Parks Australia

Wednesday 6 May 2020

To support the tourism industry through COVID-19 and to support businesses to rebuild their operations, the Australian Government is waiving and reimbursing the cost of permits and licence fees for commercial tourism businesses operating in Commonwealth National Parks for the period of 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Commercial tourism businesses will still be required to hold a valid licence or permit to resume operations when the national parks re-open, however these fees will be waived through to 31 March 2021.

Parks Australia will contact all eligible operators with information on receiving their reimbursement.

To read the Australian Government announcement please visit https://minister.awe.gov.au/ley/media-releases/supporting-tourism-businesses-in-commonwealth-national-parks.

Frequently asked questions

Prior to 1 April 2020 I applied for a permit to operate commercial tours in the park. Will I receive a refund for permit fees charged?

You will receive a pro-rata reimbursement and/or waiver of permit fees paid for the period of 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021, depending on the permit period you have paid for.

We will make contact with individual permit holders by email to notify you of the amount you will receive and to advise you of any information we need from you.

I have paid for a multi-year permit – is my business eligible for a refund for the 2019/20 season?

Multi-year permits will be refunded on a pro-rata basis for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021, depending on the permit period you have paid for.

We will make contact with individual permit holders by email to notify you of the amount you will receive and to advise you of any information we need from you.

How do I apply for a refund?

You don’t need to apply. We will send an email to all currently permitted operators outlining the process.

I hold a licence to have a safari camp/conduct fishing tours/bushwalking tours/access restricted access areas/conduct an exclusive activity – will I need to pay licence fees this year?

License fees will be reimbursed and/or waived for the period 1 January 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Do I need a permit to operate in the park once it re-opens?

Yes, you will still need to be accredited to run your business through a commercial activity licence, Commercial Tour Operator (CTO) permit including proof of insurance.

Please contact the Kakadu permits officer or the Uluru-Kata Tjuta permits officer if you are unsure what documents you will need to forward before you can operate.

Will I need to register my clients on the trade portal (even though they won’t need to purchase park passes)?

Yes, visitors are still required to have a park pass, it is just the cost that is being waived. This helps us to keep accurate visitor data including numbers. The portal now contains a new passenger manifest option when placing bookings, which has simplified this process. Please make sure your guides carry a manifest containing all passengers’ names, as per permit conditions, as compliance staff will still be checking these.

Will I need to pay camping fees for my clients?

Yes, Kakadu National Park camping fees remain in place.

Do I still need to have Knowledge for Tour Guides accreditation? Will this course be for free?

Tour guides will still need to be accredited through the Knowledge for Tour Guides program. This course is administered by Charles Darwin University and the existing fees remain in place.

How long will it take for me to receive my refund?

We want to get your reimbursement to you as quickly as possible and we are working to get funds back to operators as soon as we can. Once your refund has been calculated and authorised it will take a further few days to be transferred.

How will I receive my refund?

Refunds will be transferred electronically to a nominated bank account, in line with Government requirements. We will confirm these details when we get in touch with you.

For any other questions please contact the Kakadu permits officer or the Uluru-Kata Tjuta permits officer.