Generator use policy

Generators may disturb wildlife and park visitors, and so are generally not permitted in parks. But there are places where you can use them.

Camping at Pretty Beach campground, Murramarang National ParkMany park visitors wish to use generators to provide power for overnight stays. Some parks have signposted areas where generators are allowed.

Policy

1. What conditions apply to using a generator?

If you use a generator in an area where they are allowed, you must:

  • take reasonable measures to minimise the generator’s noise and its impact on neighbouring campers
  • use no more than one generator for your group
  • position the generator closer to your camp than to any neighbouring camps
  • obey any noise curfews in place at the campsite.

To reduce the risk of a generator starting a fire, you must:

  • locate the generator in an area clear of fuels, dry grass or other combustible material
  • ensure that extension cords do not cross access tracks and are rated for external use
  • ensure that you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to safely operate your generator
  • be present whenever your generator is running – never leave it unattended
  • never use the generator on days of local fire bans.

2. How will I know if a generator is allowed?

If you need a generator to visit a park, you should contact the relevant local area office before you come. Even where using a generator is generally permitted, it can be restricted for park-management reasons or because of unsuitable weather (for instance, high fire risk).

A sign will show the areas where generators are allowed and the conditions under which they can operate. If there is no sign you cannot use a generator without consent from the park manager. 

To decide where to permit generator use, NPWS considers:

  • the need to provide a range of camping opportunities, including camping in a natural setting without noisy equipment
  • nearby places outside the park where you might camp with a generator
  • whether there are different campsites available for people wanting to use generators and those not wanting to
  • the size and configuration of campsites, including the distance between campers
  • visitor numbers and the cumulative impact of many generators at a campsite
  • existing background noise at campsites, for example noise from vehicles on roads or from power boats
  • the likelihood of generator use leading to increased nuisance behaviour
  • the seasonal or permanent presence of noise-sensitive wildlife such as flying-foxes or birds sitting on nests
  • the level of fire hazard from using generators.

4. Powers to manage generators are provided under the National Parks and Wildlife Regulation 2009 (NPW Regulation), which creates offences for undertaking the following activities without consent of the park authority:

  • operate noisy machinery (clause 7(1)(n))
  • operate or use machinery in a manner likely to interfere with or cause a nuisance to any person or animal (clause 13(1)(e)).

Consent to use a generator can be given directly by the park manager or through signage. Generator use may be subject to conditions, such as being prohibited for a specific period in a camping area where it was previously permitted: this could be because of environmental impacts (for instance, on roosting birds) or for safety reasons (such as local fire bans). Such prohibition must be implemented by installing signs.

5. Section 23 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 makes it unlawful to restrict access to premises (including national parks) either

  • directly, by refusing to grant consent to a person with a disability to operate a generator so as to operate an auxiliary aid

or

  • indirectly, by imposing unreasonable conditions on a consent granted to a person with a disability to operate a generator so as to operate an auxiliary aid.

Not granting consent to a person to operate a generator (for the purpose of operating an auxiliary aid) might constitute discrimination, if it effectively denies the person access to a park or part of a park.

6. If you need a generator to operate a disability aid for medical purposes you can apply in writing for an exemption to operate a generator in a national park. Your application should include medical evidence that shows why you need to use a generator.

7. If you have been granted an exemption to operate a generator in a park, you should notify the relevant NPWS area office of it before coming to the park or on arrival, and have the written exemption available for NPWS staff to look at.

8. NPWS will provide any exemption in writing, and must include details of the specific use, nominated dates and/or times, and a defined area, park or parks. An exemption may also specify that:

  • the generator be operated without unduly disturbing other park visitors or wildlife
  • the applicant comply with any reasonable directions given by an officer as to the use and operation of the generator
  • consent may be terminated at any time, in writing, by NPWS staff.

Policy adopted 24 May 2017

Definitions

Auxiliary aid is as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth), and means equipment (other than a palliative or therapeutic device) that provides assistance to a person with a disability to alleviate the effect of the disability. This includes a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine and a refrigerator in which medications to treat a disability are stored.

Disability in relation to a person is as defined under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cwlth), and means any of the following:

  • total or partial loss of the person's bodily or mental functions
  • total or partial loss of a part of the body
  • the presence in the body of organisms causing disease or illness
  • the presence in the body of organisms capable of causing disease or illness
  • the malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of the person's body
  • a disorder or malfunction that results in the person learning differently from a person without the disorder or malfunction
  • a disorder, illness or disease that affects a person's thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgment or that results in disturbed behaviour.

The term includes a disability that:

  • presently exists
  • previously existed but no longer exists
  • may exist in the future
  • is imputed to a person.

Park means a reserve gazetted under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, including a national park, nature reserve, historic site, Aboriginal area, state conservation area, karst conservation reserve, regional park or any land acquired by the Minister under Part 11 of the Act.

Generator means a device that converts mechanical energy to electrical energy. Generators are usually powered with an internal combustion engine. As used in this policy, generator includes vehicle engines that are left running to charge batteries or directly power other equipment.

Accountabilities

 Exemption  Role
Exemption for one area Area Manager
Exemption across more than one area but within one region Director
Exemption across many Regions Executive Director Park Programs and Executive Director Park Operations