Permit system

What is the permit system?

The Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998 regulates land use activities within the World Heritage Area. The Plan designates management zones and specifies which activities in the Area are prohibited, allowed under permit, or allowed without a permit. It sets out procedures for permit applications and their assessment. The Plan also includes principles and criteria for deciding permit applications. See legislation for more details.

The Authority has also developed guidelines under section 62 of the Plan to help assess permit applications and inform permit applicants. These guidelines may sometimes be used as part of the conditions for issuing a permit.

Building and maintenance of roads, powerlines, towers, railways, cableways and visitor sites within the World Heritage Area requires a permit. The Authority has ongoing maintenance permits with all infrastructure agencies, including state and local government agencies who look after community services infrastructure. See management partnerships for details.


What activities require a permit?

All activities which disturb vegetation, soil, water or scenic values in the World Heritage Area will probably require a permit application.


How to apply for a permit

To determine if a proposal will require a permit please:

  • Contact the Wet Tropics Management Authority and talk over the proposal with a permits issues officer
  • Download a permit application form here 
  • Refer to information sheet number 2 for more details about the permit application process


Minor and inconsequential activities

Some activities may be considered minor and inconsequential and, therefore, not require a permit. Please ask the Authority whether your proposed activity may be considered minor and inconsequential. Minor and inconsequential activities are those which:

  • only involve minor removal or pruning of vegetation; and
  • do not impact on the integrity of the World Heritage Area; and
  • only involve minor earthworks (insignificant potential for erosion); and
  • may be considered as having a minor and inconsequential impact on the Area

Examples of minor and inconsequential activities are:

  • clearing vegetation in the immediate vicinity of a residence
  • maintaining a structure, garden or small clearing around a residence or an access to a residence
  • maintaining a walking track, where the maintenance works only involve minor clearing or pruning of vegetation and/or only minor earth works, and no expansion of the 'footprint' of the track or the extent of the existing cleared area
  • bushwalking or camping in the World Heritage Area
  • driving a vehicle off a road to avoid an obstacle on the road

For more detailed information on minor and inconsequential activities, download Information Sheet No. 3.

Please contact the Authority to find out if a proposed activity is minor and inconsequential.


Certain activities by landholders and native title holders

A permit may be issued to a landholder or native title holder to carry out certain domestic activities on their land. These domestic activities may include:

  • building a residence
  • clearing or building access to a residence on the land
  • establishing a house garden or orchard
  • extracting water for domestic use


Tables of permits issued and under assessment

The Authority is responsible for the assessment of permit applications made in accordance with the provisions of the Wet Tropics Management Plan 1998. You can view permits issued in the past year and those currently being assessed by downloading the files below.

Information sheets

These information sheets give answers for the common questions about the Wet Tropics Management Plan and the permit system.


Number Information sheet Download pdf file


General information


Permit application and assessment

Minor and inconsequential activities


DNRM lease, licence and permit holders


Freehold land in the World Heritage Area





Flying over the World Heritage Area


Commercial tour operations


Mining, quarrying and fossicking


Seed collecting


Undesirable animals and plants


Information for local government


Development and maintenance of infrastructure


Plain English interpretation of the Plan


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