Event Approval Process

  1. Approach the NCA to conduct an event
    • Select and book appropriate venue
  2. NCA Events will provide a list of documentation required to be submitted prior to event approval being granted
  3. NCA Events will provide an event specific quote for your event
  4. Submit necessary documentation with any application fees
  5. Liaise with other agencies and Operational Stakeholders
    • ACT Government, Police, Emergency Services, Action Buses etc.
  6. Attend a coordination conference with the NCA and the relevant agencies (if required)
    • Conduct an on-site meeting with the NCA and the relevant agencies (if required)
  7. Obtain the permit / works approval and /or licence agreement
  8. Arrange a pre and post event inspection of area
    • Restoration of area if required.

Event organisers should

  • Contact the NCA’s Events Team at events@nca.gov.au or on (02) 6272 2901
  • Discuss the suitability of various venues and availability of booking
  • Select a preferred venue
  • Submit a completed Event Permit Application Form
  • Complete an application for Works Approval form if the event involves structures to be erected (Pre-event inspections may be required)
  • Submit a map indicating the approximate location of each piece of infrastructure.

The NCA will then

  • Advise of any documentation required to be submitted to the NCA prior to final event approval being granted
  • Quote the event accordingly
  • Issue a permit / works approval and/or licence agreement once payment is made and all documentation is received and deemed satisfactory.
  • Advertise any relevant Road Closures
  • Conduct a pre-event site walk through (if applicable) and provide venue keys
  • Request feedback on the venue, our services and the success of your event
  • Conduct a post-event site walk through and inspect the site post event for any damage to the site and adjacent areas.

Planning checklist for event organisers

A checklist of appropriate plans, consultation and approval requirements for an event have been developed by the National Capital Authority (NCA) to guide event organisers when planning an event.

Suitable venues for various activities on National Land are detailed in the NCA events and venues factsheets.

Major events on National Land checklist

Consultation and planning 

  • Access Canberra
  • ACT Policing  
  • Roads ACT 
  • EPA  
  • Emergency Services – Fire Brigade and Ambulance
  • Workcover
  • Office of Fair Trading – liquor licensing, security staff etc     
  • Neighbours, Cultural Attractions and Businesses     
  • Stakeholder briefing 

Works Approval      

  • Works Approval Application Form
  • Maps indicating all structures associated with the event
  • Engineers certificates/structural diagrams (if applicable)

Event establishment

  • Pre-event inspections 
  • Liaison with NCA Open Space and Built Assets contractors

Post event

  • Post event inspection   
  • Site rectification works 
  • Debrief with stakeholders 
  • Bond reconciliation

The NCA charges for the use of National Land. Fees are charged to recover costs associated with the administration and management of National Land. This will also include a bond that has been determined based on the level of risk that damage could occur to Commonwealth assets.

Conditions of use

Conditions for use of venues are issued through the National Land Ordinance 1989 or through licence agreement (commercial events) or leases. A range of conditions of use may apply depending on the venue, the size, and the complexity of the event. Conditions of use include:

  • safety and health
  • insurances including public liability
  • works approval for any structures
  • external approvals
  • noise requirements
  • waste management
  • parking and traffic management
  • access
  • lighting
  • alcohol
  • landscape and other asset maintenance or repairs
  • risk management

Assessment criteria for events

Applications for events on national land will be assessed against the following criteria prior to determining final approval:

  • the organiser’s capacity to stage and manage the event
  • venue capacity and impact of the event on the venue and surrounds
  • public safety
  • stakeholder consultation including the workings of national institutions
  • public access to the surrounding areas and amenities
  • heritage issues
  • a range of other matters specific to the event may also be considered by the NCA as required

The level of detail required for the approval of an event will be commensurate with the nature and scale of the event.

Assessment criteria for Works Approval

The key criteria used by the NCA when considering an application for an event related works approval on Designated Land (as defined in the National Capital Plan) are as follows:

  • type and scale of structures
  • public access and/or safety
  • duration of an event
  • permanence of structures
  • impact on the landscape and other assets
  • the use of vehicles
  • endorsement from the Presiding Officers (for works on Federation Mall)

Works approval will be approved for the minimum period required for the event.

Structures that have the potential to damage Commonwealth assets will not generally be approved. Engineer’s certificates and detailed plans may be required for large structures.

Event related vehicles driven or parked on public landscape areas should be minimised as they are likely to damage the landscape and pose a potential hazard to the public. Spectator vehicles must be legally parked in designated parking areas.


To ensure no unexpected claim for damage to Commonwealth property, it is important that organisers of events inspect the site with an officer of the NCA before event preparation commences, and when the area has been cleared after the event. Staff of the NCA are available for inspections at mutually convenient times.

Other approvals

Depending on the size and nature of the event proposed, other approvals may be required in addition to those of the NCA. Additional approvals could include, for example:

  • Environment ACT - for outdoor events involving amplified music in a venue capable of holding 2,000 people or more and for motor sports (on land or water)
  • ACT Government agencies - for traffic management plans, liquor licensing, sale of goods, engineering safety, and public safety. This list is not exhaustive. While the NCA staff may offer advice, it is the event organiser's responsibility to obtain other approvals needed for a particular event

Risk and Indemnity

All events involve some degree of risk. Organisers conducting events on land managed by the NCA are required to complete a form indemnifying the Commonwealth or its agents against all claims that may result from the event. An indemnity form is available from the NCA. Event organisers will normally be required to show evidence of appropriate public liability insurance. Depending on the size, complexity and nature of the proposed event, the organisers may also be required to prepare a risk management plan.


Event organisers are encouraged to talk to the NCA in plenty of time before an event to allow sufficient time to plan properly. The NCA endeavours to handle all applications promptly, however, some applications require the NCA to consult with other agencies which have their own time frames and priorities.

