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 on this page 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.
Contact the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) to discuss:
- 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.
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.
- 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 Force and SafeWork NSW)
- 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.
- get advice on suitable locations and organising events in state forests
- discuss the permit application procedure
- find your nearest office.
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.
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 6 months in advance of your proposed event. Depending on the scale of the event, more than 12 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:
- duration of event and timing of activities (including setting up and packing up the event)
- emergency management plan
- erection of signage
- expected crowd numbers and crowd management
- first aid
- food and water
- location or site plan
- risk assessment
- security guards
- structures to be erected (such as stages and amusement rides)
- toilet facilities
- traffic management plan, road closures, parking and public transport
- waste management.
Contact the NSW Food Authority to discuss preparation and service of food and beverages at your event.
You may also wish to download the Guidelines for Food Businesses at Temporary Events.
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.
Visit the Office of Environment and Heritage website for information about running commercial activities in national parks.
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.
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.
Contact the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia to discuss:
- 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.
Contact Roads and Waterways 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.
Download a Guide to traffic and transport management for special events (PDF 3.18MB).
Contact SafeWork NSW to discuss:
- use of fireworks
- incident reports
- work, health and safety responsibilities and legislation related to staff, volunteers and contractors.
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.
- 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.