Do I need an approval?
When you need an approval
The following activities require an approval from Council:
Any event with more than 2000 patrons (over the duration of the event) at which entertainment is provided to the public on a one-off or irregular basis, whether from an entertainment venue or from some other place.
- Fetes, fairs and festivals.
- Performances (theatre, artisans etc.).
- Promotional activities (sales displays, road shows, radio/tv events etc.).
- Displays or exhibitions.
- Live music or other entertainment (acoustic music, movie in park etc.).
- Sporting activities (fun runs, boxing/wrestling, triathlons etc.).
When you do not need an approval
The following activities do not require an approval under Council's local law:
Any event with less than 2000 patrons (over the duration of the event) or any event run by Council, the State or Federal Government.
Before you start
If you are planning an entertainment event, you will need to consider planning, building, and plumbing approvals.
Your first step when planning an entertainment event is to check if you need planning approval.
Council’s planning scheme guides how land can be used and developed.
Entertainment events may need planning approval if regularly operated at the same location because it may change the approved use of the land (e.g. from carpark to markets).
To find out if you need to submit a development application, you can:
- lodge an enquiry with Council
- arrange a pre-lodgement meeting with Council
- engage a town planning consultant registered with the Planning Institute of Australia
- self-assess your property details against Council’s planning scheme.
You can access Council’s planning scheme using PD Online.
Building work for entertainment events may include:
- erecting temporary fixtures (e.g. stages, speaker structures, shade awnings, or grandstand seating)
- temporary tents that have a plan area of more than 100m2 but less than 500m2.
All building work is assessed against the building assessment provisions (including, but not limited to, the National Construction Code and the Queensland Development Code) which set the minimum requirements for building structure, fire safety, access and egress, health and amenity, and energy efficiency.
To find out if you need building approval, you can:
Compliance certificates for building work
Assessable building work requires building approval from a building certifier. Sometimes the building certifier relies on advice from other people for assessing the design/specification and inspection of buildings.
The building certifier uses these forms to accept advice on assessable building work.
- Form 15 specifies the design and its limitations
- Form 16 confirms the installation or construction meets the design.
Your building certifier will collect these forms if necessary.
During the entertainment event licence application process, Council may ask for a Form 15 that certifies the design of a major component of your business (e.g. temporary stages, marquees or grandstands) and a Form 16 to certify that the component was installed to the design specification.
Find out more about Forms 15 and 16.
Plumbing and drainage approval
Most established locations for entertainment events should have access to water and sewerage connections. You may still require plumbing approval for the release of trade waste to sewer.
Plumbing and drainage work should be conducted by a licensed plumber.
Contact Council or your local water authority for more information.
Trade waste consent
Trade waste is liquid waste produced by a business. All businesses, including one-off and temporary entertainment events, require consent from the local water authority to release trade waste to the sewer.
Some entertainment events may also need pre-treatment and monitoring equipment (e.g. separators, interceptors, grease traps, or in-sink or in-drain baskets) before discharge to sewer.
If there is no sewerage connection or no trade waste consent, you will need to organise collection of all wastewater and have it removed by a licensed waste transporter.
Cooking fats and oils from fryers are not trade waste. Do not release cooking fats or oils from fryers down any drain. Fats or oils need to be stored in separate waste oil drums and collected by a licensed waste transporter.
The property owner or leasee (depending on the lease agreement) is responsible for organising trade waste consent including the installation of any pre-treatment equipment.
Contact Council or your local water authority to find out more about trade waste consent.
How to apply
Applications can be submitted to Council online or via mail to:
Brisbane City Council
GPO Box 1434
BRISBANE QLD 4001
When submitting an application please ensure all of the relevant supporting documentation is also submitted.
The applicant for an approval must be a legal entity (e.g. person/s or company. Note - a trust name or business name is not a legal entity and cannot be the licence holder).
You should submit a complete application to Council a minimum of six weeks prior to the date of the event.
Complete the entertainment events online form to apply for the key Council approvals you may need in relation to your event, including:
- Entertainment Events Permit application (including the option to book a Council park for the event)
- Temporary Lane/Road Closure Assessment Application - Special Events (including the option to apply for temporary use of the footway)
- Consent for Temporary Liquor Licence Application (for event or other activity on Council Land)
Certain not-for-profit welfare or community organisations may be eligible for a remission of fees and charges for entertainment venues or events. To apply, fill out the Type 2 Concession - Not-for-Profit Organisations application form (PDF, 146.13 KB) and submit to Council. For further information on whether your organisation may be eligible, contact Council.
