)
Those matters defined in the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
Notification acknowledgment
Written acknowledgment given by GBRMPA confirming that a person or group has appropriately notified under Part
5.2 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003 of their intention to enter or use the Marine Park, and
that GBRMPA has no further directions with which they must comply.
Notification direction
Written direction given by GBRMPA relating to the requirements for entering or using a Zone without permission,
following notification, under Part 5.2 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003.
Part 5 notification
Notice given to GBRMPA, by a person, of the intention to use or enter the Marine Park without permission in
accordance with Part 5.2 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003.
Permission
Approval to undertake specified activity, works or install a facility, within a Zone or Location of the Marine Park, using a
vessel, aircraft, equipment, facility or device specified on the Permit.

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Permit
A document issued by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority which details the permission(s) granted by the
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to which Part 2A of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983
(Cth) applies. A permit may include one or more permissions.
Permit holder
Means a person, company or entity granted a permission.
Take
Has the meaning given by Section 3 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 and section 1.5 of the Great
Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003.
Traditional Use of Marine Resource Agreement (TUMRA)
Has the meaning given by the Dictionary in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2003.
Traditional Owner
Has the meaning given by regulation 33 of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983.

Supporting information
1. Hyperlinks to supporting information are provided throughout the document.

Further information
Director - Environmental Assessment and Protection

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority


2 - 68 Flinders Street
PO Box 1379
Townsville Qld 4810
Australia

Phone + 61 7 4750 0700


Fax + 61 7 4772 6093
Email: consultation@gbrmpa.gov.au

www.gbrmpa.gov.au

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Appendix A List of all related Legislation, Standards and Policy

GBRMPA legislation and policy


1. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 (the Act)
2. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Regulations 1983 (the Regulations)
3. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Zoning Plan 2004 (the Zoning Plan)
4. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (Aquaculture) Regulations 2000
5. Policy on Moorings in the Great Barrier Reef
6. Cruise Shipping Policy for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (under review)
7. Managing Tourism Permissions to Operate in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (including Allocation,
Latency and Tenure)
8. Policy on Managing Bareboat Operations in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
9. Marine Tourism Contingency Plan for the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
10. Managing Scientific Research in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
11. Managing Activities that Include the Direct Take of a Protected Species from the Great Barrier Reef
Marine Park
12. Operations Policy on Whale and Dolphin Conservation in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
13. Dredging and Spoil Disposal Policy
14. Dredging coral reef habitats policy
15. Sewage Discharges from Marine Outfalls to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
16. Guidelines on Coral Transplantation
17. Guidelines for the Emergency Disposal of Foreign Fishing Vessels
18. Guidelines for the Management of Artificial Reefs in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
19. Guidelines for Managing Visitation to Seabird Breeding Islands
20. Management of Commercial Jet Ski Operations Around Magnetic Island
21. Indigenous Participation in Tourism and its Management
22. Permits Information Bulletin No Structure Sub-Zones
23. Guidelines for the Use of Hydrodynamic Numerical Modelling for Dredging Projects in the Great
Barrier Reef Marine Park
24. Great Barrier Reef Intergovernmental Agreement
25. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Vulnerability Assessments

Other Commonwealth legislation and policy


1. Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999
2. Significant Impact Guidelines 1.1 Matters of National Environmental Significance
3. Species Threats and Profiles Database and EPBC Act Recovery Plans as relevant
4. Environment Protection (Sea Dumping) Act 1981
5. Sea Installations Act 1987
6. Historic Shipwrecks Act 1976
7. Native Title Act 1993
8. Protection of the Sea (Prevention of Pollution from Ships) Act 1983

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Queensland Legislation
1. Marine Parks Act 2004
2. Marine Parks Regulations 2006
3. Marine Parks (Great Barrier Reef Coast) Zoning Plan 2004
4. Transport Operations (Marine Safety) Act 1994
5. Fisheries Act 1994
6. Sustainable Planning Act 2009
7. Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 (Qld)
8. Environmental Protection Act 1994 (Qld)
9. Native Title (Queensland) Act 1993 (Qld)
10. Nature Conservation Act 1992 (Qld)

International Conventions
1. Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, 1972 (the World
Heritage Convention)
2. Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992 (the Biodiversity Convention)
3. Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, 1973 (CITES)
4. Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals, 1979 (the Bonn Convention)
5. Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitats, 1971 (the
Ramsar Convention)
6. International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 (the MARPOL Convention)
7. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, 1982 (the Law of the Sea Convention or UNCLOS)
8. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 1992 (the FCCC)

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