Macquarie Island legislation

Elephant seals (Mirounga leonina) (Southern) on Macquarie Island. © John van den Hoff.

Under the Tasmanian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1970, permits are required for entry to Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and any proposed scientific, management or recreational activity.

Subantarctic Macquarie Island is part of the state of Tasmania. The island, along with the adjacent coastal waters to the 3 nautical mile limit, is listed as a Nature Reserve under the Tasmanian Nature Conservation Act 2002. The entire Nature Reserve, extended seaward to include the 12 nautical mile territorial sea limit, are listed as a World Heritage Area, in recognition of the island's unique geological features. The eastern boundary of the reserve is also contiguous with the Commonwealth's Macquarie Island Marine Park, dedicated in 1999 as part of the National Representative System of Marine Protected Areas.

The Tasmanian National Parks and Reserves Management Act 2002 enforces the Macquarie Island Nature Reserve and World Heritage Area Management Plan. These Acts and the Management Plan are administered by the Parks and Wildlife Service in Tasmania within the Department of Primary Industries, Water and Environment. As a World Heritage Area, Macquarie Island is subject to the relevant obligations of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Fauna listed under state and national threatened species legislation are also present on the island. Fauna projects will be assessed according to state priorities and protocols.

Entry to a reserve

The entire reserve is designated a Restricted Area under the Management Plan. Authorisation, in the form of an access permit, is required to enter any part of it.

Activities within a reserve

Permits are required to conduct research and to collect or possess specimens of fauna, flora, geological specimens and cultural heritage artefacts.

Research permits are in addition to the access permit. Research must comply with the Nature Conservation Act 2002 and be consistent with the scientific objectives of the Management Plan. All applications for scientific permits for research will be assessed by the Macquarie Island Reseach Assessment Group. The application assessment process is outlined in the Management Plan.

Any research to be conducted on living resources in the marine environment also requires a permit under the Living Marine Resources Management Act 1995, approved by the Minister or his delegate.

Cooperative research is encouraged and facilitated to minimise the collection of materials from the reserve. New collections require researchers to demonstrate that previous research and collections cannot be used. The Tasmanian State Government maintains a database of collections and previous research to assist researchers.

Additional information, including quarantine requirements

Guidelines for Antarctic Research Applications.


Macquarie Island permit enquiries should be directed to the Parks and Wildlife Service. Contact details are available at