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5. Consents And Approvals To Stage A Dance Party
Where Dance parties are held
Dance parties have been held everywhere, from inner city to country locations, and in different venues, from clubs and halls, to sports stadia, disused factories and warehouses. One result of using unusual venues is that they will probably not have the consents or approvals required by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act), or the Local Government Act 1993 (LG Act).
Dance parties may be held as a part of open air music festivals or concerts. Open air functions only need approval under the LG Act for any building work such as the erection of stages, temporary buildings etc. An open air venue does not need a "place of public entertainment" approval, as detailed in this Code. However, consent may still be needed under the EP & A Act.
Where open air concerts use amplification equipment, and have a crowd capacity of over 10,000 people, the Dance party will require a Pollution Control Approval and Licence from the Environment Protection Authority. Open air Dance parties should be held well away from homes or residential areas. As most Dance parties are held indoors, this Code of Practice focuses on Dance parties held within buildings.
Dance parties are also held in hotels and registered clubs, many of which already have the right approvals and consents. Hotels and registered clubs usually serve alcohol, so in addition to the EP&A Act and the LG Act, the Liquor Act and the Registered Clubs Act also apply (see Section 4 of this Code). The timing and nature of events in these venues can be held in accordance with the terms of the existing consents and approvals.
Promoters aiming at people under 18 must make sure that alcohol is not brought into the party. Since October 1996, licensed premises are now allowed to stage alcohol free entertainment in authorised sections of the premises. Equally, all promoters of Dance parties must make sure that illegal drugs and alcohol are not brought into the party, or sold or distributed at the party.
Approvals Required Under The Environmental Planning And Assessment Act
Planning for public events is regulated by the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act (EP&A Act).
Dance parties may need a Development Application (DA) depending on their size, location and duration. In some circumstances, a Dance party may be a 'use' of the land, and therefore a 'development' under the EP&A Act. This matter needs to be made clear in each individual case. Promoters should seek advice from the local Council or their own expert planning adviser.
The ideal location for a Dance party is where:
The Planning Situation
Where you can hold a Dance party without development consent
Where you can hold a Dance party with development consent
Where you cannot hold a Dance party
Where the zoning prohibits activities such as Dance parties in the area which includes the proposed venue, then the party cannot take place in that venue.
Chart Showing How Local Environmental Plans Work
First, look at the local planning instruments to see if a Dance party is:
Approvals Required Under The Local Government Act 1993 (LG Act)
The most important approvals under Section 68 of the LG Act are:
Dance parties are considered to be "public entertainment" and the use of the building or a temporary structure for public entertainment requires an A8 approval. "Public entertainment" is where people pay money, or other consideration, to gain admission to the event (even if only some people are charged). A consideration includes a charge for a meal or other refreshment. However, in the case of premises licensed under the Liquor Act or Registered Clubs Act, even "free" entertainment requires an approval. If a "temporary structure", such as a circus tent or marquee is used, then an Approval A4 install a temporary structure on land is also required.
The promoter of a Dance party at a particular venue may also need an approval under the LG Act to change the use of a building (Approval A7) from the use currently approved, in order to check fire safety standards. This would be the case with a warehouse or factory building, which is a class 8 building under the Building Code of Australia (BCA) whereas a "place of public entertainment" is a class 9 building. An A7 approval may be applied for at the same time as an A8 approval.
It is useful to note that clause 70(g) of the Local Government (Approvals) Regulation) allows an exemption from 7A approvals for existing buildings used as places of public entertainment for 'short durations' (such a for example, 72 hours, or 7 days, if the Council decides the change of use is unnecessary. Also, for A8 Approvals using existing buildings as a place of public entertainment, clauses 18, 23 and 25 of the same Regulation allows Councils the option to decide to lower or vary the standards from those expected of new buildings.
Premises with an approval
Buildings already approved for public entertainment have been assessed by Council (to see if it complies with the Building Code of Australia) to be safe for a large number of people, and to allow quick exit from the building if there is a fire.
An existing approval will:
Enquire at the local Council if there is any doubt about the approval, its conditions or if a copy is not available.
Premises where an approval must be obtained
Promoters should consider the suitability of the building for the Dance party. They should talk to the local Council to assess what may be needed to obtain the necessary approvals.
The technical issues involved in assessing suitability usually means getting advice from a building professional such as an architect, consultant building surveyor or similar expert. They would need to inspect the premises, examine building plans and note the services available in the building.
Details of the number of people expected at the Dance party, and the range of entertainment being planned, would need to be considered.
Consultants with the relevant information (often available from the building owner) can conduct an initial assessment of the suitability of the building as a place of public entertainment.
The application for Council's approval
This will be needed if:
The promoter can lodge an application for an approval, accompanied by the written consent of the building owner.
The application must be made on a form available from each Council. It must be accompanied by a fee which is set by the Council. (Any A7 approval needed should also be lodged at the same time).
Deciding on (Determining) the application
In determining an application for a LG Act approval, a Council must consider whether any consent required under the EP&A Act has been given, or whether the use is prohibited (from receiving consent) by a planning instrument such as a local environment plan of the Council.
It is a statutory requirement for any approval, in addition to any conditions attached by the Council, that standard management and use conditions for places of public entertainment, set out in Schedule 2 of the Local Government (Approvals) Regulation 1993 must be complied with. The management and use conditions details requirements for fire safety officers; trained people for stage performances etc.
These requirements also generally apply to temporary structures used as places of public entertainment. For temporary structures an application for an A4 approval should accompany the A8 approval application.
LG Act s68 (Approvals A4, A7 and A8); Division 3 of Chapter 7 Ss 75-113. LG (Approvals) Regulation; Clauses 16, 18 and 38 Schedule 2.
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