Dance parties policy

Dance parties can disturb visitors and the environment, and damage park values.

New Year's Eve celebrations DJ music and dancing on Clark Island Sydney Harbour National ParkDance parties require consent under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009 (NPW Regulation). Any application or written consent for a dance party should address the potential social and environmental impact of the event.

Policy

1. As a minimum the application and consent for a dance party should address issues referred to in the following clauses of the NPW Regulation:

  • entry to a park that is closed, or use of a park for a purpose other than that for which it was reserved (clause 4)
  • the use of vehicles (clause 6)
  • the use of machinery (clause 7)
  • the potential to cause annoyance or inconvenience to any other person in the park (clause 8)
  • the potential for littering or damage in a park (clauses 11 and 17)
  • the need to protect native animals (clause 12)
  • the potential for offensive conduct in a park (clause 13)
  • the need to erect structures in a park (clause 17)
  • whether the event involves commercial activity (clause 21)
  • whether the event would attract more than 40 people or pose a risk to the safety of park visitors or other people (clause 22).

Procedures

2. Where possible, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will advise all organisers of dance parties of the need to gain consent. Information received will be forwarded to the NSW Police Force.

3. A park or area within a park may be temporarily closed to the public at the discretion of the park authority to stop an impending illegal dance party (NPW Regulation clause 4).

4. Any evidence of dance parties conducted in parks without consent will be sent to the police.

5. An NPWS authorised officer attending the scene of an illegal dance party should be accompanied by a police officer if possible.

6. The decision to disperse a crowd shall be made at the discretion of the senior police officer at the scene. If the decision is made to disperse the crowd, police and NPWS officers (when present) shall request participants to leave the area (NPW Regulation clause 8).

7. Police and NPWS officers (when present) should, where possible, record

  • details of any offenders

and

  • evidence of what offence(s) against the NPW Regulation may have been committed

and either issue penalty infringement notices, or arrange for the matter to be dealt with by way of issuing a court attendance notice at a later date.

8. NPWS officers and police have the power to require people alleged to have committed an offence under the NPW Regulation or the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act) to state their name and residential address and, if a motor vehicle is involved, to require the driver and others to provide information.

9. NPWS officers may seize or impound equipment. Seized or impounded equipment may provide evidence of the identity of events organisers and assist with the prosecution of offenders.

NPWS officers should also consider photographing equipment (or any identifying features or labels on the equipment), rather than seizing or impounding it. There are legal constraints to, and conditions on, seizing or impounding equipment, and taking this action raises significant potential liability issues.

10. NPWS officers who have been appointed as Impounding Officers under the Impounding Act 1993 may also impound unattended or trespassing animals and articles that have been abandoned or left unattended within parks.

11. If the police can’t attend the scene of an illegal dance party, the attending NPWS officer should:

  • seek police advice on risk-mitigating procedures
  • attend the scene only if their safety can be reasonably guaranteed, and at least two NPWS authorised officers are available to attend
  • assess the likely outcomes of compliance and enforcement options.

12. If the police can’t attend the scene of an illegal dance party, NPWS officers have the power to:

  • advise participants that the activity is illegal
  • direct participants to leave the area
  • collect and record details of organisers, attendees, vehicles and evidence of offence(s)
  • seize or impound equipment.

13. NPWS officers may issue penalty infringement notices or arrange for the matter to be dealt with by issuing a court attendance notice at a later date.

14. NPWS services, compliance and enforcement in rural and remote areas may be limited by large distances and resource availability.

15. In rural and remote areas, local protocols should be developed which detail local contact points and procedures to address the general principles of this policy at an operational level.

16. Local protocols should take into account:

  • distances covered by services
  • staffing levels
  • access to emergency departments and to specialist units and services.

Further instruction on rural and remote area compliance can be found in the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Law Enforcement and Compliance Manual and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Remote and Isolated Work policy (internal documents available to staff).

Policy adopted 24 May 2017

Objectives

This policy provides a framework for granting consent for dance parties, and for the effective management of illegal dance parties (those for which consent has not been granted). Specifically, it is intended to:

  • help staff assess applications for dance parties
  • provide a consistent approach to managing illegal dance parties within parks
  • minimise the safety risk to visitors and staff
  • reduce environmental and social impacts that may be caused by illegal dance parties.

Scope and application

This policy applies to all parks (that is, land acquired or reserved under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 (NPW Act)).

Definitions

Authorised officer means an NPWS officer authorised under section 156B of the NPW Act.

Dance party means any concert, function or gathering of people involving loud music (usually amplified). A dance party may also involve temporary structures and lighting.

Relevant legislation

National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974

National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009

Impounding Act 1993

Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997