You may be required to submit plans with your entertainment event application. The plans should include:
- A site plan to scale including details of the following, where applicable:
- entry and exit points from the event and adjoining buildings
- emergency services designated areas and access points
- location and arrangement of noise sources
- location and arrangement of light sources
- location of restricted areas
- method of proposed ventilation (for any indoor event)
- location of bins and toilets
- location of food and drinks stalls including potable water supply source.
You can view an example plan (DOC, 650.5 KB) for an entertainment event.
- A noise management plan may be required if your event includes live bands or amplified music. A qualified acoustic engineer should write your noise management plan and it should include:
- a site plan with the neighbouring land use, location and orientation of stages and public address or audio systems
- details of all possible noise sources and noise barriers
- noise reduction measures to be used
- details of the acoustic monitoring to be conducted during the event
- a plan to notify surrounding premises of the event and potential noise
- a plan to manage complaints received before, during and after the event.
You may be required to prepare and submit an event management plan to ensure that you address all of the high-risk issues during your event. For more information on developing an event management plan, see the event management planning guide.
Contact Council to check which plans are required for your event.
Public Liability Insurance
You must have current public liability insurance to a minimum value of $10 million dollars. To calculate the amount of public liability insurance refer to Schedule 3 of the Brisbane City Council Local Law Policy (Entertainment Venues and Events) 1999. The local law can be accessed by accepting the terms of the disclaimer and copyright requirements of the Department of Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning local laws database and searching for Brisbane City Councils locals laws and subordinate local laws. A copy of the insurance policy must be submitted before your application is given approval.
You should also research all options regarding your other business insurance requirements.
Council requires these certificates before issuing an approval for an entertainment event:
- Queensland Fire and Rescue Service endorsement of evacuation plan
- Workplace Health and Safety certification for amusement rides
- electricians certificate for generator enhanced power supply.
Application process - new
This process is for applying for an entertainment event licence with Council.
You must obtain relevant planning approval, building approval and plumbing approval before you submit an entertainment event application.
- Submit your entertainment event application and plans to Council using the approved form. You are responsible for ensuring your application is complete.
- Council will process your application within the legislative or agreed timeframe. Council will contact you should additional information be required to process your application.
- When Council approves your application, you can then commence the event in accordance with the approved conditions.
Council may inspect the site before, during and after the event.
For further information, contact Council.
Application process - making changes
Contact Council to discuss any changes to your event.
Renewal of licence
There are no provisions for renewal of event approvals.
If you need to amend contact details on your approval or require a copy of your approval, contact Council.
Advertising signs licence
Some Councils have rules about the type and location of any advertising signs for businesses. Depending on the type of advertising sign, you may need to obtain a licence. Find out more about advertising signs.
Business trading name
If you are registering a new business name you will need to contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
Food business licence
Food vendors selling or serving food during an event may need a food business licence. Find out more about food business licences.
If you intend to sell or serve alcohol on the premises you will need to apply for a liquor licence. Visit the Business Queensland website for information on liquor licences.
If you intend to use special effects such as pyrotechnic explosions or fireworks, you need approval from Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy. You must also advise Queensland Police Service, and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.
Road closure permits
If you intend to close a road, lane or Council parking bay, contact Council. If the proposed closure is on a state-controlled road, you will need written permission from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads. Note that you must get final approval from Queensland Police Service for the road closure.
Event in a Council Park
If you are running your event in a Council Park, you will need Council approval.
Council provides a Festival and Events Liaison Office (FELO) to answer any questions in relation to the entertainment event process and can provide information about all of the required Council permits and approvals required to run an event.
Council's FELO can be contacted via Council's Business Hotline on 133 BNE (133 263).
How to comply
The following tools and resources allow the event organiser to know what is required to ensure the event is operating lawfully. When used effectively, these tools will assist to minimise the impact on patrons and surrounding neighbourhood and avoid enforcement action.
