Commercial filming and photography in national parks, conservation parks, recreation areas and state forests

If you are a commercial filmmaker or photographer wanting to operate in a national park, conservation park, recreation area or state forest, you must apply for a commercial activity permit (CAP) if the activity involves 11 or more people or the use of structures.

Filming and photography activities involving up to 10 people without prescribed structures do not require a CAP.

Filming and photography notification

Everyone must submit an online filming and photography notification at least 14 days before entering a Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) managed area – regardless of permit requirements. The notification is used to inform local rangers in case of an emergency (e.g. fire), and the First Nations People, to ensure culturally sensitive areas are not being filmed.

Submit a notification

Prescribed structures

Prescribed structures are equipment or construction used for filming or photography including, but not limited to a:

  • tower
  • platform
  • generator
  • vehicle
  • shelter and building
  • unmanned aerial vehicle (e.g. drone) over 2kg.

Prescribed structures are not:

  • camera or camera accessories
  • tripod used to support a camera
  • portable bird hide large enough to shelter 1 person
  • unmanned aerial vehicle AV 2kg or under.

Read the prescribed structures definition in schedule 8 of the Nature Conservation (Protected Areas Management) Regulation 2017 and the schedule dictionary of the Recreation Areas Management Act 2006.

State plantation forests

If you only want to conduct your activity in a state plantation forest, you must apply to HQPlantations for a permit.

If you want to operate in a state plantation forest and a national park, conservation park, state forest or recreation area, you only need to apply to QPWS.

Before you apply

Book a free pre-lodgement meeting

You can request a free pre-lodgement meeting to:

  • discuss and develop your proposal
  • learn about assessment time frames.

Public liability insurance

Public liability insurance – the government standard $20 million is required for filming and photography permit holders.

Check for parks alerts and closures

Check park alerts for any closures before you apply for a CAP and before you visit a national park, conservation park, recreation area or state forest.

Applying for a CAP

You need to pay fees and lodge your application through Online Services.

Register for Online Services or log in to Online Services (if already registered).

Fees for filming and photography for 11 or more people without prescribed structures (effective 1 July 2023)

Application fee $406.60
Renewal or extension of permit fee $406.60
Permit fee (per day for activities carried out under the permit) $203.80

Fees for filming and photography – with prescribed structures (effective 1 July 2023)

Fee title Number of people involved
 1–56–2526–5051 or more
Application fee $203.80 $1,008.00 $2,031.00 $4,076.00
Renewal or extension of permit fee $203.80 $1,008.00 $2,031.00 $4,076.00
Permit fee (per day for activities carried out under the permit) $203.80 $1,008.00 $2,031.00 $4,076.00

Refunds policy

A prescribed application fee is payable for a CAP. A single application fee will apply to activities using multiple tenures such as protected areas, state forests and recreation areas. If an application is refused, permit fees paid other than the application fee, may be refunded by the department.

Consider requesting a free pre-lodgement meeting to save time and money.

Return of operations

For permits authorising filming with terms longer than 3 months, you must submit a return of operations form within 20 business days of the end of each prescribed period, including a 'Nil' return if no activity occurred during the reporting period.

The quarterly cycles end on the last day of March, June, September and December each year.

If you request an invoice, this will appear in your Online Services account, under 'invoice'. When payments are received, a copy of your receipt will also appear under 'invoice'.

You can submit your return of operations through your Online Services account. Register for Online Services if you don't yet have an account.

Camping fees

If your commercial activity involves overnight camping, you will need to book and pay through the Queensland National Parks Booking Service.

Learn more about camping bookings.

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