Event Planning

1. Planning

The following questions should be asked by event organisers prior to planning an event:

  • What is the event aiming to achieve?
  • Is there a simpler alternative that may provide the same outcome?
  • Who will be the event organiser and who will participate?
  • Where and when will the event be held?
  • What activities would be included?
  • Do you have the infrastructure, resources and personnel available to make this event a success?
  • Have you prepared a budget and considered costs such as insurance, facilities and equipment hire, traffic control, wages and entertainment?
  • What approvals may be required?
  • Is there sufficient lead time to allow for approvals such as the booking of venues and performers, grants/funding/sponsors, research and marketing, traffic management plans etc?

2. Timing

When considering an appropriate date for your event, there are a number of key issues:

  • Lead Time - Six months is an ideal lead time.
  • Competition - Consider events on the same or nearby dates, similar types (including sporting events) and location of events.
  • Climate - Weather conditions could impact your event. What considerations need to be made eg relocation of event on a wet day.
  • Peak Periods - Advantages and disadvantages of holding events on public holidays or school holidays.
  • Bookings - Availability of facilities or location, volunteers and any required equipment.
  • Approvals - Ensure there is sufficient lead time to acquire relative approvals

3. Roles and Responsibilities

A successful event requires many roles with clear responsibilities outlined to all involved.

Event Organiser

A primary consideration is to determine who holds the responsibility for the event. It is necessary to nominate an Event Coordinator as the organiser and define who they are representing, whether it is an individual, group or committee. The Event Coordinator will be the lead responsibility for planning, arranging and delegating requirements for the event and for the arrangement of public liability insurance.

The Event Coordinator will be responsible for completing the necessary approvals required to hold an event. Including;

  • Event Notification and Application Form
  • Risk Management Forms
  • Casual Hire of Council Facilities Application
  • various other forms listed in this guide relating to different aspects of the Event.

Greater Hume Council

Here are the levels which Council may be involved in an event.

  • Events initiated, managed and only involving Council - Council holds complete responsibility for the event.
  • Council is the main organiser of an event and other organisations take part - Council holds the overall responsibility of the event and has the authority to determine terms and conditions of participation.
  • Council is a participant but not the main organiser - Council is only responsible for a defined role with the community group or individual organising the event providing overall responsibility.
  • Council is the venue owner – Council’s responsibility is to ensure the venue is safe, suitable for the purpose and to the set terms of condition of use.
  • Council is the approval authority - Council performs a regulatory function only.

4. Location

Booking a Council Venue

Council owned venues are made available to the community and private organisations subject to availability. Bookings for Council operated venues can be arranged by contacting Council and a Casual Hire of Council Facilities Application must be completed. Consider when booking a venue requirements such as lighting, toilets, traffic, parking, electricity, garbage and ease of access. These factors may determine which venue is suitable. A list of Council Facilities is available here. 

Site Plan

A site plan displaying the entrances, exits and facilities can provide valuable assistance with the following requirements:

  • Applying to Council for permission to stage the event.
  • Applying to government agencies and other regulatory authorities for special licences and approvals.
  • Identifying potential risks and safety requirements.
  • Providing information for emergency services eg location of potential hazards, emergency vehicle access, etc.
  • Considering crowd management.


Where possible onsite parking should be available to reduce the demand in nearby streets. Offsite parking areas should not be in locations which result in large numbers of people walking through residential areas. Promotional and advertising material should advise of the locations of public car parks and nearby available parking and also encourage the use of transport services where they are available. A Traffic Management Plan and Traffic Marshals may be required to ensure safe and efficient movement and parking of vehicles if the event is located on a public road (including road closures).


Consider the impact your event will have on the environment at your chosen location and how the environment will serve your event.


The impact of weather will depend on the activities you are coordinating, these should be included in the Risk Assessment. The Committee should also have in place arrangements to deal with conditions such as:

  • Heat - provision of shelter and shade, water, first aid, sunscreen and mosquito repellent.
  • Wind - provision of shelter, structures and dangerous items need to be secure.
  • Rain - provision of shelter, sufficient site drainage and protection of leads and wiring.
  • Hail - provision of shelter.
  • Cold - provision of shelter and warmth.

