Not-for-profit Law
Legal help for community organisations

Events

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Your organisation may hold an event to raise money for its activities or a particular cause, or just to promote the great work it does. Or it may be that your organisation organises a conference, operates a stall in a local market, holds an annual dinner and awards night, or organise a weekend away for members. Some community organisations may be set up solely for the purposes of holding an annual event, like a music festival.  

There are many legal issues to consider when holding an event. There are detailed fact sheets on different kinds of events below, and a checklist to help you identify which permits and legal issues you will need to consider.

Permits

Permits are generally required for the following events and activities:

  • holding an event on council or other public land
  • setting up a temporary structure or using a venue for a purpose it is not designed for
  • serving food to the public (for more information see our Events involving food fact sheet (only available for some jurisdictions))
  • serving alcohol to the public (for more information see our Events involving alcohol fact sheet (only available for some jurisdictions))
  • playing live or recorded music
  • displaying signs and banners
  • using gas cylinders to cook or for other purposes
  • using an open flame
  • using fireworks, and
  • using the footpath or closing a road.

This is not an exhaustive list and there may be other permits required for your event. Read the detailed fact sheets relevant to your jurisdiction (where availabe) below for more information.

Most local councils have officers who can provide your organisation with information about permit, venue availability, public liability insurance requirements, selling food or alcohol and other issues associated with your event. This information may also be available on your local council’s website. 

Safety

Your organisation has a legal obligation to make sure its event is safe. Your organisation will owe this obligation to people involved in organising the event, volunteers, employees, independent contractors and anyone who comes to the event (for example, members of the public). Briefly, this means that an organisation must take reasonable precautions against any foreseeable risk of harm to event.

For more information about occupational health and safety laws, see our occupational health and safety page.

Your local council should be able to provide specific advice in relation to safety, security and emergency procedures applicable to your community organisation's proposed event.

Depending on the nature of your event, you may need to ensure the safety of equipment, goods and persons. You may wish to consider whether you need to notify or organise for some groups to be at your event:

  • the Police
  • Fire authorities
  • St John Ambulance
  • private security
  • WorkSafe Authorities

State/territory-specific Information

Legal issues overview

There are many legal considerations when holding events. 

The fact sheets below highlight some particular considerations for different kinds of events including information regarding:

  • permits that your community organisation may need to obtain prior to holding an event and what to think about when hiring a venue or equipment
  • copyright, marketing and promotions
  • event insurance, legal obligations around event safety and providing accessible events and activities
  • sponsorship for an event and raising money, and
  • tax considerations concerning events

Events involving food

The fact sheet below sets out:

  • whether your organisation will need a license to sell food and Council approvals
  • requirements for a Food Safety Program, general preparing, storing and food labeling requirements and possible exemptions, and
  • strategies for managing risk and insurance.

Events involving alcohol

The fact sheet below has information on the following issues that may be relevant when holding events involving alcohol:

  • liquor licencing law and applying for a liquor licence
  • the role of Police and the role of councils in liquor licencing
  • smoking areas, and
  • signage requirements and managing risk.

Events involving travel

The fact sheet below contains information about managing risk when travel is involved in running events:

  • risk management strategies for travel
  • insurance for events involving travel, and
  • whether employees and volunteers should use their own cars.

Sport and adventure activities

The fact sheet below contains information regarding sport and adventure activities including:

  • duty of care to participants in sporting activities
  • warnings, waivers and risk reduction
  • standards, codes and insurance, and
  • extra steps when children are involved.

Extra Resources

ABLIS helps you find the government licences, permits, approvals, registrations, codes of practice, standards and guidelines you need to know about to meet your compliance responsibilities.

These event planning Guidelines were developed by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's department.

This page has a link to event guidelines produced by Disability Access for people with a hearing impairments and a hearing checklist for events. It also has a link to event guidelines written by Vision Australia for people with vision impairment. You need to search or scroll down the page.

