4-Step Environmental Approval Process
Tourism and non-government expeditions to the Antarctic Treaty Area (south of 60ºS) by Australian citizens or organisations must be granted environmental authorisation before intended departure and must comply with the Antarctic Treaty (Environment Protection) Act 1980.
Antarctic nations are responsible for authorising activities by their own citizens, organisations and tourism operators. For non-Australian activities, please contact the relevant National Competent Authority.
Australian tourism operators and non-government organisations must follow the following four steps, as part of their environmental approval process.
For more information, please refer to:
1. Advance Notice
Due: 1 September (every year of intended expeditions)
An advance notification must be submitted to the AAD before any intended travel to the Antarctic Treaty Area (guidance available in key documents and forms).
2. Environmental Impact Assessment
Due: At least 3 months before intended departure for Antarctica
Only one EIA application required from each operator per season, unless significant differences between activities each year. EIA must be submitted to the AAD (application form available in key documents and forms).
The EIA must include comprehensive details about all voyages, locations and proposed activities, which will form the basis of the environmental authorisation (more information available in EIA application form).
The complexity of each environmental assessment and approval process will depend on the potential environmental impacts of proposed activities.
Any proposed Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) activities by crew or passengers must be detailed in EIA application and must comply with:
- AAD environmental policies
- Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) requirements
- International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) requirements
For non-government activities, the EIA application form includes a section about safety and contingency planning, which is non-mandatory but considered best practice, in accordance with Resolution 4 (2004). The AAD published Guidelines for Safety and Contingency Planning to assist Non-Government Operators (available in key documents and forms).
Note: EIA applications may be submitted at the same time as advance notification.
3. Post Visit Report
Due: After completion of activities (no later than 30 days after expiry date of authorisation)
Post visit report must be submitted to the AAD and IAATO as soon as possible after the visit occurs (template available from ATS website).
4. Report of Activities
Due: After completion of activities (every Antarctic season)
The Report of Activities must be submitted to the AAD, as required in authorisation conditions (template available in key documents and forms).
Failure to submit report by the due date will be considered non-compliance and may impact future applications and authorisation conditions.
Please also refer to the International Association for Antarctic Tour Operators (IAATO) and the IAATO Visitor Guidelines for guidance on safety, logistics and other important considerations for trips to Antarctica.
Alternatively, contact the Antarctic and Environmental Regulation Section (email@example.com).