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Parks Eco Pass application information

Before applying for a Parks Eco Pass licence, please note the following important information about commercial recreation and tour operations.

1. Operations manual

An operations manual, including an emergency response plan for each proposed activity, must be completed and attached to this application. See an outline of the information required in the Operations Manual.

2. Insurance

To obtain a licence to conduct commercial recreation and/or tour activities, you must effect and maintain a public liability insurance policy (PLI) with an Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) approved insurance company for a minimum of ten million dollars ($10,000,000).

The policy must be in the name of the business entity or individual and the following must be identified as interested parties: The Minister for the Environment, the Chief Executive of the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Crown in right of New South Wales. The PLI must contain a description of the activities being undertaken by the applicant and a geographical description of the location(s).

See the Certificate of currency checklist for more details.

3. Aboriginal cultural heritage

A commercial recreation or tour operator may only provide general interpretation of Aboriginal cultural heritage. General interpretation includes:

  • information in the public domain
  • the traditional name of a place and its meaning; and/or
  • the traditional names(s) of the local Aboriginal communities.

Detailed interpretation of country, or sites or otherwise can only be provided by members of the relevant Aboriginal community, employed or engaged by the operator. This requirement may be varied if the Aboriginal community has authorised the person to deliver the interpretation, in which case the interpretation material and content must be approved by the Aboriginal community.

4. Accreditation

Tourism and outdoor recreation industries recognise the need for improved standards and levels of professionalism. Accreditation is considered to be a major mechanism for improving the performance, professionalism and standards of commercial recreation and tour operators. To encourage higher operating standards, obtaining a longer licence is conditional on the licence holder obtaining and maintaining an endorsed accreditation.

Relevant accreditation is a requirement for obtaining a three year licence and a Premium 10 year licence. Accreditation must be relevant to the activities that you are wishing to undertake.

Only accreditation programs that meet NPWS requirements will be accepted.

The following programs currently meet the NPWS accreditation requirements:

Three year licence

Premium 10 year licence

5. Activity conditions and site-specific conditions

In addition to the general conditions in your licence, you must also comply with any activity and site specific conditions relevant to the activities carried out under the licence. Activity conditions dictate safe practices and minimum standards for organisations conducting outdoor recreation activities, such as group size and client-to-guide ratios.

Where a NSW AAS is not available, your licence will list any relevant activity conditions.

Site-specific conditions are derived from the needs of the park, where the activity is to be conducted. Site-specific conditions may include permitted routes, camping sites, access arrangements, frequency and intensity of use, booking and notification requirements and/or emergency procedures. They may also be used to manage conflicts with other users, site-specific environmental protection/minimal impact and cultural heritage conditions. Your licence will contain any site-specific conditions that are applicable to your licence.

6. Environmental sustainability

NPWS's role is to ensure the ongoing conservation of the natural and cultural values of national parks and reserves in NSW. This includes working with operators to minimise visitor impacts, especially at popular sites.

Commercial recreation and tour operators should ensure the sustainable and culturally appropriate use of sites by, wherever possible and practicable, informing and educating clients and carrying out their operations in a sustainable manner. In particular, they should endeavour to:

  • explain to customers how negative impacts on sites can be avoided
  • build an understanding of natural and cultural heritage conservation management
  • provide good interpretation and education
  • honour historic places
  • promote respect for Aboriginal culture and sites
  • observe rules to protect conservation values and public safety
  • encourage active involvement in conservation activities
  • adopt minimal impact practices for all activities
  • report damage, illegal activities and potential problems to the NPWS.
Page last updated: 25 May 2015