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Public events in our parks and reserves

Community and culture

COVID-19 Update for Public Gatherings

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council continues to work under the guidance of the Australian Government and NSW Department of Health, however, the onus is on event organizers to make sure you comply with all relevant legislation and manage the risks associated with the current COVID-19 situation.

For more information or regular updates visit - https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19

Council maintains a wide range of parks and reserves available for hire to be used for private and public events. 

A public event includes any event that is open to the general public or where an invitation or the purchase of tickets is required to participate, from an information stall to a complex event with marquees, road closures and/or any event with over 500 attendees.

Approvals that may be required from Council

Local Government Act 1993 requires that approval be obtained for the following activities on Council reserves: 

  • Engage in trade or business
  • Direct or procure a theatrical musical or other entertainment for the public
  • Construct a temporary enclosure for the purpose of entertainment
  • For fee or reward, play a musical instrument or sing
  • Set up, operate or use a loudspeaker or sound amplifying device
  • Deliver a public address or hold a religious service or public meeting
  • Install or operate an amusement device
  • Use a standing vehicle or any other article for the purpose of selling any article in a public place

Event Enquiries

You can enquire on the availability of a location by using Council's online event enquiry system. The system will show you which reserves are booked or available in a calendar schedule. To access the system, you will need to be using Internet explorer (8-10), Google Chrome or Firefox.

Note: The system does not support mobile devices.

  1. Submit an initial venue enquiry online.  Note: Submitting a request or application does not constitute approval to proceed.
  2. Council will contact you via email and send through an Application to Stage an Event form. 
  3. Listed  below are useful guidelines, rules & regulations to assist you through the process of planning for your event.

Application forms required

For all applicants:  Application to Stage an Event

Council requires event organisers to complete a formal application.  Applications will be assessed and where appropriate, organisers will be issued with formal approval to hold the event. The approval will include conditions of consent with which the event organisers must comply with at all times.  It is standard practice that the application fee be paid on lodgement of the application in order for it to be processed.  A copy of a current public liability insurance policy covering your event with a minimum cover of $20M is also required at the time of lodgement (see public liability insurance requirements below).

Town Green

Town Green is a heavily used and important area of public space in Port Macquarie.  It forms part of the Port Macquarie Entertainment Precinct, within the central business district and is often the focal point for many major and community events. Council has adopted a policy for the use of this space. 

Westport Park

Westport Park is a popular location in Port Macquarie for small & large commercial and community events.  Permitted uses include Carnivals, Shows, Circuses, Promotions, Ironman & Markets.

What you need to know to host a public event


Public liability insurance cover in respect to the proposed activity is required for all events held in our parks or reserves. A certificate of currency is to be obtained from your insurer stating the level of cover, period of cover and exclusion clauses. Your cover is to list Port Macquarie - Hastings Council as an interested party and have a minimum cover of $20 million. The certificate of currency is to be submitted at least seven days prior to the event. The event will not be permitted to proceed if a certificate of currency is not received by us.

When an event is held on Council managed land, the event organiser (group, company or person) needs to accept responsibility for the event. To indemnify Council means that the event organiser is acknowledging that Council will not be held liable for the event organiser's activities. In the unfortunate event that something does go wrong due to the organiser's negligence, then the organiser will be liable. 

Public liability insurance covers the person or organisation named on the insurance policy only. If you outsource market stall holders, entertainers, amusement operators, or any person not part of your organisation to take part in holding your event, unless your insurer agrees to cover them as part of your cover and this is noted on the policy, the onus is on the organiser to ensure that each person/group taking part holds their own public liability insurance. The purpose of public liability insurance is to protect the organiser from being sued by any member of the public who may attend the event who suffers injury or property damage due to the negligence of the organiser. 

Please seek the advice of your insurance company, broker or underwriter prior to applying to hold an event to ensure that your cover will be sufficient for the proposed activity.  

Public liability insurance is available for individual market stallholders. Please check with your broker/insurer. 

If Council has suitable power sources at your chosen venue, you may apply to access and use Council's electricity for the duration of your event. A daily charge will apply to access these power sources. You will need to contact our Electrical Projects Officer on 02 6581 8111 to discuss the suitability of your event's needs and organise access.

