Research Activity Access Agreements (replaces Research Permits)

Research Activity Access Agreements are an important way to allow research on public land while protecting important natural and heritage values.

We are continuing to review our application process to make it easier to undertake research in Victoria’s parks and waterways, with a focus on continuous improvement.

Recent improvements include:

  • Tailored application questions depending on type of research activity (previously all applications included 68 standard questions - now reduced to relevant questions only).
  • Individuals can apply for a Research Activity Access Agreement (no longer limited to organisations). Both individuals and organisations need to comply with Parks Victoria public liability insurance requirement.
  • Better clarity for registered/affiliated volunteers who may not need to complete an application.
  • Better functionality when completing the application so users can navigate through the process without having to submit all information in the first instance, to proceed to next section.
  • Removal of questions in the application that were deemed not critical.
  • OH&S documentation does not need to be provided with application. For organisations, a tick-box to say they have this documentation is sufficient.
  • Field Work Activity Plans do not need to be submitted with initial application. This can be done during the assessment process with consultation from the Customer Support team
  • Maximum term extended to 5 years (previously 3 years)

Parks Victoria now issues Research Activity Access Agreements in all parks and waterways it manages (previously issued by DELWP). The new Research Activity Access Agreement replaces ’Research permits’ issued under the National Parks Act and is managed through the ParkConnect platform.

Activities requiring approval under the Wildlife Act or Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act require a separate permit from DELWP. Complete the Pre-Application Checklist to find out which permit you may need, and from which government agency, depending on the type of research you wish to undertake.

All existing research permits remain valid. Pending permit applications or requests for amendments will continue to be processed and applicants will be contacted if additional information is required. 

We will continue to update ParkConnect and the Parks Victoria website as more information is available.

Why do I need an Access Agreement for Research Activities?

A Research Activity Access Agreement exempts researchers from certain park rules that would otherwise prevent them from conducting the research in a park or waterway. It also ensures that risks to park values, safety and park management operations that may arise from  research activities are managed.

Do I need a Research Activity Access Agreement?

Some types of research activities on land managed by Parks Victoria are classed as low-risk and low-impact to the natural environment. In these cases, a Research Activity Access Agreement may not be required. Some examples include:

  • activities that are observation only
  • activities that could be undertaken by a regular park visitor
  • no equipment left within a park; including markers, stakes, fences, nets, traps, cameras
  • no removal of anything from a park (IE. same as a regular park visitor)
  • no disturbance of soil (IE. soil, rock, sand, sediment disturbance or digging; including but not limited to pitfall traps, remote camera trap poles, sampling, soil probes, temperature loggers, etc.)
  • no access to parks or areas of parks that are usually closed to park visitors.

Do volunteers and third parties need an Access Agreement?

Volunteer groups registered or affiliated with Parks Victoria do not require an Access Agreement if the activity is included in the Volunteer Activity Plan. However, you still need to obtain the relevant permit(s) from DELWP if required. We encourage you to contact the Parks Victoria Customer Support team to clarify – see contact details at bottom of this page

Third parties working in partnership or on behalf of Parks Victoria (Eg. contractors) do not require an Access Agreement. However, you still need to obtain the relevant permit(s) from DELWP if required. We encourage you to contact the Parks Victoria Customer Support team to clarify – see contact details at bottom of this page.

Who applies for the Access Agreement?

The ‘Primary Researcher’ or ‘Additional Researcher’ can apply for a Research Activity Access Agreement. This may be on behalf of an organisation or as an individual. The application does not have to list all the researchers involved, and approved Access Agreements do not need to be amended if the researchers involved changes at a later stage.

What other permits might I need?

Knowing which permit(s) you require can be complex as it depends on the type of research activity you plan to do and where. To help you understand what research permits you will need, together with DELWP, we’ve developed this Pre-Application Checklist.

We recommend you complete it before you start your application to ensure you apply for the right permit, to the right agency and with the right supporting documentation.

Research activities requiring approval under the Wildlife Act or Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act now require a separate permit from DELWP. To apply for these permits, go to Research Permits (DELWP).

A summary of the various permits you may need to undertake research in Victoria’s natural environment and the agency responsible to issue them can be found on the Access Agreements page on the Parks Victoria website.

How do I apply?

When applying for an Access Agreement, you will need to provide the following information:

  • Name of the park(s) you wish to undertake research
  • Summary of research and methodology
  • Certificate of currency/public liability insurance ($20 million): required for individuals and organisations

The relevant land manager of public land in Victoria can be found on MapShare using the instructions in the PDF below.

MapShare Vic user manual (PDF)

Whilst it depends on the complexity of the research activity, the average Access Agreement application should take researchers approx. 20-30mins to complete once you have all the required information to-hand.

Next steps

  • Complete the Pre-Application Checklist (3-5mins) to determine which permit you may need. A copy of the results can be emailed to you for your records
  • Use MapShare Vic to see who the land manager is of public land in Victoria (with MapShare how-to-use instructions)
  • Log into ParkConnect (or register for the first time)
  • Apply for a Research Activity Access Agreement in ParkConnect:
    • Main menu: ‘Research’; click-on ‘Apply for Access Agreement’
  • Apply for other permits (if required) based on results of the Pre-Application Checklist

 For more information, see the ‘What additional permits may I need?’ on the Parks Victoria website.

What happens after I submit my application?

Once submitted, you will receive a confirmation email that we have received your application. The lead-time to assess Access Agreement applications is approx. 4 weeks. Our Customer Support team will contact you if they require further information. Upon successful assessment, you will be sent a Research Activity Access Agreement to be signed (via Docusign) with relevant conditions.

Do all Access Agreement applications get assessed by Traditional Owner groups?

If the research activity involves techniques that are deemed sensitive to impacting cultural values in the landscape, the application is assessed by Parks Victoria’s Managing Country Together team and/or the Regional Operations team. They will engage directly with the Traditional Owner group(s) and provide feedback, confirmation or questions. Examples of potentially sensitive techniques include research that involves extracting or interfering with animals, plants or soil disturbance. 

NB/. All Access Agreement applications that involve research activities in parks where Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation has a RAP status (as per ACHRIS Map) will take an additional 28 days to complete the review process. We encourage researchers to keep this in mind when selecting which parks to undertake research in, if there are time sensitivities involved.

What happens after the Access Agreement is approved?

After the Access Agreement is approved, a researcher needs to log into ParkConnect and enter their Planned Activities. A Planned Activity covers each time a researcher will enter a park to conduct the proposed research activities including location, time, duration, etc. Planned Activities need to be submitted in ParkConnect at least 7 days in advance. The Area Chief Ranger will check other park management activities or events happening in the park before providing approval via ParkConnect.

If an Access Agreement has qualified for a 7-day notification and the researcher has not received a response (approved/declined) via ParkConnect within 7 days after a Planned Activity has been lodged, they will receive an email to confirm the activity is approved.

For all other Access Agreements, planned activities must be approved by the Area Chief Ranger before researchers may access parks and reserves to undertake research.

What do you want to do?

Apply for a new Research Activity Access Agreement Apply for Access Agreement
Review an application in progress In progress
Manage Access Agreements or Planned Activities
Download, open, or access an access agreement from the documents tab My Access Agreements
Share your research findings My Research Findings

For more information, call the Parks Victoria Customer Support Team on 13 1963 (or +613 6145 0211 international calls) or email