You will find this guide particularly helpful for planning:
- fun runs
- cycling events
- cultural celebrations
- street parties
- religious festivals
- charity events
- raffles or fundraising
Planning your event
You should consider the following when planning an event:
- time and date of event
- your budget
- target audience
- proposed activities and attractions -– bands, performers, music, fireworks, amusements, rides and stalls
- provision of food and drinks – food vendors, community-run food stalls, serving of alcohol, permits required, access to water and power
- number of people attending – size of the venue and sufficient parking
- infrastructure required – the need for marquees, power, toilets, a PA system
- venue accessibility – accessible car parks, clear continuous path ways, accessible toilets
- safety and risk
- staffing and volunteers
Choosing a venue that suits your needs
We have a range of public parks, sports reserves, pavilions and community facilities that are available for use or hire by the public, upon request.
We may require you to complete an application and pay a bond for large events, to ensure that the site or venue is returned to its original condition.
You should think about the following when choosing a suitable venue:
- Do you plan to use Council land for your event?
- Is the event site or venue available and do you have permission to use it?
- Does the venue or site you have chosen suit all your requirements?
- What are the arrangements for getting into the site or venue and for leaving the site or venue?
You should book our community halls, pavilions, sportsgrounds and community centres by calling 9404 8843 or email email@example.com.
Parks and open spaces
Our parks are available for all people to enjoy and cannot be booked. However, if you are planning a large event, phone our Event Team on 9217 2122 to see if we can grant approval for the use of the space.
This approval does not provide you with exclusive use of the park, as it will also need to be accessed and used by the general public as well.
We may require you to pay a financial bond, and you may need our assistance with getting vehicle access to the venue. For more information, see Parks and playgrounds.
Venue or site plan
For larger events it is vital that you have a venue or site plan so attendees, staff, volunteers, contractors and emergency services know where everything is. This will help you when applying for permits and with developing your safety management plan.
Some of the things you may need to include are:
- entertainment areas, including stage location and amusement rides
- seating and shaded rest areas
- food vendors and stalls
- drinking water sites
- permanent and temporary public toilets, including accessible toilets
- information tent
- first aid posts
- parking, including accessible parking bays and pick up and drop off areas
- taxi and bus stops
- entrances, exits and continuous accessible paths of travel
- emergency access/egress routes and evacuation assembly points
- security location
- fire extinguishers
- restricted areas
- rubbish and recycling stations
A large venue or site will need signage to indicate the location of:
- information tent and lost children
- first aid posts
- drinking water sites
- emergency exits and evacuation points
You might also consider signage to indicate different activity areas and programming on your stage.
Events wishing to install promotional signage, such as real estate boards or Variable Message Signs (VMS), will need to obtain permission from Council, and/or VicRoads. These signs may be placed at prominent intersections within the municipality.
You must gain approval of your board sign prior to it being erected. For further information regarding the board sign approval process, please contact our Events Team on 9217 2122.
In order to gain approval for a board sign, it must:
- advertise a local educational, cultural, political, religious, social or recreational event
- not be held for commercial purposes
- be no larger than 5 square metres in area
- only be externally illuminated
- not have sponsor advertising or identification exceeding 10% of the area of the sign.
Once approved, we will provide you with a list of approved sites where you may choose to erect your sign.
In selecting your preferred sites, please consider the positioning of your sign/s and the impact they may have in obscuring, and therefore impeding, the view of road users. Any sign/s incorrectly installed, which create a safety hazard, can and will be removed, regardless of whether permission has been granted.
Only 1 sign per site may be displayed to promote your event, however, applicants can request to install signs at multiple sites. The sign/s should not be installed more than 10 weeks before the event date and should be removed on the first working day after the event has been presented.
Any event seeking to use VMS boards to promote an event will need a Planning permit. VMS boards being used as part of a Traffic Management Plan (TMP), or as a condition or requirement of a Memorandum of Authorisation (MOA) do not require a separate planning permit as these signs will only be used to direct and assist traffic flow.
If the promotional signs (static or VMS) are to be installed on major arterial roads, a permit application must be submitted through VicRoads seeking approval.
Marketing and promotion
Promote your event on our website
We publish community events through our website, provided that they meet the following guidelines:
- are one-off or annual events, rather than regular year-round meetings (if you're a community group you can add details of regular meetings to our online Community Directory)
- are held within the City of Whittlesea or deemed relevant to our residents
- are free, non-profit or fundraising activities (rather than commercial ventures), or are funded or sponsored by the City of Whittlesea.
