Go to top of page

Permits at Kakadu

Kakadu National Park is a Commonwealth reserve established under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) to manage the environment of the region for the benefit of all people, present and future. The Director of National Parks uses a permit system to help regulate some activities. Permits may be issued subject to conditions that help to identify, protect, conserve and manage biodiversity, heritage and other values of national parks. This is a system through which industry and the public can share in the responsibilities of managing and protecting the park. Permits enable park managers and the Aboriginal traditional owners of Kakadu National Park to:

  • maximise park visitor safety
  • encourage responsible behaviour in the park
  • ensure that commercial and other park users are accountable for their actions
  • separate potentially conflicting activities
  • manage impacts on high-use and sensitive areas
  • monitor activities that could degrade biodiversity, heritage and other park values
  • collect data for planning and management.

Individuals and other commercial entities (e.g. companies and associations) wishing to conduct commercial activities in the park, including commercial tours, need to have a permit issued by the Director. The Director may issue a permit only if:

  • the activity is consistent with:
    • the management plan for the park, or (if there is no management plan) the purposed for which the park is declared
    • any lease of indigenous people’s land in the park
  • the activity is not likely to:
    • endanger public safety
    • unduly damage the park
    • unduly interfere with the preservation or conservation of biodiversity or heritage in the park
    • unduly interfere with the protection of other features or facilities in the park
    • interfere with the privacy of a cultural event held in the reserve by the traditional owners of Aboriginal land in the park
    • interfere with the continuing cultural use of the park by the traditional owners of Aboriginal land in the park
    • interfere with the privacy of other persons in the park
  • the activity benefits the public or persons using the park
  • if all the permit holder’s tour guides who will lead tours in the park have successfully completed the Kakadu Knowledge for Tour Guides course.

In making a decision about whether to issue a permit, the Director may take into account whether a person to whom the permit is to be issued has, in the last 10 years, been convicted of or is subjected to proceedings for an environmental offence.

Duration of Permit

Commercial land based tour operators can apply for permits that have a duration of either one year or three years. These permits are suitable for tour operators who meet the requirements to conduct standard land-based tourism activities.

One-year permits do not require tour operators, to hold tourism accreditation, however accreditation may be required in the future. Accreditation is needed for three-year permits. Tour operators accredited under Tourism Accreditation Australia Limited (TAAL) programs will be able to apply for three-year standard permits. A copy of the renewed accreditation certificate must be provided to the Permit Officer annually.

TAAL Accreditation

Accreditation aims to assist every tourism business to improve the way it operates. It provides consumers and the industry with an assurance that a tourism operator is committed to quality business practices, sustainability and professionalism in all aspects of the enterprise.

The following accreditation programs currently meet the Director of National Parks requirements under TAAL:

  • Ecotourism EcoCertification Program (Ecotourism Australia)
  • Advanced EcoCertification Program (Ecotourism Australia)
  • Nature Tourism EcoCertification Program (Ecotourism Australia)
  • Respecting Our Culture (Ecotourism Australia)
  • ATAP (Australian Tourism Accreditation Program)

For assistance with and further information on tourism accreditation please refer to the Australian Tourism Accreditation Program www.tourismaccreditation.org.au/ or Ecotourism Australia www.ecotourism.org.au/.

For operators in the Northern Territory (NT), information on programs licensed by TAAL, can be found on Tourism NT’s website. Tourism NT’s Business Development team can help you identify the most suitable accreditation program for your business and help you achieve and maintain your tourism accreditation. In addition, accredited businesses will be able to access Tourism NT’s marketing and promotion services.

The Kakadu Knowledge for Tour Guides Course

It is compulsory for all tour guides and drivers interpreting Kakadu National Park to have successfully completed the Kakadu Knowledge for Tour Guides course. This program provides entry-level training covering all the things a tour guide should know when working in Kakadu National Park – including key areas of visitor safety, understanding the park’s natural and cultural values and history, minimising environmental impact and legal compliance.

Completion of this course is mandatory of all persons interpreting Kakadu National Park and its values while they are in Kakadu National Park. This applies whether you visit Kakadu National park only once, or more frequently. Permittees who allow unaccredited guides to lead tours in Kakadu National Park will be in breach of their permit conditions.

Tour guides can study and complete the assessments whenever and wherever they want to. The flexible nature of this program lets the individual decide what is most appropriate for them. This is self-paced learning and all the tools needed to complete the course are supplied at the time of enrolment.

The program is offered through Charles Darwin University. The following webpage provides detailed information on how to enrol and also addresses frequently asked questions about the program www.cdu.edu.au/cdu-vet/kakaduknowledge-training. Additional information can be found at: www.environment.gov.au/national-parks/tour-guidetraining-faq.

To enrol in the program, contact:

Tourism, Hospitality, Sport and Recreation (Top End)
Charles Darwin University NT 0871
Phone: 08 8946 7954
Email: kakadu-online@cdu.edu.au

Since the course became compulsory, we’ve been educating people about the program and encouraging tour operators to get on board. The course was released in April 2008 and the tourism industry has embraced the program, with many operators now incorporating the course into their staff training and induction programs.

We are continuing to work with Charles Darwin University to track which guides have completed the course and which are yet to do so. Only tour operators with accredited guides may be issued permits. This acknowledges the many operators who have supported their guides to complete the training, and ensures the quality of tours in Kakadu National Park continues to increase.

Apply well in advance

Please allow a minimum of 14 days for application processing. If your first tour commences in less than 14 days time, please contact the Permits Officer on 08 8938 1140 (if calling from within Australia) or 61 8 8938 1140 (if calling from overseas), or email kakadu.permits@environment.gov.au.

Further information

The Permits Officer for Kakadu National Park can help with any queries regarding this permit – please call 08 8938 1140 or email kakadu.permits@environment.gov.au.

Our website is at www.parksaustralia.gov.au/kakadu/. The EPBC Act and Regulations can be viewed at www.environment.gov.au/epbc/ or purchased from CANPRINT by telephoning 1300 656 863.

Apply Register