Planning an event

At Council we encourage communities to celebrate together, and we are excited to support a range of events across our municipality.

We have put together resources and advice to guide you with the planning of your event. Whether you are organising a public or private event, Swan Hill Rural City Council has a suitable location that will meet your needs.

If you are holding an event at a Council owned or managed facility it is the responsibility of the event organiser to ensure that all laws are complied with.

You will be required to complete a Event Management application form and provide the relevant permits / requirements.

Planning an event

Step 1.Start planning early

We advise you start planning three months prior to your event. This will ensure you have enough time to check availability of facilities and discuss your requirements.

Step 2.Organise funding

Through, event organisers can seek funding for new or emerging events or existing events that provide significant economic and/or social benefit to the region.

Learn more about Council’s Event Support Fund, and other grants.

Step 3.Read the Events Management Guide

The events management guide will assist event organisers to understand event requirements and to ensure their events are compliant, safe and enjoyable for all participants.

Event Management Guide and application forms(PDF, 1MB)

Step 4.Let us know your plans

We highly recommend completing our 'Intention to host an event' form prior to initiating your application process. Our committed team will guide you through the necessary documentation and offer valuable insights to enhance your application and streamline the entire process.

Intention to host an event

Step 5.Complete your event application

After your discussion with our events team you should have a good understanding of the requirement for completing your event application. Complete the form below if you are planning to hold an event on Council owned or managed property in the Swan Hill municipality. The guide will advise you of event requirements which MUST be provided to Council along with the application form at least four weeks prior to the event.

Event Management Guide and application forms(PDF, 1MB)

Step 6.Book your venue

We have a range of venues and sporting facilities available for hire.

Venue hire application

Step 7.Download and complete event application

Email your completed application and supporting documents to or drop it into 

Customer service

45 Splatt Street
Swan Hill
VIC 3585

72 Herbert Street
VIC 3549

View our opening hours

Step 8.Approval

We will let you know if your event is approved or if changes are required.

Step 9.Next steps

Once your event has been accepted, look at ways to promote your event.

Eligible groups can create a free event listing on the Council website.

Venues for hire

Council has many facilities available for event hire to the public. Should you wish to hire one of these facilities you will need to contact Council at least 3 months prior to your event to check availability and discuss your requirements.

No Council facility will be hired out without public liability insurance cover of at least 20 million in place by the hirer. Council does offer public liability cover for individuals, non-commercial, non-incorporated bodies who would not normally have this cover. Conditions do apply so check with Council. 


Risk Assessment

Risk management is an integral part of responsible event management. Event organisers have a responsibility to demonstrate that risks associated with events are being managed effectively in order to ensure the health and safety of everyone who might be affected by the event.

Undertaking a risk assessment prior to any event is a crucial step in the planning stage. It will ensure that risks are identified, are evaluated and controlled, which will result in better planning and a more successful event.

A comprehensive guide to risk assessment can be found in the Event Management Guide(PDF, 1MB).


Event organisers, whether Council, club, community group or individual, are responsible for ensuring that the necessary insurances are in place before the event can occur.

The event organiser must provide a copy of insurances for the event and the hiring application to the owner/manager of the property where the event will be held.

If the event is held on Council owned or managed property, Council must be provided with copies of all insurances covering the event.

Information on obtaining event insurance can be found by contacting an insurance provider directly, or by visiting

Public liability

All events MUST have public liability insurance with cover of at least $20 million in place before they can proceed. This provides the event organiser – whether it be Council, a club, community group or individual – indemnity against compensation claims resulting from injury or property damage due to negligence of event organisers, staff or volunteers.

Event public liability insurance does not cover other parties such as stallholders, performers, vendors, businesses or other people participating in the event. They must have their own public liability insurance and provide a copy of it to the event organiser.

Community liability insurance – casual hirers

Council offers this cover for uninsured hirers who wish to hire Council owned or controlled property. i.e. for weddings, birthday parties etc. This insurance is only available to individuals or groups, for non-profit making activities that do not have existing public liability insurance. A hire agreement must be in place for the insurance to be valid. Conditions apply.