There are no fees to add your event to our Events Calendar.
Note: Publication on our website does not authorise you to hold your event, and you must ensure you have all relevant permits and approvals.
Share your event through our Facebook page
For events that have their own Facebook page and meet the above criteria for inclusion on our website, we can share a Facebook post from your page to our Facebook fans.
Please contact us via our Facebook page to request promotion of your event.
We won't post directly to our Facebook page unless the event is managed and/or delivered by Council, or if Council is an official event sponsor.
If you are planning to conduct any commercial filming – including still photography – within public gardens, reserves, roadways or footpaths in the City of Whittlesea, you need to first obtain a filming permit at a cost of $156.
Student or non-profit filming also requires a permit, but no fee applies.
For more information, call us on 9217 2170.
When choosing your event or venue site it is important that you think about how people will get there.
It is essential that you consider whether there is enough parking on or near the site, to provide safe access to the venue.
You should encourage patrons to come to your event on public transport by promoting the options, however many people will drive to your event.
If there is not enough parking at the venue, there may be an area nearby that can be used for overflow parking. If you are using overflow parking you will need to include information about it in your promotional material and also provide signage on the day. Changes to parking may require you to seek and obtain consent from the relevant authority.
You should reserve some parking spaces in the venue parking area for those who cannot manage the walk from the overflow car park to the event. You might also want to consider providing a shuttle bus.
Organisations can be employed to manage traffic and parking at your event. Some service organisations, such as SES and Rotary may be able to do this for a donation.
For information about parking and traffic management, call us on 9217 2170.
Marquees and staging
You should consider whether you need to put up temporary structures such as stages, large marquees, seating stands or stalls at your event.
If you do require any of the abovementioned infrastructures, you may need to hold an occupancy permit for a Place of Public Entertainment (POPE). A POPE may be required if these structures exceed a particular size or if you are charging an entry fee to your event. As outlined in the Building Act 1993, a POPE may apply even if you plan to use an existing building as your event site / venue.
Once you have completed Council’s online application form, you will be advised if you require a POPE or any other regulatory permits.
If it is deemed that your event will require a POPE, you will need to complete and submit a POPE application form and pay the nominated fee. Within the application, you will need to describe your event and produce a scale map indicating:
- the size of marquees and seating stands
- number of toilets on site
- areas where water is provided
- emergency arrangements including emergency management plans
- provision of safety officers and site-specific arrangements
Note: there have been recent changes to the occupancy permits for POPE requirements, especially for community groups and not-for profit organisations.
Food and drink
If you are planning to sell food and drink, or organise food vendors at your event, they need to register under the state-wide registration and notification system called Streatrader.
This is an online system for businesses and community groups to register with their principal Council (this is the Council where the business name is registered) as well as providing notification to the Council where the event is being held.
All temporary food premises trading at your event, including stalls and mobile food vans, are required to have a Food Act registration from their principal Council, which is only purchased annually. For each event they wish to trade at, the food vendor must submit a Statement of Trade through Streatrader. This must be lodged at least 5 working days prior to trading.
If you are planning to sell alcohol at your event, you will need to contact the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR) to obtain a Temporary Limited Liquor licence and pay a licence fee.
You will need to follow their conditions, which may include notifying police, fencing in an area and ensuring staff and volunteers have completed training in responsible serving of alcohol.
For more information, phone VCGLR on 1300 182 457, or visit their website.
Music and performance
If you are playing live or recorded music you must be licensed by the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA).
Our local laws state that amplified sound and music must not interfere with the quiet enjoyment of any other person using Council land or a public place.
As organisers you need to monitor the level of noise at your event.
For more information about APRA licensing, phone APRA on 9426 5200 or visit the APRA website.
For more information about noise guidelines, visit the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) website.
Road closures and traffic management
You need to consider whether your event will require road closures, or will affect traffic or public transport routes.
If your event will disrupt public transport, you need to notify Public Transport Victoria (PTV) and also the service providers.
It's a legal requirement to notify PTV of an event that is likely to impact on public transport. Once you've submitted an event notification form to PTV, they will establish the overall impact to public transport, and determine the impact on public transport operators. PTV require that notifications are received 120 days before your event and can impose fines on events that impact public transport and have failed to submit the necessary notification in time.
If your event requires a temporary road or footpath closure, or you want to erect directional signage on roads or footpaths, you must seek and obtain consent from the relevant road authority. To find out the relevant road authority, see Road maintenance.
If your event involves a local road closure, you will need to have a Traffic Management Plan drawn up by a traffic management company or authorised person and mail it to our Engineering and Transportation Department for approval 12 weeks before your event.