Events such as shows, carnivals, circuses or any other large events requiring electricity, may be required to pay for the electricity used during the event. If this applies to your event, the meter will be read with the applicant pre and post the event to determine the electricity usage as charged by our local supplier. The cost of the electricity used will be deducted from the bond held for the event. 

All electrical leads and/or equipment are to be set up by a licensed electrician, in accordance with the requirements of SafeWork NSW and the provision of Australian Standard AS/NZS 3002:2008, Electrical installations - Shows and carnivals.

Electrical Standards Specifications

If electricity is not available and you require electricity for your event, you are to contact council's Electrical Projects Officer on 02 6581 8111 to organise access for your provider to install the temporary power source on the reserve area. Any associated costs are the responsibility of the applicant.

Where vehicle access is required to a reserve, you will be required to submit a performance bond prior to the event (minimum $2,000). In other situations a bond may be required depending on the event and the potential risk of damage to the reserve.

When a performance bond is required, a pre and post event inspection will take place to ascertain the state of the reserve with Council's Park Supervisor and the applicant both present. If damage has occurred to the ground surface or associated fixtures as a result of the event, or rubbish and waste has not been removed by the event organiser, Council may use part of or the entire bond to repair or restore the venue to its pre event condition.

When no damage is caused to the venue the bond will be refunded in full. Please allow up to two weeks from the post-event inspection for the cheque to be drawn and posted.

It is the responsibility of the applicant to organise the collection and removal of all rubbish from the venue that is generated by the event. Rubbish bins located in public areas are for the use of the general public and not for the use of organised events. 

Any event that is likely to generate substantial waste may be required to submit a waste management plan outlining the waste strategy for the event. Some of the issues needed to be considered are:

  • waste receptacles - type and placement
  • emptying of waste receptacles during the event
  • managing waste that has not been placed in receptacles
  • types of items sold/used to minimise waste
  • recycling
  • the number of food and beverage outlets
  • the size of the site
  • identification and signage of waste containers
  • removal of waste from the site

The event organiser is responsible for all costs incurred in relation to waste management at the event, including the provision of waste receptacles and the collection and disposal of the waste. 

A list of Council's preferred providers is supplied within the application form.

For events with 500 people or more, please see the Event Organiser's Toolkit for Event Waste Management Guidelines and a Waste Management Plan Template.


Powered amusement devices must be registered with WorkCover NSW as required under the Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011.

Such devices are to be erected and operated in accordance with a) all conditions specified on WorkCover NSW registration certificates including compliance with AS 3533 Amusement Rides and Devices, Part 2 – Operation and Maintenance and Supplement 1; b)  compliance with the Australian Electrical Standards and Workcover codes for Electrical Installations and Electrical Installations for Shows and Carnivals; c)  and/or any direction given by authorised council staff or energy supply staff.

Amusement devices shall not be operated unless there is in force a contract of insurance of indemnity for the provider of each amusement device, which indemnifies to an unlimited extent (or up to an amount not less than $20 million in respect of each accident) each person who would be liable for damages for death or personal injury arising out of: a) the operation or use of the device and b) any total or partial failure or collapse of the device, against that liability.

The applicant is required to supply a site plan indicating the proposed placement of each amusement device within the reserve.

A copy of the current Workcover Authority Registration and amusement operators public liability insurance is to be obtained by the event organiser and submitted to council prior to the event.



It is the event organiser's responsibility to ensure the proposed devices are to be erected and operated in accordance with: a)   the Australian Electrical Standards for Electrical Installations and Electrical Installations for Shows and Carnivals; b) the manufacturers instructions, in a secure and safe manner, be structurally sound and capable of withstanding the loading likely to arise from its use; c) and/or any direction given by authorised council staff.


The device shall not be operated unless there is in force a contract of insurance of indemnity for the provider of the device, which indemnifies to an unlimited extent (or up to an amount not less than $20 million in respect of each accident) each person who would be liable for damages for death or personal injury arising out of: a) the operation or use of the device and b) any total or partial failure or collapse of the device, against that liability.


A copy of the current Workcover Authority Registration and amusement operators public liability insurance is to be obtained by the event organiser and submitted to council prior to the event.


Note - Amusement devices are not permitted on Town Green.  Westport Park is a more suitable location for these type of activities.

(Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979)

The erection of a temporary structure (tent, marquee, booth, stage etc) and the use of a temporary structure for the purpose of providing public entertainment are activities that may require approval under the Act. The structures you propose for your event may be categorised as:

a) exempt development (no approval required)

b) complying development  (approval required but no environmental impact assessment)

c) development requiring development consent (environmental impact assessment required)

State Environmental Planning Policy (Temporary Structures) 2007 identifies the type of approval required with the key determinants being the structure's size, height above ground level, location and proposed use.

For further information on lodging a Development Application for a temporary event please contact our Development and Environmental Services Section on (02) 6581 8111.

Traffic Management - (Roads Act 1993)

It’s the applicant's responsibility to ensure the safety and convenience of the public when holding a public event on Council reserves that impacts on traffic and/or parking, or involves a road closure.

A proposal to close a road or regulate traffic requires approval by Council as the designated authority for roads in the local government area. Under Section 64 of the Act, the Roads & Maritime Services is the designated authority in respect to classified roads, such as the Pacific Highway and areas of the Oxley Highway and its concurrence is required for any closure of a classified road. 

Section 122 of the Roads Act 1993 requires that public notice be given of the temporary regulation of traffic that is anticipated under a traffic control plan and that such notice be given seven days prior to the event.

An application is also to be made to the Port Macquarie police for a road closure or for the regulation of traffic. 

A traffic control plan is to be prepared in accordance with Australian Standard 1742 and the Roads & Maritime Services publication:

Guide to Traffic and Transport Management for Special Events 

For all road closures, parking and traffic issues, please contact Council's Road's Safety Co-ordinator on (02) 6581 8111

Sale or Provision of Food (Food Act 2003 and Food Regulation 2010)

All temporary food premises are to comply with Council's Mobile Food Vending Policy, the Food Act 2003, Food Regulation 2010 and associated standards. If you are having a food stall/s at your event, your stall holders will need to hold a current licence or submit an application to operate a temporary food stall. 

NSW Food Authority has compiled guidelines addressing food safety issues, including hygiene and disposal of waste for applicants proposing to set up a food stall at a temporary event. The document Guidelines for Food Businesses at Temporary Events is available at NSW Food Authority at www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au  

For further information regarding selling or providing food at your event, please contact Council's Food Safety Officer on (02) 6581 8111.

Approvals that may be required from other organisations

Some event activities may also require formal approval from other agencies.

Aquatic Activities (Marine Safety (General) Regulation 2009)

An aquatic licence is required when organising an event such as a race, display, regatta, or any other activity which restricts the availability of navigable waters for normal use by the public. For application forms and information regarding aquatic licences contact Roads & Maritime Services at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au 

Public Assembly or Procession (Summary Offences Act 1988)

If your event involves a rally, protest or procession you will need to lodge with the NSW Police Service a Notice of Intention to Hold a Public Assembly. This must be lodged at least seven days prior to the event. Please contact Port Macquarie police station for further details.  

Alcohol (Liquor Act 2007)

If it is proposed to sell alcohol at your event, the applicant is required to apply for a limited licence (for single function). A limited licence allows liquor to be sold at functions or special events held by a non-profit organisation. The application must be received by the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing at least 28 days prior to the event. A notice must be provided to council and the police within two working days of lodging the application. 

You may apply online at www.licence.nsw.gov.au. For other information visit the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing at www.olgr.nsw.gov.au 

Copyright (APRA/AMCOS and PPCA) 

Music is protected by copyright, therefore if you are having live or pre-recorded music in the form of a recording or video at your event you will need to obtain a licence from the Australian Performing Rights Association Ltd (APRA) to perform or communicate the music to the public. APRA deals with the copyright in the song, such as the lyrics and composition of the music. The Australian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS) collects the royalties for the reproduction of their members' musical works.

You will also need permission from the copyright holder to play protected recorded music or music videos in public. The Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA) deals with the copyright of the recording of the music CD, tape or video.