In the case of extreme weather or upon advice from Police, State Emergency Services or Rural Fire Service it may be necessary to cancel or postpone the event to ensure the safety and security of those present.

Toilets and Amenities

Adequate toilet facilities must be provided for the duration of the event. Facilities for people with disabilities should be provided and baby change/ parenting facilities and sanitary requirements should be considered and if required provide portable toilets. If your event requires an Application for Development/ Construction, details of existing and additional facilities should be included.


Events can generate large amounts of waste. Adequate garbage and recycling facilities must be provided and catered for where attendees are greater than the normal number using the venue. A Waste Management Plan may be required. Council can make arrangements for additional garbage bins for events at a cost, contact Greater Hume Council. Council encourages the use of recyclable food containers and drink bottles.


It is illegal for offensive noise to emanate from a public place so it is important to carefully consider the following impacts:

  • Noise may be a concern to residents living in the vicinity of the venues and can significantly reduce residents’ enjoyment of their home and neighbourhood.
  • The ability to adjust noise levels immediately (if there is a noise complaint or a request from authorities) as the Event Organiser may be issued with a warning or fine.
  • Protection for staff and volunteers working in noisy areas.
  • Dependent on the equipment utilised, qualified sound/audio technicians might be required.
  • Noise requirements may vary from event to event.

Air Quality

Due to dust issues, sealed and grassed areas are preferable for many events. Suppression methods such as watering may be required during the event to reduce issues associated with dust. The use of aircraft including hot air balloons, helicopters, planes etc is regulated by CASA Air Services. Most aviation companies would hold a certificate from CASA to operate aircraft in the commercial environment and therefore would be familiar with the process with which to obtain any necessary approvals. Contact CASA via email: southern.region@casa.gov.au or telephone: 131 757 (a free national call number).

Any fireworks must be carried out by an accredited technician licensed by WorkCover and a WorkCover permit is required. Council and the Police are to be notified and approval will be required for any fireworks on public lands. In assessing the fireworks application Council will consider potential issues to the area, such as noise disturbances and distress to animals.

When selecting a location you need to also consider hiring costs, weather conditions, number of people attending and site suitability and safety.

5. Protocols

Aboriginal Cultural Protocols and Practices

The traditional owners of the area of Greater Hume are the Wiradjuri people. Aboriginal people are the original owners of the land and it is important that this special position of Aboriginal people is recognised and incorporated into official protocol to enable the wider community to share in Aboriginal culture and facilitate better relationships between Aboriginal people and the general community.

By incorporating Aboriginal cultural practices/ ceremonies into official events we are able to:

  • Recognise and pay respect to Aboriginal peoples, cultures and heritage.
  • Communicate Aboriginal cultural practices to the broader community to promote respect and understanding.
  • Demonstrate that Aboriginal cultures are living through maintenance and practice of ceremonies and protocols.
  • Demonstrate recognition of Aboriginal peoples unique position which can assist in building relationships and partnerships.

The type of ceremony undertaken at an official event should be appropriate to the nature and size of each event in accordance with the procedures set out below and negotiations with local Aboriginal Elders and organisations. The planning timetable of official events should allow time for negotiations with Aboriginal communities as well as discussion and decision making within those communities.

When planning a major official event, you should consult with a number of organisations to plan and organise ceremonies. These organisations include; the Local Aboriginal Land Council, other regional Aboriginal representative or advisory structures, Native Title Services NSW, NSW Aboriginal Land Council and/or Aboriginal Affairs NSW. These organisations can provide specific information on:

  • Appropriate ceremonies and performances.
  • Aboriginal Elders and communities who should be contacted.
  • Contacts for Aboriginal cultural practice provider.

As a minimum requirement, an Acknowledgement of Country ceremony should be undertaken. A protocol for the ceremony is provided below. At events at which flags are shown, the order of display, from an audience perspective from left to right, the Australian flag, the NSW flag, the Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islander flag. Communities are encouraged to be innovative in recognising Aboriginal heritage. Other ceremonies or practices may also be undertaken as considered appropriate by Aboriginal people, including dances and performances.

