Place of Public Entertainment

If you are organising a public entertainment event, you may need to obtain a POPE Occupancy Permit for a place of public entertainment from the Municipal Building Surveyor.

Section 49 of the Act states, entertainment in a public place must not be conducted unless an Occupancy Permit has been issued for the place of public entertainment. Public entertainment is defined as an event/meeting/assembly to which admission may be gained by members of the public.

A ‘place of public entertainment’ is defined as an area greater than 500m2 which is used for public entertainment and is either:

  • Enclosed or substantially enclosed; or
  • Is a paid admission event.


A POPE Occupancy Permit is required for:

  • An assembly or public buildings (Class 9b) having an area greater than 500m2 and any prescribed temporary structures
  • A place having an area greater than 500m2


Major events and attractions that require a POPE Occupancy Permit

In some instances community-based organisations conduct events that require POPE occupancy permit.

These are larger scale events (i.e. the number of persons in the place at any one time during the event or activity exceeds 5,000 in a place larger than 500m²), where the event is conducted in an enclosed or semi enclosed place and entry to (and exit from) the event is controlled, or to which admission can be gained by payment of an admission fee or other consideration.

Examples of such events include football finals and grand finals run by the competition’s association, open air concerts, and agricultural shows. A POPE occupancy permit is required for these events irrespective of whether they are conducted by a community- based organisation or a commercial business.

Exemptions for Community-based organisations and casual events in outdoor places

In addition to regular sporting or social activities, many community groups use parks, playing fields and other outdoor facilities to hold one-off events and activities.

These may include sporting activities, cultural festivals, fetes and community markets.

Where council facilities are used for these events, organisers must obtain a permit from the local council authorising and setting out the terms and conditions for the use of the facility.

In other cases, e.g. where these events are held at a school, permission must be obtained from the school council or principal.

Community-based organisations using outdoor recreational facilities greater than 500m² (without temporary structures) for these events are exempt from the requirement to obtain a POPE occupancy permit if the number of persons in the place at any one time during the event or activity does not exceed 5,000.

Temporary Structures (Marquees/Stages/Seating Stands etc)

The exemption to obtain a POPE occupancy permit does not exempt the requirement to obtain an occupancy permit (from the VBA) for a prescribed temporary structure or siting approval from the relevant council when the use of a recreational facility for public entertainment will involve the erection of a prescribed temporary structure.

Section 3 of the Building Act defines prescribed temporary structure as including a temporary structure in a prescribed class of temporary structures. The Regulations provide that the following are prescribed classes of temporary structures:

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


Safety Officer

A safety Officer may be required to be present as a condition of your occupancy permit. The safety Officer you engage must either hold a Safety Training Qualification in accordance with Regulation 1105 of the Act, or have qualifications/experience in emergency management (i.e CFA, SES etc).

The MFB conducts a ‘Safety Officer - In a Place of Public Entertainment’ course that provides the appropriate qualifications. Where an alternative person is nominated, details of their qualifications and experience (CV/Resume) are required to be submitted for assessment and approval.