At least seven days’ notice must be given to the public, by press advertisements, for any road closures. These advertisements are organised by the National Capital Authority (NCA), but event organisers should allow sufficient time for such advertising.


Power Access

Most venues have power outlets. Fees are charged for setting-up, connecting, and disconnecting from some power sources.

Sprinkler Systems

Irrigation systems at many public venues are programmed. Event organisers should ask that the sprinklers to be turned off in the relevant areas for the duration of the event.

An irrigation mark out of all areas (including ingress and egress points during bump in/out) may be required to be completed prior to your event. This marks the location of the sprinkler heads within the venue so as to ensure that event organisers and associated contractors do not drive over existing sprinkler heads causing damage. This service can be arranged at the cost of the event organiser through the NCA Open Space Contractor ‘Citywide’ at Canberra@Citywide.com.au. Any damage to underground services will be at the cost of the event organiser.

Waste Management

Event organisers are responsible for the cleanliness of the area during the event, as well as for clean-up afterwards. All venues must be left clean and tidy. If the existing facilities are inadequate for the type or scale of an event, organisers should arrange and pay for additional waste management.

Application for event-related Works Approval

Under Section 12 (1) (b) of the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988 no works are permitted within a designated area unless an application to perform the works has been submitted to the National Capital Authority (NCA) and approved in writing.

The event related works approval process specifically relates to temporary structures and events. If structures are proposed to be in place for more than 10 days, you must submit a Works Approval application to the NCA Planning team.


Works, under the Australian Capital Territory (Planning and Land Management) Act 1988, include the following:

  • tentage (eg. marquees, tents, sun-shelters)
  • amusement structures (eg. jumping castles, merry-go-rounds, train rides, ferries wheels etc)
  • fencing, barriers, barricades, bunting, star pickets, stakes and/or staked arches
  • screens, stages, dais' and/or platforms
  • portable toilets
  • scaffolding (including screen supports, sound towers and/or camera towers)
  • pyrotechnic firing platforms/supports/devices
  • water buoys
  • signage, flags and/or banners
  • vehicles and concession vans

Fees and payment

  • An administration fee is charged for processing a works application, due when lodging your application
  • Fees are not refundable if the activity is cancelled, or works are no longer required

Public liability insurance

When works are commercially supplied and/or erected, the organisation/company doing this must provide the NCA with evidence of appropriate public liability insurance.

You will also be required to prepare a risk management plan.

Supporting documentation

When submitting an application for a works approval, you should also provide the following documentation:

  • a map showing the locations and types of all requested works (including signage)
  • a copy of the relevant public liability insurance, minimum $20 million, current for the date(s) of the event
  • for structures being erected on ACT land, within a designated area, you will need a copy of your approved ACT Government ‘Application to Use a Public Place’ form for the relevant venue.

Promotional Signage, Banners and Flags (including Community Road Side Signage)

Major Events, Special Significance and Broad Community Events, may erect and display promotional signage, banners and flags on approved structures in Designated Areas:

  • the signs/banners are erected and displayed for a specific period only
  • the contents are not offensive
  • they harmonise with the landscape and are in context
  • they are not highly reflective
  • the commercial wording or sponsorship acknowledgement occupies no more than 20% of the sign

All requests are to be submitted on an application for NCA Works Approval Application Form and must be accompanied by:

  • a detailed map (showing the exact locations of each sign/banner)
  • a diagram of the signs/banners showing their contents and design
  • the physical dimensions of the signs/banners.

Promotional signage, banners or flags cannot be flown from these flagpoles:

  • Anzac Parade
  • any of the war memorials (including Mount Pleasant, Veteran's Park and Kings Park)
  • Federation Mall
  • Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey Square
  • the Canadian Flag Pole (Regatta Point)
  • the International Flags Display

Community Roadside signs

Community based events, without an entry or site fee may seek approval to display roadside on the verge of roadways in Designated Areas, or on other Unleased National Land.

All requests are to be submitted on an Application for Works Approval Form along with the following information:

  • a detailed map, showing the exact proposed locations of the signs
  • a diagram of the sign showing its contents (words and/or logos)
  • the dimensions (height and width) of the signs

Application for Works Approval

  • use the Application for Works Approval Electronic Form

Things to Note

Each event may display a maximum of six (6) movable signs for seven (7) days prior to the event date and the signs must be removed within 24 hours of the event conclusion.

For approval of sign placement outside designated areas, event organisers must contact the ACT City Rangers' office on (02) 6207 7132.

Signs cannot be located

  • On main avenues adjacent to the National Triangle (including Commonwealth Avenue and Kings Avenue, State Circle or Capital Circle)
  • On Anzac Parade
  • On Adelaide Avenue between Hopetoun Circuit and the Prime Minister's Lodge
  • On Dunrossil Drive approaching the Governor-General's residence
  • Within 20 metres of a road intersection
  • In median strips

Signs cannot

  • Be offensive, animated or highly reflective
  • Be Variable Message Signs as they are prohibited on National Land
  • Impede maintenance activities (eg. mowing)
  • Be on a vehicle illegally parked on roads or unleased land
  • Be in areas where they may cause traffic hazards or damage the streetscape
  • Be set in place until 7days before the advertised event starts

Signs must generally be

  • Of an A-Frame structure or affixed using wooden stakes (not steel pickets)
  • No higher than 1500 mm above ground level
  • Neat and tidy and not represent a safety hazard or have sharp edges
  • No more than 900 mm wide and 1200 mm high
  • Firmly secured to the ground whilst on display
  • Only display the name of the event and information about the forthcoming event
  • Commercial advertising/sponsorship information may not occupy more than 20% of each sign
  • Removed within 24 hours of the event's conclusion