Welcome to Country

The Welcome to Country ceremony should, where possible, be undertaken by Elders, locally recognised Aboriginal community spokesperson or locally recognised cultural service provider. There is no exact wording when Welcoming to Country. As such, the content of the ceremony should be negotiated between the agency and the provider with reference to the nature of the event and community practices. Generally, providers offer participants local Aboriginal history and cultural information and will go on to welcome the delegates to the country.

Acknowledgement of Country

An Acknowledgment of Country is a way that nonAboriginal people can show respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and the ongoing relationship of traditional owners with the land. A Chair or Speaker begins the meeting by acknowledging that the meeting is taking place in the country of the traditional owners. On occasion, there may be disputes about who the traditional owners are. Those who acknowledge the country, can ‘acknowledge all the traditional owners of the land’ or can ‘acknowledge the traditional owners of this land’ without naming those people. Acknowledging Country in this way will not cause offence where there is some potential or actual dispute around ownership.

Typical Acknowledgement of Country statements can include:I would like to acknowledge that this meeting is being held on the traditional lands of the (appropriate group) people. I would like to acknowledge that this meeting is being held on Aboriginal land and recognise the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal people in this land.

Smoking Ceremony

Smoking ceremonies are conducted by Aboriginal people with specialized cultural knowledge. The ceremony aims to cleanse the space in which the ceremony takes place. Given the significant nature of the ceremony, smoking ceremonies are usually only performed at major events. In providing cultural services such as Welcome to Country, artistic performances and ceremonies Aboriginal people are using their intellectual property, therefore these services should be appropriately remunerated, this should be negotiated between the cultural service provider and the agency, considering travel to and from and public profile of the event. Contact Aboriginal Affairs NSW for information: Phone: 1800 019 998 or Email: enquiries@aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au.

Inviting Officials and VIPS

It is important that you forward any invitations and address relevant officials/VIP’s to the event in plenty of time. Most of these people book their schedule well in advance and Event Organisers may be disappointed if this causes them to miss the opportunity to attend. An official/VIP is best booked directly by the Event Organisers in writing to the person.

To book the Mayor, a Councillor or the General Manager of Greater Hume Council you will need to forward your request to Council in writing as early as possible prior to your event, preferably up to 90 days before the proposed event date. 

6. Human Resources

Volunteers and Workers

It is important to ensure you have sufficient personnel to assist in the organisation and running of your event in a safe manner, volunteers can also provide invaluable assistance. Partnering with local clubs and organisations is a great way to obtain volunteer assistance and this in turn provides a community sense of inclusiveness. Local sporting clubs and service clubs such as Lions and Rotary can often be a source of voluntary assistance.

A volunteer is defined as a person that undertakes an activity where the intent is to provide a tangible benefit without any expectation or entitlement to personal remuneration. Professional advice should be sought during the process of arranging insurance for your event to ensure that volunteer activity is covered should an incident or loss occur. If paid staff or contractors are required at your event it is important to consider insurance such as workers compensation and understand other requirements that may apply in the process of their employment. All staff and volunteers are required to comply with the NSW Work Health and Safety Act 2017 and therefore event organisers have a duty of care to ensure that they are working in a safe environment.

All personnel should be inducted to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities, the activities being undertaken and relevant safety requirements. In some instances additional checks may be required such as Working with Children Check, Police Check and References. For further information regarding Working with Children Checks visit www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au or call 02 9286 7219.

As the organiser of the event you are responsible to ensure that the participants are familiar with the site and a pre-event induction should be undertaken to ensure the safety of workers and volunteers. A volunteer sign on/off sheet is recommended and can assist to ensure that all workers are addressed.

For any volunteers acting on behalf of Council, for example, where Council (or a Committee of Council) is a participant or the primary organiser of the event, Council’s volunteer guidelines and policy should be adhered to. A copy of Council’s Volunteer Policy and the Volunteer Guidelines is available on Councils website under Management Committees of Council (355). Most importantly don’t forget to thank and acknowledge the contribution of your volunteer workforce.