The plan needs to outline:
- who you or your organisation represents
- why and when you wish to hold the event
- details of the location for the event and road closure required
- what routes and streets will be involved
- a contact name, address and telephone number
- how the road closure will be managed (a traffic management company or qualified individuals)
- where signage will be placed to inform the public
We will then send you a letter outlining the issues you must address and the information you must provide before the event can take place.
You'll need to hold a public liability insurance policy for at least $20 million in the joint names of the Council and you/your organisation to insure all parties against any actions, costs, claims or damages that may arise from the event.
You may also need to write to directly affected residents and businesses, notify emergency services providers and take out a public notice in the local paper.
If you are running a competitive cycling event please contact Victoria Police - Road Safety Awareness and Information Unit on 9247 5754 for specific advice and guidance.
Other information and guidelines about managing traffic in and around your event can be found in the Safe Work Australia Traffic Management Guide.
If your event includes any commercial activity on the footpath you need to abide by our Footpath Trading Policy, which covers the requirements for obtaining a Footpath Trading Permit. This permit carries a fee and requires 5 working days for processing of an application.
Footpath trading is the use of footpaths for commercial activities such as outdoor dining and the display of goods. Footpaths less than 2.5m wide may not be used for footpath trading.
For more information, see Footpath Trading Permit.
Electricity and power
If your chosen site does not have a power supply, you will need to bring in silenced generators or use battery-powered appliances.
You will need to consider how much power you will require for your event, for example a large PA system and lights may require 3-phase power. Not having enough power to run your event, or having generators in the wrong place, can cause major issues including power outages and damage to equipment.
You should know what power each electrical appliance will draw when planning for your power needs.
Generator companies will often assist you in working out your requirements. We advise you to have a qualified electrician on-site to assist with the use of the generator and all your electrical needs.
Fireworks are only allowed to be used by pyrotechnics contractors who hold a current WorkSafe permit to discharge fireworks and hold their own public liability insurance cover.
The contractor you engage is responsible for obtaining a Council permit to discharge fireworks.
Under the conditions of the permit, you must notify the following:
- our Local Laws Department - 42 days before the event
- residents within 200m of the discharge site - by post or letter-box drop within 28 days of the event
- local community via local newspaper advertisements - no more than 21 days and no less than 7 days before the event
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) or Country Fire Authority (CFA) in the area
For more information about lighting fireworks or call our Municipal Fire Prevention Officer on 9217 2496.
If you are planning any kind of amusements or rides, such as jumping castles, you will need to ensure that the providers of the equipment have:
- public liability insurance to the value of $20 million
- maintained their rides as per the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations 2007
You must provide your contractors records to prove this.
Some equipment may not be able to be used in certain weather conditions, for example jumping castles in high winds.
You should ensure there are enough toilets on-site.
Outdoor events require the ratio of 1 toilet to every 200 people, plus 1 toilet with wheelchair access and baby change facilities.
If there are not enough toilets on site you will need to hire portable toilets. The provision and number of these toilets may be part of your place of public entertainment (POPE) occupancy permit conditions.
You may need to provide first aid at your event. You should contact a first aid provider - such as St John Ambulance - and request that they attend your event. You may need to pay a fee.
You should determine how many first aiders and first aid locations you need, depending on how many people are coming to your event and what activities are occurring. Your first aid provider can advise you.
For more information, phone St John Ambulance on 1300 360 455 or visit the St John Ambulance website.
It is your responsibility as the event organiser to ensure that all waste - including waste water - is disposed of correctly.
Community groups can use our community bin trailer at their event, which includes bins for rubbish and for recyclable materials, and appropriately labelled bin lids.
Some of the things you can do to reduce your waste and its environmental impact include:
- avoid non-recyclable or non-reusable items such as polystyrene containers and cups
- use insulated paper for hot drinks and paper cups for cold drinks or bring some reusable crockery from home
- use aluminium foil or paper instead of cling wrap, as these can be recycled
- use paper plates not plastic
- avoid products that are excessively packaged, such as pre-wrapped straws and pre-packaged sugar
- avoid drink cup covers and food trays
Taking these actions will help to minimise the waste sent to landfill - and contamination in the recycling bins - and could also save you money.
When deciding which food vendors you will have at your event, consider asking them a few questions about the sustainability of their packaging and serving items.
Give preference to vendors who use packaging made of vegetable products, such as cornstarch plates and cutlery. These are compostable and are broken down easily when disposed of.
