Public events continue to be affected by COVID-19. Please stay informed of current NSW Public Health Orders and COVID Safety Plan requirements at nsw.gov.au/covid-19.
With the easing of restrictions under the Reopening NSW Roadmap event organisers should take care not to assume availability of dates or government resources for events. Regular planning processes, agency consultations and approvals from landholders and authorities are still required. This includes landholder endorsement of event and COVID safety plans.
Who should you talk to?
You may need to consult other organisations, government departments, and regulatory and statutory authorities about your event.
Some will require formal approvals for events, while others can provide advice or assistance to help ensure your event is well-managed and safe.
Who you contact will depend on the size and nature of your event.
The list below is a guide only. There may be other approvals you must obtain before running your event. It is your responsibility to ensure you have received all the approvals necessary to stage your event.
The most important organisation you can talk to, in most instances, is the local council. Find the council for a specific address on the Office of Local Government website.
Each council has their own way of dealing with special events and will require different types of information from event organisers. It is recommended that you approach the council at least six months in advance of your proposed event. Depending on the scale of the event, more than twelve months could be required to address all issues. Some councils may require you to lodge a formal development or event application. Speak with the local council to find out their process for event approvals.
Have the following information at hand, where relevant to your event, for your early discussions with council:
- food and water
- security guards
- risk assessment
- emergency management plan
- traffic management plan, road closures, parking and public transport
- erection of signage
- expected crowd numbers and crowd management
- location or site plan
- structures to be erected (such as stages and amusement rides)
- waste management
- toilet facilities
- first aid
- duration of event and timing of activities (including setting up and packing up the event).
Australasian Performing Right Association and Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society
- the use of live or recorded music at your event
- how to obtain a licence to use music at your event.
APRA is a non-profit copyright collecting society that collects and distributes fees for the public performance and communication to the public of music. The fees are distributed to APRA’s members, who are songwriters, composers and music publishers.
Bureau of Meteorology
- discuss weather forecasts for your event
- organise briefings or request any other information ahead of an event.
The Centre for Volunteering (home of Volunteering NSW)
Contact the Centre for Volunteering to discuss:
- recruitment and management of volunteers
- insurance for volunteers
- volunteer and organisation rights and responsibilities (including SafeWork NSW, work health and safety and legal issues).
Civil Aviation Safety Authority
Contact the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to discuss:
- use of drones, including licensing and certification procedures
- applications to hold a laser or high-intensity light show.
Disability Council of NSW
For further information about accessible and inclusive events, refer to the Accessible Events Toolkit.
Fire and Rescue NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service
- discuss the use of fire and other potential hazards including barbeques, bonfires, gas bottles, candles
- discuss the use of fireworks (you also need to contact the NSW Police ForceSafeWork NSW and)
- fire regulations if your event will be held indoors
- discuss your emergency response plan (you may also need to consult)
- find your local brigade or office.
Forestry Corporation of NSW
- get advice on suitable locations and organising events in state forests
- discuss the permit application procedure
- find your nearest office.
Transdev Sydney Ferries
- find ferry timetables and services for Sydney Harbour and the Parramatta River
- enquire about booking charter services
- discuss events that will have an impact on ferry routes and wharves.
Landowners and venue managers
Contact landowners and venue managers to discuss:
- special rules and regulations applying to the site/venue where you are holding the event
- insurance required
- activities allowed on the site or venue
- approved suppliers
- emergency response plan
- crowd management issues.
Liquor and Gaming NSW
Contact Liquor and Gaming NSW to discuss the sale of alcohol. A liquor licence is required for all events held in NSW where liquor is to be sold. You will also need to contact NSW Police Force and your local council regarding this matter.
Translating and Interpreter Service - 131 450
Visit the Translating and Interpreter Service website or call 131 450 to obtain advice on accessing language interpreters.
Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives
Contact local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives or Elders to discuss:
- the Welcome to Country — this ceremony should, where possible, be undertaken by local Elders
- locally recognised Aboriginal community spokespersons or cultural service providers
- other key protocols related to Aboriginal Peoples.
For further information about Aboriginal protocol, refer to the Division of Local Government’s 2007
Contact NSW Ambulance to discuss:
- having an ambulance at your event
- provision of care for sick and injured
- emergency response plan (also may also need to consult the NSW Police Force and Fire and Rescue NSW or NSW Rural Fire Service)
- access for emergency vehicles.
NSW Environment Protection Agency
NSW Fair Trading
Contact NSW Fair Trading to discuss:
- fundraising activities at your event
- how to legally undertake charitable fundraising activities.
NSW Food Authority
You may also wish to download the Guidelines for Food Businesses at Temporary Events.
Contact NSW Health to discuss:
- smoke-free areas
- public health messages you should promote to attendees at your event including sun protection and extreme heat safety
- your proposed plans for the sale of food.
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Contact the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to discuss the use of venues and sites within NSW national parks, nature reserves, regional parks, state conversation areas and other reserves.
NSW Police Force
Contact NSW Police Force to find your Local Area Command and discuss:
- crowd management
- traffic management (you may also need to consult Roads and Maritime Services and your local council)
- use of fireworks (you will also need to consult SafeWork NSW and your local council)
- service of alcohol (you will also need to consult Liquor and Gaming NSW and your local council)
- emergency response plan (you may also need to consult NSW Ambulance, Fire and Rescue NSW or the NSW Rural Fire Service, and)
- planned risk mitigation measures
- visitor permits for people from interstate carrying out security activities at declared special events
NSW Taxi Council
Contact the NSW Taxi Council to discuss:
- requesting the presence of taxis to take people to and from your event
- arranging special event taxi ranks and obtaining advice on their set-up
- the impacts of road closures.
Phonographic Performance Company of Australia
- use of sound recordings (including pre-recorded music or performances by DJs or other performers who use sound recordings) at your event
- how to obtain a licence to use pre-recorded music, including film or music videos, at your event.
Roads and Maritime Services
Contact Roads and Maritime Services to discuss:
- road usage for non-traffic activities
- any disruption to road users (you may also need to consult the NSW Police Force and your local council)
- application for a Road Occupancy Licence to secure event space where road closures or road access to a venue is required
- communicating to event participants and non-event going public
- any other traffic issues
- aquatic events held on any waterways in NSW, including Sydney Harbour
- application for an aquatic licence if the event restricts normal public use of waterways.
Contact SafeWork NSW to discuss:
- use of fireworks
- incident reports
- work, health and safety responsibilities and legislation related to staff, volunteers and contractors.
State Transit Authority of NSW
Contact the State Transit Authority of NSW to discuss:
- road closures that will have an impact on bus routes
- how to transport large numbers of people to and from your large event by bus in Sydney or Newcastle, or by ferry in Newcastle.
Contact Sydney Trains to discuss:
- how to transport large numbers of people by rail to and from your large event, should you be anticipating a large event
- any planned trackwork that could affect how people travel to your event.