Freedom Fast Cats have ferried over 3 million people to Great Keppel Island.
Freedom Fast Cats have ferried over 3 million people to Great Keppel Island.

QLD marine tourism operators allowed capacity

The relaxing of COVID restrictions to 100 per cent capacity on marine tourism is a welcome Christmas present for many Central Queensland operators in time for their peak business period.

Reduced capacities and a lack of passengers have left many CQ businesses thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the changes would mean more visitors could enjoy the Great Barrier Reef.

“Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy and I have been working closely with the marine tourism operators who wanted greater flexibility with COVID-19 requirements,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

ISLAND FUN: Curtis Ferry regularly visits the Capricorn Bunker Group of islands.
ISLAND FUN: Curtis Ferry regularly visits the Capricorn Bunker Group of islands.

“The updated COVID Safe plan approved by the Chief Health Officer means marine tourism operators will be able accommodate more passengers on-board to improve business viability while meeting health obligations.”

Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy said the amendments would help tourism operators.

“The marine tourism industry has been hit hard this year by COVID-19 with the few operators who have been able to run tours to the reef struggling to break-even,” Mr Healy said.

“This review of requirements will make a difference to operators while also keeping passengers COVID safe.”

Mr Healy said the relaxations would provide certainty for operators ahead of the summer tourist season on the Great Barrier Reef.

“We’re continuing to work on COVID Safe arrangements for overnight reef operators so more visitors can explore the Far North’s famous Great Barrier Reef for longer and stay COVID safe,” Mr Healy said.

“The hard work of Queenslanders on COVID-19 has put us in a position to give the industry the hand up it needs to rebuild better and support jobs.”

The Freedom Fast Cats boat dropping passengers off at Great Keppel Island.
The Freedom Fast Cats boat dropping passengers off at Great Keppel Island.

The approved changes include:

Private point-to-point ferry services under three hours travel time –

Can operate 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating

Passengers on day trips must return in their allocated seat

Mask wearing encouraged

Outside of household and social groups, one person per two seats

Round trip day vessels –

Can operate with a capacity of one person per two square metres based on accessible indoor and protected outdoor spaces instead of previous one person per four metres, or

Can use up to 100 per cent of indoor seated capacity provided passengers are in ticketed and allocated seating

Passengers must maintain 1.5 metres physical distancing in food and drink kiosk areas

Operators must also manage the outdoor space to maintain one person per two square metres in these areas.

For more information and to read the Queensland Tourism and Accommodation Industry safety plan.

More stories:

Hillbilly Goats set to rock Agnes festival

How Australia’s Christmas could have been virus-free

LIFE THREATENING: What you need to know about fire jelly



LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Dry version of Snowy 2 won’t work

Premium Content LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Dry version of Snowy 2 won’t work

Harry Bruce’s cartoon of the day and readers have their say on current events.

Trip to get jumper back lands big sister in trouble

Premium Content Trip to get jumper back lands big sister in trouble

A young mother who went along for a ride when her younger sister picked up a jumper...

Altum goes back to drawing board on GKI

Premium Content Altum goes back to drawing board on GKI

Altum Property Group on Thursday revealed it had revised its budget.