Personal accident (volunteers)

Personal accident (also known as volunteers insurance) covers voluntary workers directly or indirectly connected with the event. A list of volunteers should be documented to support this insurance cover.

Event permits and requirements

Food and hygiene

Event organisers need to be aware of the health and safety issues associated with temporary food stalls, and that a permit is required before the sale and/or handling of food or drink can occur at an event.

All temporary and mobile food vendors must be registered on FoodTrader and submit a Statement of Trade at least five days prior to trading. This is a requirement under the Food Act 1984.

Event organisers need to check that food vendors have a Statement of Trade before allowing them to sell and/or handle food or drink at the event.

Who to contact
Public Health Services
Call: 03 5036 2333

Street trading and entertainment

If you are involved in any commercial activity on Council owned or managed land you will require a permit. This includes street stalls, trading or busking in addition to holding an event in a park and or reserve.  

Who to contact
Local Laws
Call: 03 5036 2333


If alcohol is to be supplied, consumed or sold at an event, you may require a valid liquor licence issued by Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation (VCGLR). It is recommended that applicants apply to VCGLR at least 6 weeks prior the event to allow sufficient time for the application to be processed.

Generally liquor licences are not required for private events where liquor will be supplied free of charge. A licence will always be required if liquor will be sold at an event. You should ensure that you register your event with the Victoria Police who will advise you if a liquor licence is required for your event.

Those selling alcohol must have completed the responsible serving of alcohol (RSA) training. You might also require a permit from Council’s Regulatory Services Department.  

Who to contact
Visit: Victoria Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation
Phone: 1300 182 457

Or contact Local Laws
Call: 03 5036 2333

Traffic management and road closures

If your event requires local road closures (affects road traffic), you will need to lodge an application with Council at least sixty days prior to your event (1). You will need to submit with your event application a copy of your public liability insurance, evidence you have notified the local police and a Traffic Management Plan from an accredited traffic management firm.

Events on roads application

Closure of any main arterial road within the Swan Hill municipality (as listed below) will require approval from VicRoads at least 60 days prior to the event. You should contact them directly to discuss your requirements.

Arterial roads (managed by Vic Roads)

  • Murray Valley Highway (including Curlewis Street)
  • Mallee Highway
  • Hattah-Robinvale Road
  • Donald-Swan Hill Road
  • Robinvale-Sea Lake Road
  • Sea Lake-Swan Hill Road (including McCallum Street)

Once road closure approvals have been granted, Council will contact all emergency services approx. a week before the event. Council will also advertise the road closure in the local newspaper at a cost to the event organiser.

Who to contact
Infrastructure department
Call: 03 5036 2333

Or contact
VicRoads on 13 17 71 or email
Victoria Police on 03 5036 1600


Fireworks and pyrotechnics must only to be carried out by a licensed pyrotechnician who is accredited by Work Safe Victoria. The pyrotechnician will be required to submit a notification of intention to discharge fireworks, a risk assessment and a site plan to Council for the event. If the day of the event is declared a total fire ban, additional permits must be sought from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) before proceeding.

Who to contact
Local Laws
Call: 03 5036 2333
Or Accredited pyrotechnicians
Or CFA Swan Hill on 03 5036 2800

Temporary structures

If you plan to erect one of the following temporary structures you need a temporary occupancy permit (TOP) from Council. A registered building practitioner must erect any of these temporary structures.

  • Tents, marquees or booths with a floor area greater than 100m2
  • Seating stands for more than 20 persons
  • Stages or platforms (including stage wings and sky borders exceeding 150m2 in floor area)
  • Prefabricated buildings exceeding 100m2 other than ones placed directly on the ground surface.

The erection of the above temporary structures is subject to the approval of Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor.  

Who to contact
Building Department
Call: 03 5036 2396

Places of Public Entertainment (POPE)

If you are holding an event in a location not deemed to be normal practice, i.e. a music concert on a football oval, this area is classed as a Place of Public Entertainment (POPE). Under the Building Act 1993 and Building Regulations 2018, you must obtain a POPE occupancy permit from Council.

