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Permits at Uluru-Kata Tjuta

Uluru-Kata Tjuta 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, also established under the EPBC Act, 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 traditional Aboriginal owners of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park to:

  • maximise the safety of park visitors
  • 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 (eg. 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 purposes for which the park is declared; and
    • 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
  • all the permit holder’s tour guides have successfully completed the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Knowledge for Tour Guides course (details below).

In making a decision 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.

Permit conditions

The standard conditions for a permit to conduct commercial land-based tours in the park are included in this application package. In particular:

  • All commercial operators working in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park have $20million public liability insurance (see www.environment.gov.au/parks/permits/public-liability.html for more information).
  • All members of a tour operator’s staff or clients who translate information from an accredited guide who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents must meet requirements of the Migration Act.

It is important that tour operators and their staff understand and comply with all permit conditions. Breaching permit conditions may lead to the permit being suspended or cancelled.

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 (on page 1) to conduct standard land based tourism activities.

One-year permits do not require tour operators to hold tourism accreditation. To apply for a three-year permit, tour operators need to be accredited under Tourism Accreditation Australia Limited (TAAL) programs. It is a permit condition to provide evidence of accreditation to the Permits Officer every year.

Please note: All permits will expire on 31 March of the applicable year (that is, one-year permits issued in 2017 will expire 31 March 2018 and three-year permits will expire 31 March 2020).

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:

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

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, information on programs licensed by TAAL can be found on Tourism NT’s website: www.tourismnt.com.au/industry-resources/tourism-accreditation.aspx. 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 are able to access Tourism NT’s market and promotion services.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta Knowledge for Tour Guides Course

All tour guides working in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park must complete the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Knowledge for tour guides program.

This program provides entry-level training on the things a tour guide should know when working in the 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 for all persons interpreting Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and its values while they are in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This applies whether your company visits Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park only once, or more frequently. Permittees who allow unaccredited guides to lead tours in Uluru Kata Tjuta 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/ulurukata-training. Additional information can be found at www.environment.gov.au/parks/guide-training/faq.html.

To enrol in the program, contact:

Tourism and Hospitality
Alice Springs Campus
Charles Darwin University NT 0871
Phone: 08 8959 5252
Fax: 08 8959 5240
Enquiries: uluru-online@cdu.edu.au

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta Board of Management decided in December 2004 that Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Knowledge for Tour Guides would become a compulsory permit requirement for all commercial tour operators. Since this time, we’ve been educating people about the program and encouraging tour operators to get on board. The course was released in August 2009 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 Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park continues to increase.

Apply well in advance

Please allow a minimum of 28 days for the permit application to be processed. If your activity involves the need for an environmental impact assessment or consultation with traditional owners, a time frame will be provided by the park upon receiving your application. If your tour commences in less than 28 days’ time, please contact the Permits Officer on 08 8956 1100 (if calling from within Australia) or 61 8 8956 1100 (if calling from overseas), or email uluru.permits@environment.gov.au.

Further information

Permits Officer
Phone: 08 8956 1100
Email:  uluru.permits@environment.gov.au
Website: www.parksaustralia.gov.au/uluru/index.html

EPBC Act and Regulations can be viewed at www.environment.gov.au/epbc/index.html or purchased from CANPRINT, telephone 1300 656 863.

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