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Guidelines to Planning an Event in the National Capital

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

Event Approval Process

  1. Approach the NCA to conduct an event
    • Select and book appropriate venue
  2. Receive the necessary documentation
  3. Liaise with other agencies
    • ACT Government, police, emergency services etc
  4. Attend a co-ordination conference with the NCA and the relevant agencies
    • If required, conduct an on-site meeting with the NCA and the relevant agencies
  5. Submit necessary documentation with any application fees
  6. Obtain the permit and/or works approval
  7. Arrange a post event inspection of area
    • Restoration of area if required

Logistics

Costs

Approval of events involving structures attracts administrative fees, which vary with the costs of works involved. NCA staff provide advice on fee levels. The NCA may, at its discretion, waive fees for charitable and non-profit organisations. For some events, organisers may be required to lodge a bond calculated to cover the cost of making good possible damage to the venue. Deposits are required for the loan of any NCA keys.

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 be turned off in the relevant areas for the duration of the event.

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.

Protests

The conduct of protests is covered in a separate NCA publication The Right to Protest.

A Great Australian Achievement

Canberra is the seat of Australian Government and the location of many of our national institutions.

It is a beautiful city of Australian character and an inspiring national capital. Responsibility for planning and development approval in Canberra is shared between the Commonwealth Government and the Australian Capital Territory Government.

The NCA secures the continuing Commonwealth interest in the planning and development of Canberra and the Territory as the national capital.

The NCA is committed to ensuring that the national capital is a source of pride for all Australians - a place that embodies our heritage, aspirations and values.

Canberra's buildings and landscapes, dramatic vistas, formally planted central spaces, and backdrops of wooded hills provide the setting for the institutions, symbols and ceremonies of our federal parliamentary democracy. They also provide the setting and venues for a vast range of events which bring vitality to Australia's capital city. The NCA encourages recognition of the role of the capital as a place for significant national and international events. A capital which is host to a broad range of cultural, recreational and ceremonial occasions - Australians want to visit.

Venues for Events in the national capital

The heart of the national capital provides unique venues for cultural and ceremonial occasions of local, national and international interest, commemoration of community and national anniversaries, community celebrations, displays and exhibitions, theatre, gatherings of people with common interests, parties, wedding ceremonies, and a myriad of other events.

Most of the popular public venues in the heart of the national capital are managed by the NCA. Areas in which NCA approval is required for events and any associated structures include:

  • Lake Burley Griffin and the islands;
  • Commonwealth and Kings Parks;
  • Acton Peninsula and Yarramundi
  • Anzac Parade; and
  • Parliamentary Zone.

Other areas used for events include:

  • the Parliamentary Zone, the 'place of the people', which is managed by the NCA, but where major events may require Parliamentary approval in addition to approval by the NCA;
  • a number of public parks and gardens along the foreshore of Lake Burley Griffin which are managed by the ACT Government. Permission from the Territory Government is required to use land for events. Approval from the NCA is required for temporary structures associated with such events;
  • the Parliament House Precinct. This area is managed by the Presiding Officers of the Parliament.

The NCA encourages and facilitates events which contribute to Canberra as the national capital. The NCA also assists those planning smaller community events which add to the vitality of the national capital.

The NCA regulates events ranging from major events to smaller events. Some commemorative events (such as the Anzac Day march) and certain minor public activities are not regulated unless they involve the erection of structures for which works approval is required. Aareas which have the special characteristics of the national capital require NCA approval and, sometimes, a range of other approvals and permits. Those planning an event in these areas should:

  • talk to the NCA about the suitability of various venues for a particular type of event, and the range of facilities available at different venues;
  • select a preferred venue, and discuss it with the NCA (depending on the complexity of the event, a co-ordination meeting and/or a meeting on site may be required);
  • submit to the NCA a completed event application form;
  • complete and submit to the NCA a separate application form for any structures associated with the event, such as tents, marquees, sun shelters, temporary huts or sheds, jumping castles, towers for cameras or sound systems, scaffolding, signage, flags and banners, portable toilets, pickets, stakes and fences, amusement rides (including slides and swings), and platforms or stages.

An application must include a map or plan of the area showing the location of key activities and all structures. No work may be undertaken on site until the approval of the NCA has been given in writing.

Inspections

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 also 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;
  • Environment ACT - for motor sports (on land orwater);
  • 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.

Time

Event organisers are encouraged to talk to the NCA in plenty of time before an event - 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 timeframes and priorities.