Safety, security and risk management
All events need to be run safely and planning what you will do in case of an emergency or if something goes wrong is essential. Some aspects of your event may present more risks than others and should be given special consideration. These might include, but are not limited to:
- electrical safety
- temporary structures
- lost children
- crowd demographics
- weather conditions
- potential crowd crush
- vehicle access and movement
- gas safety
You have a ‘duty of care’ to the people who attend your event, your staff and volunteers, and any other participants, such as performers or contractors and liability may arise if this duty is breached and there is injury or damage to property.
As an event organiser you should put together an event management plan detailing the processes and procedures and the trained support in place to act in case of an emergency. The plan will need to include:
- contacts for the event
- details of all permits, permission and compliance notices as required
- an evacuation plan for the site or venue detailing:
- evacuation points
- assembly points
- emergency services’ locations
- fire extinguishers' location
- what you will do in case of:
- lost/found child
- medical emergency
- fire at the event
- lost property
- bomb or other threat
- extreme weather
- electrical safety
You should nominate wardens and safety officers for your event. Safety officers are responsible for the safe operations of fire safety equipment, evacuation processes, safety barriers and exits.
You should also consider whether you require security guards or crowd control during the event or if you will be leaving equipment on-site overnight.
Accessible to all
You should consider whether your event will be accessible to all the community, particular people who:
- have limited mobility
- have a hearing or visual impairment
- may need some other assistance at your event
We have developed a user-friendly guide to help you make your event accessible to everyone. For a copy of this guide or other accessibility advice, call our Access Team on 9217 2028.
Notify those who may be affected
You may need to inform affected residents or organisations about your event (for example, if you are having fireworks). However, it is just good practice to inform the community and emergency services about your event.
Groups you may need to inform about your event include:
- individuals or residents who may be affected (eg. those living within a 200m radius of the event site)
- Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB)
- Country Fire Authority (CFA)
- Public transport operators
- Public Transport Victoria
- Victoria Police
- Ambulance Victoria
If you are having any fundraising activities at your event you will need to apply for a fundraising permit 1 - 3 months before your event. See Fundraising permits.
You will also need to register with Consumer Affairs Victoria before you can begin fundraising, unless you are exempted. There is no fee to register as a fundraiser. For more information, phone Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 558 181 or visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
Public liability insurance is necessary for public events. The amount of cover that you will need will depend on your activities. A minimum of $20 million in coverage will be required for all events being presented in the City of Whittlesea and a copy of your Public Liability Insurance must be submitted with your application.
Applications who fail to provide evidence of their cover will not have their application assessed. You may need to provide us with proof that your public liability insurance is current.
For more information about insuring your event, visit the Our Community website.
Extreme weather conditions
You should plan what you will do if extreme weather conditions are predicted, and consider whether your event would go ahead.
Extreme weather conditions can affect the ability of even the best planned events to go ahead. Such conditions could be a heat wave, high winds, total fire ban, heavy rain, electrical storms or a Code Red bushfire threat.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) issues weather predictions that include information on wind, temperature, rain, flood and fire danger. When extreme weather conditions are forecast weather warnings are announced on the BOM website, TV and radio news and in the daily papers.
If extreme weather conditions are forecast you should consider modifying, postponing or cancelling your event depending on:
- the severity of the conditions
- recommendations from emergency services
- the activities planned at your event
- inherent risks on the site
For example, in the case of a heatwave you might make the following modifications to ensure your event is safe:
- provide extra shelter and shade
- provide extra water to patrons
- provide extra sunscreen
- provide first aid to treat any cases of heat stress
- ensure your workers and volunteers have extra breaks
- ensure your workers and volunteers are wearing appropriate clothing such as hats and long sleeved shirts
- ensure there is information about symptoms of heat stress freely available
November to April is declared a Fire Danger Period by the Country Fire Authority (CFA). During this time there are restrictions on what activities can occur in the CFA-controlled areas. See Fire restrictions.
On days of Total Fire Ban you may need to cancel or modify activities that involve naked flames such as barbeques and fireworks. Alternatively you could apply to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade or the Country Fire Authority for a permit for exemption (Section 14 or 40 Permit).
On days declared as Code Red by the Fire Authorities, events in bushfire-prone areas should be cancelled or postponed.
For more information, visit the following websites:
- State Emergency Service (SES)
- Country Fire Authority (CFA)
- The Metropolitan Fire Brigade
- Victorian Government Health Department - Heatwave advice
For further information and advice about running events in the City of Whittlesea contact our Event Team on 9217 2122.