TOUR buses using the Daintree River Ferry crossing will be eligible for a 50% rebate on their tickets for the rest of the calendar year.

Douglas Shire Council endorsed the ferry fee rebate starting on Thursday, October 1, as a COVID-19 relief measure for business owners, and rolled out further measures for businesses operating on the Daintree Coast.

Business owners operating north of the Daintree River will be able to access a refund for a portion of their special refuse charge, which covers maintenance and operation costs of the Cow Bay transfer station.

Council estimates the relief measures could keep almost $50,000 in the pockets of business owners.

Douglas Shire Mayor Michael Kerr said many businesses remain shut and are on the brink of permanent closure.

“Covid-19 has had a profound impact on businesses in the Douglas Shire, none more so than those operating north of the Daintree River,” he said.

“While tourists, other than those already here, were unable to move around due to State and Federal imposed restrictions, the Daintree Coast was particularly hit hard due its distance from local town centres.

“We are also enticing tour companies to bring more people into our beautiful region by decreasing the cost of crossing the Daintree River.”

To receive the tour bus rebate, business owners are required to keep invoices and present them to Council staff.

There are 36 impacted businesses north of the Daintree River that pay a Special Refuse Charge.

The charge varies across properties and is based on improvements to the property, not on the amount of rubbish deposited.

Depending on the specific property, refunds will range from $26.40 to $633.71.

The priority lane is also open until October 5 this year.