Regulation (Inspection process)
Council officers will monitor your event to check compliance with your approval conditions. If your event includes live bands or amplified music, they may also conduct noise monitoring. Noise from the event must comply with your approval conditions. If you do not have any approval conditions you will need to comply with the noise criteria for open air events, which can be found in section 440X of the Environmental Protection Act 1994.
When operating an event, licence conditions and relevant legislation must be complied with.
If you have difficulty complying, contact Council.
Failure to comply may result in one or more of the following enforcement actions:
- prescribed infringement notices (PIN) or on-the-spot fines
- withholding of bond (or partial withholding) if applicable
- event closure
Council has a duty to investigate and respond to complaints received. A complaint may result in any of the above enforcement actions.
This page is designed as a guide only to provide event operators with relevant information regarding adequate provision of toilet facilities at events. For detailed information, see the event industry guidelines.
Many events are judged on the adequacy and cleanliness of the toilet facilities.
Depending on the nature and duration of the event, event operators need to ensure that adequate toilet facilities are provided for patrons, entertainers and support staff. These facilities must include water closet pans, urinals and hand basins. Showers are required where camping is proposed in conjunction with the event.
Facilities should be adequate in number, conveniently located, suitable for the event and maintained in a clean and tidy manner so that insanitary conditions do not occur. The toilet facilities must have the necessary provisions for the collection, treatment and disposal of sewage and wastewater.
Unless otherwise permitted by the relevant authority, all toilets must be water-flush and have hand basins provided, connected to a cold water supply. Portable water-flush toilets must be provided where existing toilet facilities are inadequate.
Toilet and hand basin facilities should be:
- clearly designated, with a separate approach for each sex, and with unisex toilets for persons with a disability
- separate from food service preparation and storage areas
- cleaned and maintained for the duration of the event
- well-lit and clearly identified
- situated and screened to ensure privacy
- provided with hand washing basins with cold running water, soap (bar or liquid), disposable towels or air dryers and waste containers
- provided with toilet paper
- provided with separate disposal units for sanitary napkins, nappies, incontinence pads, condoms, needles and syringes, and other rubbish
- provided with nappy changing facilities
- serviced (including pump-out of portables) on a 24-hour basis during the event (vehicular access necessary).
Number of toilets required
There is no uniform Australian Standard for calculating the number of toilets required for events. However, when planning the provision of toilet facilities, the following should be taken into consideration:
- type of event
- duration of the event
- crowd type and activities
- number of patrons
- alcohol and food consumption.
The following tables should be used as a guide only for events of one day or more (events of one or two hours with no food or drink may require fewer facilities).
|Patrons||Male WC||Male urinals||Male hand basin||Female WC||Female hand basin|
|Patrons||Male WC||Male urinals||Male hand basin||Female WC||Female hand basin|
|Duration of event||Quantity required|
|8 hours plus||100%|
|Less than 4 hours||70%|
In addition to the above tables, the following facilities must also be provided:
- one sanitary convenience bin per female toilet
- separate toilet and hand washing facilities for food handlers
- at least one unisex toilet for patrons with a disability at each group of toilet facilities (refer to the Building Code of Australia for more information)
- the Building Code of Australia indicates that 1 urinal space = 0.6 m.
The event operator may also consider the provision of additional unisex toilets to alleviate long queues.
Ablution facilities at event camping sites
Suggested minimum requirements for camping facilities based on two to three nights camping according to the Emergency Management Australia Manual, Safe and Healthy Mass Gatherings:
|Male||1 per 50*||1 per 100*||1 per 75*||1 per 100*|
|Female||1 per 25*||N/A||1 per 75*||1 per 100*|
(* units expressed as per person, i.e. 1 WC per 50 persons)
Maintenance of facilities
To maintain facilities in a sanitary condition, they must be cleaned at least daily or more frequently where necessary to prevent nuisance or offensive conditions and infestation/harbourage by insects or pests.
A cleaning schedule should be established for toilet facilities and hand basins to cover frequency of cleaning, monitoring, equipment and chemicals to be used. Maintenance and cleaning schedules for toilets and hand-basins must ensure:
- an adequate supply of toilet paper and soap
- cleaning of toilets to a suitable timetable
- provision for disposal and removal of sanitary napkins
- availability of a plumber or appropriate maintenance person to repair or remove blockages
- adequate cleaning supplies are available for cleaning staff.
