Go to top of page

Research in a Commonwealth reserve

Pulu Keeling National Park is a Commonwealth reserve under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). Internationally recognised for its unique ecosystems and wildlife, the reserve attracts researchers from around the world. You will need a permit or approval to carry out scientific research in the park.

Purpose of the online application form

The online application form can be used to apply for a permit to:

  • conduct scientific research in these Commonwealth reserves
  • take native biological material/specimens from a Commonwealth area
  • conduct scientific research on a protected species on Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Island territories outside of a Commonwealth reserve.

Do not use this form for research in:

  • state/territory reserves or waters. Contact the relevant state or territory government agency regarding their application requirements.

Apply well in advance

You will need to submit your application at least eight weeks before your research is proposed to start. If you have an existing research permit and need more than the permitted time to complete the research, you will need to reapply for another permit well before your permit expires.

Please allow at least three months for applications to be assessed if your research involves listed EPBC species or protected species. More information on listed EPBC species can be found on the Species Profile and Threats Database. The groups listed as protected species under Schedule 12 can be found at http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013C00713/Html/Text#_Toc365628074.

Conditions and reporting requirements

Please ensure you and any research participants understand and will be able to meet your obligations under the permit. These are set out in the conditions, and in Part 3 and Part 5 of the online application. We will contact you if further permit conditions need to be added following assessment of your application. Failure to abide by these conditions may lead to your permit being suspended or cancelled, or your approval being revoked, and may affect future applications.

To conduct research in a Commonwealth reserve, you will also need to meet certain reporting requirements. Details of these requirements are outlined in Part 3 and Part 5 of the online application.

Application assessment

The assessment process for permit applications takes into account the following factors:

  • the reserve’s research and monitoring priorities. The research priorities for each reserve can be found in the Pulu-Keeling National Park Management Plan
  • the usefulness of the research to reserve management
  • whether the activity threatens the conservation status of a species or ecological community
  • whether the activity can reasonably be done outside the reserve
  • the level of impact on the reserve’s natural and cultural sites and values
  • the scientific merit of the activity
  • the level of logistical, community and funding support required from the reserve
  • ecological sustainability (where applicable)
    Removal of native animals or plants from the wild must be ecologically sustainable (not threaten the species viability in the wild, or threaten rare, restricted or localised populations). Research involving the removal of native species will involve closer scrutiny than where collection of specimens is not required.
  • institutional ethics approval (where applicable)

Animal Ethics Committee approval is required for any research involving death or any form of handling of vertebrate animals. Human and Behavioural Research Ethics Committee clearance is required for any research which may impact upon people. University based researchers will normally seek clearance through their University’s ethical approval procedures. Independent researchers must arrange to obtain comparable ethics approval.

Successful applicants are issued with either a permit or an approval, depending on the management arrangement for the reserve. Unless noted otherwise, the information on permits in this application is the same for approvals.

Work health and safety

The Director of National Parks ('the Director') is committed to and has an obligation under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 to provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace for all of its employees and visitors. It is a permit condition that you take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of your team when conducting research, and ensure that your activities do not adversely affect the health and safety of others. In the application you must specify measures you will take to minimise risks to safety, for example having protective equipment or an emergency plan. You must also attach a copy of your institutions’ safety procedures/risk assessment plan (if any) or complete and return the Risk assessment for remote fieldwork template provided by the reserve (if applicable).

Further information

If you would like further information, you can find out more by:

Apply Register