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Marine navigation levy

How we provide coastal marine aids for the navigation network.

We provide coastal marine aids to the navigation network as a service to you in the commercial shipping industry. The cost of operating and maintaining this system is recovered with the marine navigation levy.

The marine navigation levy (MNL)

The levy is a charge against commercial shipping used to recover the cost of operating and maintaining marine aids to navigation systems. We apply a ‘user pays’ principle to recovering these costs.

Who pays the MNL?

Commercial shipping, where the vessel is longer than 24 metres, is required to pay the MNL. Commercial shipping is where a vessel earns revenue by transporting cargo or paying passengers.  The amount to pay is calculated according to the net tonnage of the vessel.


Fishing vessels and pleasure craft are exempt from paying the levy. In practice, no Commonwealth aids are provided specifically for fishing and recreational boating users and their aid to navigation requirements are considered to be a state or territory responsibility.

The following operations are not considered commercial operations and do not pay the levy:

  • Vessels which enter ports to load fuel, provisions and water to complete a voyage, undertake crew changes or for repairs only.
  • Vessels that do not move under their own power, such as oil rigs or platforms being towed to and from their work position.
  • Fishing vessels or vessels solely engaged in attending a fishing vessel (mother vessel).
  • Vessels belonging to religious or missionary societies.

Harbour tugs engaged solely in harbour towage are exempt from paying the levy. But, if the tug earns revenue from performing a tow outside the harbour then you must pay the levy. The levy applies to tows of any vessel outside the harbour, including vessels which do not move under their own power.

More exemptions from paying the levy are listed in the levy collection regulations.

When to pay the levy

You must pay the levy each quarter if you are a coastal trading vessel. Overseas trading vessels must pay upon arrival at an Australian port.

You will receive a receipt when you pay the levy and this receipt will be valid for three months.

Levy charges

The amount you pay will be calculated according to the net tonnage of your vessel. To help calculate your levy you can use the levy payment portal or the levy ready reckoner PDF372.04 KB.

Find out more about the levy

You can find more information about the levy in the levy collection regulations.

Last updated: 22 September 2020