Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

19 Jun, 2017

Australia opens Great Barrier Reef cruise ship policy for public consultation

Canberra, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, 16/06/2017 – Public feedback is invited on a draft policy for cruise ship operations in the Great Barrier Reef.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s draft policy brings together all current management arrangements for cruise ships operating across the Reef and promotes ecologically-sustainable activities.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Tourism and Stewardship Director Fred Nucifora welcomed feedback on the draft policy. “A review of this policy is timely to recognise the changing needs of industry and the community,” he said.

“The draft encourages the cruise ship industry to contribute to protecting the Great Barrier Reef and recognise its outstanding universal value when conducting operations in this World Heritage Area.”

Key amendments include:

  • Adopting a joint management approach with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service that applies to both the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park
  • Strengthening and encouraging best practice including stewardship opportunities with Traditional Owners.Clarifying the application of the Environmental Management Charge (EMC) to cruise ship operations conducting extended tours Providing policy statements for existing management arrangements in legislation, plans of management and permit practice, and proposing some improvements which would involve future legislative amendments such as:  
    • Proposing the definition of a ‘cruise ship’ be ‘70 metres or over’ for permits, plans of management and legislation Extending the plans of management requirement for bookings to designated anchorage to anchorages outside of the planning areas (currently only permit practice)
    • Including domestic and international obligations for waste management and ship activities in the Great Barrier Reef.

The revisions were made with input from the tourism industry and government agencies and describe best practice management and clarifies cruise ship access to the Great Barrier Reef, waste discharge, compliance, environmental management charge and permitting arrangements.

The Marine Park Authority will consult further with the tourism industry, cruise ship permittees and Traditional Owners while the draft policy is open for public feedback.

To comment on the draft policy visit www.gbrmpa.gov.au. Consultation is open until 5.00pm Friday 14 July 2017.