The following are examples of POPE:

  • A building of more than 500m2 or prescribed temporary structure
  • A place of more than 500m2 used for entertainment that is enclosed, substantially enclosed or to which admission can be gained by payment of money or other consideration
  • The event exceeds 5,000 people

Exemption applies to Community Based Organisations

Community based organisations using outdoor recreational facilities that are greater than 500 square metres (without temporary structures) and with a crowd, less than 5,000 will be exempt from the requirement of a POPE occupancy permit.  

Apply for POPE permit

Who to contact
Building department
Call: 03 5036 2333
or Victorian Building Authority on 1300 815 127

Amusement rides

If you are planning any kind of amusement rides at your event you must ensure it is safe for public use. It is important to check with the commercial operator and ensure they have the following in place:

  • Appropriate pubic liability insurances (a copy must be supplied to Council showing a minimum of $20 million in public liability)
  • Powered amusement devices must be registered with Work Safe and certified
  • A competent operator with a valid licence to operate the amusement ride
  • An up to date inspection/maintenance log book for the ride and that daily inspections are carried out prior to use
  • Risk warning signage present
  • Adequate supervision, barriers and personnel will be used at the amusement ride
  • If the activity involves people under the age of 18 years, you must ensure that all staff have current working with children’s checks, documentation or a written statement of this need to be provided.

NOTE: Inflatable jumping castles or similar require adherence to Australian Standard 3533.4.1.

Inflatable amusement devices can become a hazard if not properly set up and operated. They can become airborne during strong wind gusts, collapse trapping patrons and become overcrowded causing injury without adequate supervision.

Inflatable devices should be:

  • Secured and anchored with anchor points as per manufacturer’s instructions
  • Evacuated when wind gusts exceed more than 40km an hour
  • Installed with suitable impact absorbing mats at entrances/exits where falls can occur
  • Supervised and operated at by competent person
  • Inspected for rips and tears  

Who to contact
Work Safe Victoria on 1800 136 089
Land-borne inflatable amusement devices
Amusement ride hire checklists

Working with Children

Checks If any staff or volunteers associated with the event will be working with, supervising, or responsible for persons under the age of 18 years they must have a current Working with Children’s Check and carry the card with them at all times. For all staff, volunteers and vendors involved with your event whose activities involve persons under the age of 18 for example jumping castles, pony rides, face painting; must hold current Working with Children’s Checks. Some exemptions do apply.

A Working with Children Check is free for volunteers and can be completed online via the website below.  

Who to contact
Working with Children

Event planning and advice

Many things must be considered when planning an event to ensure it runs smoothly and is safe for those attending. In addition to permits and other requirements, Council also requires evidence that event planning has been completed and documented by providing an Event Management Plan.

To assist event organisers, an Event Management Plan form has been created detailing areas that should be considered. Some of these areas have been outlined in this section.

Event details

It is important that the event organiser provide details of the event to Council using the online Event Management Application form (which can be downloaded from Council’s website). This will allow Council to determine if the event is safe, well organised and suitable to be run on Council owned or managed property.

Event organiser

The event organiser is the person responsible for the overall organisation of the event. They must ensure that all the required insurances, permits and measures are in place with those participating i.e. vendors, stallholders, volunteers and attending the event.

The event organiser is the name that appears on the public liability insurance certificate of currency. Any legal liability for injuries or property damage sustained to third parties as a result of the event will in most cases rest with them.


A larger size event and/or the presence of alcohol will require security. It is important that the presence of licensed security personnel be considered for events on a case-by-case basis for crowd control and
equipment and cash protection.

To enable security to perform their duties effectively it is vital that they are appropriately briefed prior to the event. The briefing should include:

  • A site map including entrances, exits, first aid posts and any potential hazards
  • Direction on the management of unacceptable behaviour
  • Details of emergency management plan in the event of an evacuation, and their role
  • Communication plan

Hire of facility and grounds

Council owns or manages a number of facilities and grounds that are available to third parties to hire to hold events.