Parkinson's Victoria, working with event management company Perfect Events, developed comprehensive and very user-friendly volunteer briefing documents for its 2010 Unity Walk. The briefings are available for downloading from this link to the OurCommunity website.

Legal issues overview

There are many legal considerations when holding events. The fact sheets below highlight some particular considerations for different kinds of events including information regarding:

  • permits and licences that your community organisation may need to obtain prior to holding an event and what to think about when hiring a venue or equipment
  • copyright, marketing and promotions
  • event insurance, legal obligations around event safety and providing accessible events and activities
  • sponsorship for an event and raising money, and
  • tax considerations concerning events

Events involving food

The fact sheet below sets out:

  • information about whether your organisation will need a license to sell food and Council approvals
  • requirements for a Food Safety Supervisor and a Food Safety Program, general preparing, storing and food labeling requirements and possible exceptions, and
  • managing risk and insurance.

Events involving alcohol

The fact sheet below has information on the following issues that may be relevant when holding events involving alcohol:

  • liquor licencing law and applying for a liquor licence
  • the role of Police and the role of councils in liquor licencing
  • smoking areas, and
  • signage requirements and managing risk.

Events involving travel

The fact sheet below contains information about managing risk when travel is involved in running events:

  • risk management strategies for travel
  • insurance for events involving travel, and
  • whether employees and volunteers should use their own cars.

Sport and adventure activities

The fact sheet below contains information regarding sport and adventure activities including:

  • duty of care to participants in sporting activities
  • warnings, waivers and risk reduction
  • standards, codes and insurance, and
  • extra steps when children are involved.

Legal issues overview

There are many legal considerations when holding events. The fact sheet below highlights some particular considerations for different kinds of events including information about:

  • permits that your community organisation may need to obtain prior to holding an event and what to think about when hiring a venue or equipment
  • copyright, marketing and promotions
  • event insurance, legal obligations around event safety and providing accessible events and activities
  • sponsorship for an event and raising money, and
  • tax considerations concerning events.

Legal issues overview

There are many legal considerations when holding events. The fact sheet below highlights some particular considerations for different kinds of events including information about:

  • permits that your community organisation may need to obtain prior to holding an event and what to think about when hiring a venue or equipment
  • copyright, marketing and promotions
  • event insurance, legal obligations around event safety and providing accessible events and activities
  • sponsorship for an event and raising money, and
  • tax considerations concerning events.

Related links

  • SafeWork SA - provides resources to assist in addressing and managing risks in the workplace.
  • Community Underwriting - Voluntary Workers Personal Accident Insurance for volunteers. 

Legal issues overview

There are many legal considerations when holding events. The fact sheet below highlights some particular considerations for different kinds of events including information about:

  • permits that your community organisation may need to obtain prior to holding an event and what to think about when hiring a venue or equipment
  • copyright, marketing and promotions
  • event insurance, legal obligations around event safety and providing accessible events and activities
  • sponsorship for an event and raising money, and
  • tax considerations concerning events.

Legal issues overview

There are many legal considerations when holding events. The fact sheet below highlights some particular considerations for different kinds of events including information about:

  • permits that your community organisation may need to obtain prior to holding an event and what to think about when hiring a venue or equipment
  • copyright, marketing and promotions
  • event insurance, legal obligations around event safety and providing accessible events and activities
  • sponsorship for an event and raising money, and
  • tax considerations concerning events.

Related links

Legal issues overview

There are many legal considerations when holding events. The fact sheet below highlights some particular considerations for different kinds of events including information about:

  • permits that your community organisation may need to obtain prior to holding an event and what to think about when hiring a venue or equipment
  • copyright, marketing and promotions
  • event insurance, legal obligations around event safety and providing accessible events and activities
  • sponsorship for an event and raising money, and
  • tax considerations concerning events.

Related links

  • WorkSafe Tasmania - information on Tasmanian requirements work health and safety as well as tools and checklists. 

Last Updated: 22 August 2017

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