If you are an Australian citizen, organisation or expeditioner that wishes to conduct scientific, management or recreational and other non-government activities in the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic you will need to be aware of and comply with all national and state legislative requirements.

The information contained within this section is provided as general guidance only on the environmental protection requirements under Australian law. You will still need to ensure that you are aware of all other legal requirements and that these have been satisfied before you depart for the Antarctic or sub-Antarctic. It should be noted that some research activities could require up to five different permits in order to satisfy all environmental requirements.

If you need to submit an environmental approval application form, please note that there have been some changes made to this form in 2020. These changes include:

  • Information about the EIA process, Australian legislative requirements and privacy is now located in the associated appendices at the back of the form.
  • Collection of more detailed information about proponents and people filling in forms on behalf of proponents.
  • A new question to collect vessel information for private, non-government organisations and tourist operators.
  • Collection of information relating to applications submitted to other Commonwealth, state/territory or other national authorities.
  • Collection of manufacturer’s specifications relating to the use of unmanned aircrafts or drones.

For tourist and non-government operators, the application form includes a new section (Section E) which relates to safety and contingency planning for tourist and non-government operators. The collection of this information is in accordance with Resolution 4 (2004) and while providing the information to the Australian Antarctic Division is non-mandatory, it is considered best practice. The AAD has also published Guidelines for Safety and Contingency Planning to assist Non-Government Operators, which are available below.

Please ensure you read all the relevant information prior to submitting the application form.

Download your forms

Current versions of Australian legislation and legislative instruments are available from the Federal Register of Legislation.

Applications should be submitted a minimum of two months prior to departure for Antarctica (Note: for large and complex proposals that require a higher level of assessment, a minimum of five months is required).

Requests for variation should be submitted a minimum of one month prior to the change in activity.