If you are putting on a concert, festival, dance party, function or theatrical performance, you will nearly always need an APRA licence to cover the public performance of music (visit APRA at www.apra-amcos.com.au for more information) and also a licence from the PPCA for the public playing of recorded music such as CDs, tapes, records or music videos. Visit PPCA at www.ppca.com.au 

Fireworks (Work Health and Safety Act 2011)

To hold a fireworks display you must lodge a Notification of Fireworks Display to Workcover NSW at least seven working days prior to the event. The supplier or operator of the fireworks must be the holder of a Pyrotechnicians Permit or hold a Single Occasion Fireworks Permit to operate the display. A copy of the operator's licence and proof of the operator's public liability insurance is to be submitted with your application. For information on holding a fireworks display, visit Workcover NSW at www.workcover.nsw.gov.au

A condition of approval for fireworks may require the applicant to place an advertisement of the event in the local papers prior to the event and/or letterbox drop to surrounding properties.

Fundraising (Lotteries and Art Unions Act)

A raffle may only be conducted to raise funds for the benefit of a not-for-profit organisation. Raffles may be conducted without the need of a permit from the Department of Gaming and Racing if the value of prizes does not exceed $25,000, however the organiser must comply with the requirements of the Lotteries and Art Unions Act. If raising money for a charity, an authority under the Charitable Fundraising Act may be required. For further information visit the NSW Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing at www.olgr.nsw.gov.au 

Working with Children (Commission for Children and Young People Act 1998)

A consent/declaration form is required to be completed by all staff/volunteers/contractors in child-related employment. Contact the NSW Commission for Children and Young People at www.kids.nsw.gov.au

Protecting our Environment (Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997)

Water: It is an offence to pollute any waterway by the falling, washing, blowing or otherwise of any matter onto the dry bed of any waters or into any drain, channel or gutter.

Air: It is an offence to release inflated gas balloons if there are 20 or more released at or about the same time. Plant is to be maintained in efficient condition and is to be operated in a proper and efficient manner. The POEO Act regulates air pollution emissions including odours, smoke and invisible gases

Litter: A person is guilty of an offence if they deposit litter in or on a public place. It is an offence to deposit advertising material for your event in or on a vehicle. The event organiser is responsible for keeping the event site free of litter. (See 4.5)

Noise: It is an offence to allow offensive noise to be emitted from or made in a public place. Public address systems used at events are to comply with the conditions of use issued in conjunction with approval for the use of sound amplification systems at an event.

Risk Assessment and Risk Management

Before submitting your application you should carefully consider potential risks involved with the staging of your event. Once identified, the risks should be rated against the chance of them occurring and the impact they could have. Once potential risks are identified, a response can then be planned in case the situation does arise. The Australian standard for risk management is AS/NZS ISO 31000:2009 Risk management - Principles and guidelines.

Once you have completed your risk assessment, you need to undertake an on-site check to ensure that all areas of risk and potential hazards have been addressed. 

The Work Health and Safety Act 2011 places a duty of care on the event organiser to ensure the safety and well-being of all members of the public as well as employees or volunteers that are involved with an event. 

 See an example risk assessment31KB pdf(PDF, 31KB)

Please consult with your insurer for their specific requirements for your event.


Water: The organiser is to ensure that drinking water is available during the event, particularly if the weather is hot, large crowds expected, or the event includes a parade or march. If you propose to sell alcohol at your event, you are required by law to have free drinking water available. If access to council's water supply is required you will need to advise us when making your application.

Toilet Facilities:  Where there are no facilities provided at the reserve, or the facilities on-site are insufficient for the number of attendees expected, the organiser is required to supply and maintain portable toilets. The number of toilets required at an event depends on the numbers attending, the duration of the event, if food and/or alcohol is available and the type of event planned.  Contact our Development & Environment Section for more information on 6581 8111.

Crowd Control, Contingency Plan and Security

When considering the site plan you will need to consider access for emergency vehicles and allow sufficient space for the free movement of the public from the event, especially should a fire or other emergency occur. 

Security measures proposed to ensure public safety and crowd control need to be addressed. 

A contingency plan should be adopted in the event of adverse weather or other circumstances that may cause the late cancellation or the need for emergency evacuation of the site. If wet weather prevails in the days leading to your event, we reserve the right to rescind any approval issued for use of the venue for the event, if we determine that by holding the event, damage may be made to the reserve. Please ensure that your have a backup venue should unsuitable weather conditions prevail prior to or during your proposed outdoor event.

If the event is to be for more than one day, please advise of the safety precautions and security measures to be undertaken in respect of equipment, structures and the like remaining on-site overnight. 

This page was last updated on: 08 July 2020