To hire one of these facilities and grounds
Customer Service Department
Call: 03 5036 2333

To hire a facility from Council for a promoted public event you will be required to provide Council with the necessary insurances, permits/licences, risk assessment and event management plan before your event will be formally approved.

Inspection of facility and grounds

An event held on Council owned or managed property must be inspected by the event organiser and a Council officer before and after the event. This will enable any problems or hazards to be identified and

Property damaged as a result of the event is the responsibility of the event organiser. Refer to the Facility/Grounds Inspection form in the application section.

Emergency Management/Response Plan

It is important that event organisers consider how they will respond to an emergency during the event and how they will ensure the safety of workers, volunteers and patrons. A copy of the event’s Emergency
Management/Response Plan should be provided to all event organisers, key stakeholders, police and emergency service personnel.

The following should be considered in the plan:

  • Advising or having emergency services personnel available at the event.
  • A list of emergency personnel, and their contact details, who are authorised to evacuate people.
  • Clear access and exit points available for emergency services personnel to reach patrons.
  • Meeting point for emergency personnel (if required).
  • Evacuation routes and designated evacuation assembly areas. These are to be included in the site map.
  • A Communication Plan including how communication take place between chief , wardens, emergency services personnel and patrons

First aid arrangements

The provision of first aid is critical at any event and will depend on the number of attendees expected. First aid posts must be equipped and easy for patrons to find. The table below is a guide suggested by St John’s Ambulance.

A record of first aid injuries requiring treatment is to be kept by the first aid officers, and provided to the event organiser at the end of the event. This document may be required should a claim be made after the event.

Patrons First Aiders First Aid Posts
500 2 1
1,000 4 1
2,000 6 1
5,000 8 2
10,000 12 2
20,000 22+ 4

From October 2021, all First Aid Service providers in Victoria require a first aid licence under the Non-Emergency Patient Transport and First Aid Services Act 2003. Having a licenced first aid service is important to ensure the provision of quality and safe patient care.

Licenced first aid services will be required to comply with the Non-Emergency Patient Transport and First Aid Services (First Aid Services) Regulations 2021.

The register of licenced first aid services and a FAQ on engaging a first aid service provider is available on the Department of Health website.

A first aid service is an individual or organisation that offers or provides first aid in exchange for payment. The following do not operate as a first aid service, and therefore do not require a first aid service licence:

  • A volunteer first aid association (including any individual who provides first aid as part of that volunteer first aid association), unless payment has been made for the service provided.
  • A medical clinic or other health services. For example, a hospital
  • An individual who provides first aid in the course of their work at a hospital, medical clinic or allied health service
  • An employee of an organisation who provides first aid to other organisation employees or volunteers as part of the organisation’s business. For example, a person who is employed by amine operator to provide first aid to staff of that mine operator.
  • An individual who provides first aid on an adhoc basis, in their day-to-day life.

Who to contact
Department of Health
Visit: First Aid Services – Department of Health

Incident reporting

The event organiser should keep a record of all injuries or property damage that occurs at the event in case a claim is made. If an incident does occur, an Incident Report Form should be completed by the event organiser and anyone else affected to gather as much information as possible. Photos should also be taken if possible and attached to the incident report form. A copy of the form must also be submitted to Council.


Every event should aim to provide adequate toilet facilities. For small events, public toilets may be adequate but larger events may require the hire of additional toilet units. The number of toilets required will depend on the anticipated crowd numbers, patron gender and whether alcohol will be served at the event. Toilets should be located in a space which allows clear access for patrons.

It is recommended that toilets be cleaned every two to three hours during the event, depending on volume. An extra charge may apply for additional cleaning to Council’s public conveniences.

Outdoor events require a ratio of approximately one toilet to every 200 people, plus one toilet with wheelchair access and baby change facilities.

The provision and number of toilets may be part of your POPE permit conditions.

Who to contact
Building Department
Phone: 03 5036 2396

Waste management

Council’s public place litter bins are not provided for use by the event holder or their participants. Event organisers are solely responsible for the waste and litter generated by their event and must arrange and provide satisfactory waste management services to the satisfaction of the Council. For catered events, it is recommended that waste stations consist of both general waste and recycling bins. A standard formula for determining how many waste stations to provide is one 240-litre wheelie bin per 50 patrons. Waste stations should be located near eating areas, exits and entrances.