Event Organiser’s may require people with particular expertise to deal with situations that might arise. The number of stewards and marshals required will depend on several factors such as if the event is indoors or outdoors, how many children are likely to attend, the time, the weather and so on. Smaller events may use helpers and volunteers as stewards, while major events will often need professional stewards hired for the occasion. All stewards must be properly trained and briefed.

Accreditation/Role Recognition

It is important for the Event Organiser to be able to clearly and quickly identify authorised personnel, ensuring members of the public are not in high-risk areas eg money collection and food preparation areas, places where hazardous materials are accessible and so on. Identifying authorised personnel through “accreditation” can be simple or complex depending on the nature of your event. Some ways of accrediting authorised personnel include:

  • Authorised staff, volunteers, suppliers and contractors, wearing coloured t-shirts or hats, with an organisational logo.
  • Providing staff/volunteers/suppliers/ contractors/media with colour-coded identification tags that are worn around the neck or at the wrist and are visible at all times.
  • Coding clothing or tags according to the areas the staff/volunteers are allowed to access.

7. Physical Resources

The Event Organiser will also need to consider how to ensure that non-accredited people do not access restricted areas and if by chance they do, how they will be removed from these areas. Measures for restricting access could include fencing, using security guards, briefing staff and volunteers and using signage. Structural and equipment requirements for the activities that will occur at your event will determine the physical resources that you may need to locate, contract, hire or purchase.


Before building or installing any structures at the event, permission from the venue or landowner will need to be sought. Depending on the structure, the Event Organiser may, in some instances, also be required to lodge a Application for Development/ Construction with Council or provide certification by an accredited engineer.

For safety reasons you should engage the services of an expert to build any structures. Structures might include:

  • Staging.
  • Amusement rides.
  • Lighting rigs.
  • Marquees.
  • Stalls.
  • Information booths.


Various items of equipment may be required including tables and chairs, public address and sound equipment, catering equipment or other specific equipment dependant on the nature of your event. Creating an equipment list at an early stage is important to establish whether hire may be required and to determine availability. You should also consider the provision of equipment with those that are providing services such as entertainment and catering.  


Signage/banners may be required to display information such as:

  • Parking/no parking areas.
  • Toilets.
  • First aid.
  • Entrances and exits.
  • Venue maps.

If liquor is being sold the Event Organiser will be required to display a number of signs under the liquor laws eg the statutory notice stating the offence of supplying liquor to a minor.

Compliance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act regulations on erecting signage is required. Under the Local Government Act 1993 approval is required to erect a banner over a street. In addition, to erect a sign on a road governed by Transport NSW, approval from both Council and Transport NSW will be required.

Use of Council Plant

Council permits the use of Council owned plant being used on community projects out of hours at no cost providing the community organisations negotiate with a regular Council operator to volunteer their time. Plant which falls into this ‘community use’ category includes:

  • Graders.
  • Front-end loaders.
  • Backhoes.
  • Trucks, etc.

The approval of Director Engineering or Manager Works is required prior to use.

8. Finance and Funding

Events provide many economic benefits for our community however to ensure individual events are appropriately managed it is important that the financial aspect of running your event is carefully considered.


Budgeting is an essential tool to ensure the appropriate cash flow to fund all aspects and make payment of accounts when required for your event. Costs should be researched for the required resources and conservative estimates of income and expenses determined. Financial information should be regularly updated during the course of organising your event to ensure success. Some examples of items that may be included in your budget are shown in the table below: 

Income   Expenses
Earned Income Ticket Sales Marketing and Adverstising
  Stallholder Fees Administration
  Merchandise Sales Equipment Hire
  Food and Drink Sales Site and Booking Fees
  Bar Sales Production Costs
Unearned Income Sponserships Wages
  Grants Insurance
  Donations GST

Record Keeping

Financial records including invoices and receipts should be maintained by someone with appropriate skills. Many clubs and organisations are not tax exempt and it is therefore necessary to consider whether GST implications apply. Any queries should be directed to the Australian Taxation Office or an accountant.


It is important to make arrangements for the safe collection of money. The following requirements may need to be considered:

Prior to the event, eg ticketing:

  • How sales will be undertaken, cash or card?.
  • Who will collect/take money?
  • Banking/storage of cash.
  • Record keeping.