Waste, recycling and litter control
This content is designed as a guide only to provide event operators with relevant information regarding adequate management of waste and litter control. You can find more detailed information in the Queensland sustainable events guideline (waste).
Events can generate a considerable amount of waste through catering and other activities. Event operators must ensure waste is managed, during and after the event, to prevent unsanitary conditions and environmental harm, such as litter entering waterways. A waste management plan must be considered as part of your event application to Council.
Solid waste such as rubbish and food waste has a high risk of nuisance, as well as infestation by vermin, if not adequately controlled. Event operators must provide an adequate number of rubbish bins with lids, with regular emptying as often as needed to prevent infestation and overflow.
Waste and litter management
Waste management at events involves reducing, re-using and recycling.
Events must have suitable and adequate facilities for the storage and collection of solid waste and recyclables that are easily identifiable and accessible by patrons, food vendors and waste collectors.
Litter, especially broken glass, is unhygienic and can cause serious injuries. It may even be used as a weapon or missile. The following must be considered as part of a managing litter plan for your event:
- “no glass” policy
- containers provided specifically for the disposal of glass, sharp objects, and separate syringe disposal unit/s
- collection and disposal of litter regularly throughout the event
- relocation of bins from low use to high demand areas
- covering of bulk bins to contain waste and prevent scavenging by birds
- covering of bulk bins to prevent wind-blown litter from covering entrances to stormwater drains (must have gauze/mesh where there is a chance of litter gaining access to drains).
An event involving animals will require the provision of appropriate equipment and sealed bags/containers for the immediate collection of any animal droppings. Animal droppings must not be disposed of in garden beds.
During the event
All waste generated by the event must be collected and disposed of in a manner which maintains the area in a clean, tidy, sanitary and hygienic condition. You can manage waste during your event by:
- clearly labelling recycling and waste bins
- arranging public announcements on waste and recycling facilities
- emptying waste bins at regular intervals into bulk bins
- using bins liners in all waste bins
- engaging trained personnel for site litter and bin management
- monitoring waste and recycling bins for minimal or high use, and providing additional bins if necessary
- advising stallholders of waste management requirements
- ensuring food scraps or offensive waste are disposed of in lidded bins.
After the event
Waste can be controlled after the event by:
- completing site clean-up of all litter and disposing into appropriate bins
- placing waste containers in agreed location for collection (waste bins and recycle bins should be grouped separately to allow access by contractors)
- closing lids on any bulk bins.
The number and placement of bins, as well as the bins themselves, influences whether people will use the bins and recycle items.
How people move around and use a site determines the optimal placement of bins (the distance people are prepared to walk to throw waste in a bin is considered to be six metres).
Bins should be placed:
- in accessible points close to where patrons pass by
- where people enter and exit
- for the convenience of the user, rather than the collector
- where they can be effectively emptied and serviced, especially in peak periods
- where patrons may gather to view displays, rides, etc.
- away from services and building structures such as fire exits, walls and congested pedestrian areas
- where items are likely to be thrown away, not where they are bought, such as near entrances and exits, within eating areas, near toilets, walkways and car parks.
Recycling forms part of everyday activities in most homes and people often look to recycle in all places they visit. Implementing recycling as part of waste management for your event can lead to cost savings in reduced packaging, as well as environmental benefits in reduced littering.
Caterers and food vendors can recycle and reduce packaging at events by:
- re-using items where possible, such as non-disposable cutlery and crockery
- segregating recyclables, such as bottles, cans, cartons, organics, rubbish, paper and cardboard, corks and food oil (cardboard boxes should be flattened)
- informing staff and suppliers on the importance of minimising waste, including packaging of food and quantities of serviettes
- providing food and drinks in recyclable containers, such as non-plasticised paper plates and cups, glass, cans and PET plastic bottles and using recyclable packaging such as cardboard boxes (polystyrene and waxed cardboard are not recyclable).
Where food and beverages are supplied in recyclable packaging, recycle bins must be provided for patron use especially near food areas. Recycle bins must be placed side-by-side with waste bins not back-to-back.
Waste and recyclable materials from stalls should be separated and contained “back of house” and not placed in bins at recycling stations.
This information is also available as a waste, recycling and litter control fact sheet (DOCX, 111.95 KB) and checklist (DOC, 843 KB).