The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions issues two types of commercial operations licences depending on the nature of the operation.
'T' Class Licence
Most commercial operations fall into this category. Examples of T class licences include safari tours, guided walks and general snorkel/dive charters.
In these circumstances, environmental and visitor management objectives can be achieved simply through appropriate licence conditions which are in the Commercial Operator Handbooks.
T class licences for periods of two months and one, three, five, seven and 10 years are available. Different levels of accreditation are required depending on the validity period of the licence. Two-month short-term licences are granted to operators that conduct seasonal tours only or for interstate operators who do irregular tours to the state.
Licences in this category usually take between seven to ten working days to process, providing all correct and valid documentation is supplied with the application form, and that the proposed operations are consistent with the parks and activities contained in the Commercial Operator Handbook.
In some cases, the department may choose to conduct a higher level of assessment, which may increase the time needed for a licence to be issued.
'E' Class Licence
E class licences are required when there are environmental, management, safety, or access reasons why licence numbers must be limited, for example when demand for licences exceeds the number that can be sustainably managed. They are usually allocated via a publicly advertised call for an Expression of Interest (EOI) which is a competitive process.
These licences can be granted for periods of up to ten years and may be renewed for up to a further five. After this time, the restricted opportunities are then offered through another competitive application process, usually an EOI.