Collection of money at the event, eg gate collection, sales:

  • Gate collection – is fencing required?
  • Security and storage.
  • Transfer of cash – frequency?
  • EFTPOS Machines

Any person handling large sums of money should be trained in the correct procedures. To ensure your committee’s profit and safety is protected it is recommended that appropriate money-handling precautions are in place. In some instances it may not be the best practice to collect money at the event.

Ticket Sales

Consideration needs to be given towards the cost of the ticket and how your ticket sales will be conducted. Options available for ticket sales include online, via ticketing agents or upon entry to the event. The design and printing of tickets should be arranged and consideration given towards policies for refunds and lost or stolen tickets. If your organisation is GST applicable it is necessary to include this in the cost of your tickets.


Grants from a variety of sources may be available to assist with funding for your event. Greater Hume Grant Finder, located on Greater Hume website is available for businesses and community organisations to register for email alerts when relevant grants are open. Grant Finder is a valuable source of information regarding grants with government, private and philanthropic funds focussed towards a variety of areas (eg health, sport, culture, arts). In researching grants that may be available it is important to identify that the purpose and goals of your event, and that the status of the committee meet the guidelines for the grant you are considering. Planning is required in any application for grant funding. 


Organisers may wish to undertake fundraising prior to their event to assist with financial requirements such as insurance and other pre-event requirements.


Sponsorship provides the necessary funding to assist your event, the business owners gain significant marketing opportunities and can build a positive relationship with their market through their involvement with your event. A sponsorship proposal should include the following:

  • An event description and details of the organiser.
  • Identify common objectives between the business and your event.
  • Clearly link the event with the sponsor through identifying common goals.
  • An outline of how your event will help your potential sponsor achieve their business objectives eg increased sales, higher profile, enhanced reputation.
  • Provide benefits and value such as advertising, free tickets, in kind, sponsor recognition, signage, logos on publicity material, hospitality and exclusivity.
  • Marketing information including targets.
  • Product or in-kind sponsorship rather than cash from businesses that may be able to provide a necessary item or service that is required.
  • An explanation of how you will evaluate the success of the sponsorship eg surveys of sponsor name recall at the event, increased business after the event.

Again the best way to deliver a proposal is in person at a meeting, where the opportunity to “sell” the contents and take any questions can occur. Let colleagues and networks know about opportunities. They can then mention them to potential sponsors or even introduce you. Other means of promotion are social media, websites, including industry sites, teaser brochures, industry databases, networking functions and conferences. Most importantly it is essential to thank your sponsors during and after the event to recognise their generous support. 

When you have secured your sponsor:

  • Develop a written agreement clearly outlining what you would like from the sponsor and what you will deliver in return. For simple sponsorships a letter is sufficient. For large or more complex sponsorships it is best for a solicitor to draft a sponsorship agreement.
  • Nominate one contact person from your organisation to liaise with the sponsor.
  • Regularly update your sponsor about the progress of the event, don’t wait until the end of the event to communicate with them.
  • Provide the sponsor with a report after the event, it is easier to keep an existing sponsor than to gain a new one so work hard to maintain your relationship with them.
  • Members of your committee should also develop relationships with staff from the sponsors organisation.
  • Set objectives with each sponsor on an annual basis and then work on strategies for achieving them. The outcomes then become the basis for post-event reports.
  • Establish beforehand exactly what the sponsor wants or needs to know at the end of the event eg the number of attendees, where they came from, age, status (alone or group/ family), social media and feedback analysis.
  • Regular meetings to monitor progress including deadlines for sign-offs and upcoming functions and events.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver. Sponsorship partnerships need constant attention and maintenance to make it work.
  • Make your sponsors feel special, give them an extra few tickets to a function (outside the contract) or ask them out for a coffee just to say thanks from time to time.
  • Upgrade strategy, provide several levels of sponsorship such as Partners, Major Sponsors, Sponsors, Major Supporters or Supporters.

ABN and GST Registration

Advice should be sought from an accountant or the Australian Tax Office to establish whether the Event Organiser should be registered for GST and hold a current ABN registration.