Additional waste bins and pick up services can be arranged with a local waste provider. Event organisers must ensure that the facility is left clean and tidy. Any costs incurred by Council to address remaining waste after the event will be passed onto the event holder.

Who to contact
Local Waste Management Provider


Clear and appropriate signage should be used to help inform and direct patrons to:

  • Parking
  • Entrance conditions
  • Toilet facilities
  • Site and safety rules
  • Rules relating the serving and consumption of alcohol

Signs should be strategically placed so patrons are informed before entering the event. This minimises confusion, conflict and congestion at entry and exit points.

Lighting and power

Lighting for an event should be adequate to identify exits as well as corridors and aisles leading to them. The event organiser should become familiar with the location and operation of controls for lighting.

If on-site electricity is required for an event, it is essential to check which services are available and where they are located. It is the event organisers responsibility to ensure all leads, equipment and appliances
used are tested, tagged and comply with all legislative requirements including Electrical Safety (Installation) Regulations 2009 and relevant standards. All events with electrical installations must have
suitable fire extinguishers or other devices present.

Who to contact
Council’s Parks and Gardens Unit
Call 03 5036 2333


Event organisers need to consider the health and comfort of patrons, especially during the summer months. It is recommended that drinking water be made freely available. If this is not feasible, water should be sold as the cheapest option.

BBQ gas bottles

Event organisers are required to ensure gas cylinders used at events comply with the Australian Standard: The Storage and Handling of LP Gas (AS/NZS 1596:2014)

Check that all portable gas cylinders before using are:

  • Located in a well ventilated outdoor area (never indoors)
  • safely secured and anchored by a safety chain to prevent falling
  • checked for leakages by inspecting the hose and regulator for cracking, splitting or other damage
  • at least 20 metres away from any flammable objects or sources of ignition.


The use of volunteers to support the staging of events is a great way to boost resources, spread the workload and increase participation. Staff and volunteers should be provided with pre event training, including clarifying roles, responsibilities and procedures especially in communication, emergency and security.

Use of volunteers must be included and covered under your insurance policy. (Refer to Section 3a Volunteers Insurance) A volunteer sign in/sign out register must be in place and include the date, name of volunteer, start and end times, duties and space for the volunteers signature. This register is required to support the volunteer insurance policy.

Amplified music and licensing

Under the Australian Copyright Act 1968, music is protected by copyright law and you require a licence to publicly perform either live and/or recorded music at a festival or event.

Permission is provided in the form of licenses from the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA). The most common licence is a free event licence, for events that are free to the public.

Who to contact
APRA Website


Consideration must be given to how noise from your event impacts on surrounding areas i.e. neighbors, other businesses etc. Negative impacts should be minimised by careful planning and communication to those who may be affected. It is suggested you notify these people in writing of the event and duration and
times of music.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) regulates noise for large outdoor music events.

Who to contact
EPA website 
Call: 1300 372 842

Helium balloon release

Releasing balloons into the environment is littering and illegal in Victoria. There are penalties for releasing balloons into the environment. The EPA recommends that you don’t use balloons outdoors. If using balloons is unavoidable make sure you strongly secure them and correctly dispose of accessories like clips and ribbons.

Alternatives to balloons include blowing bubbles, floating flowers and paper decorations.

Who to contact
EPA website
Call: 1300 372 842

During and post event

Once all pre-event actions have been completed and the event is ready to go ahead, it is important for the event organiser to continue to monitor risks which may arise during the event.

It is important that all staff, marshals, officials and volunteers be given a running sheet of how the day will proceed. A good running sheet includes a timeline of the event set up, locations, program details, completion details, signoff and pack up.

Post event

Once the event is over an evaluation should be conducted. This can be achieved in a number of ways, including:

  • Attendance surveys
  • One-on-one discussions with community members, businesses and key stakeholders
  • A debriefing forum
  • Collection of visitor data during the event.