The pristine landscapes and natural wonders of WA's protected areas are a popular setting for music concerts, fundraising, sporting and adventure events. Legislation governing the management of this land requires the consent of DBCA for access to conduct an event on lands and waters managed under the Conservation and Land Management Act 1984 (CALM Act land).

The way consent or authority is granted depends on the nature of the event and if it is run for commercial purposes. To determine if an event is commercial, try answering the following questions.

  • Will participants or spectators be charged for attending/participating in the event? 
  • Will the revenue exceed cost recovery of running the event? 
  • Will there be profits collected for charity, fundraising or a not-for-profit organisation? 
  • Will there be profits collected for a club account? 

If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, you may be conducting a commercial event and may need to apply for and obtain a commercial operations licence. 

You must obtain approval from DBCA to conduct your commercial event before you begin advertising and marketing. Neglecting to do so may affect your chances of attaining approval and result in penalties such as a fine or prosecution.

If you answered 'no' to all of the questions, you may be conducting a non-commercial event. Non-commercial events require lawful authority from the DBCA local district or regional office. Apply for lawful authority to conduct an event using the non-commercial event application form (available for download here). 

The assessment process

All applications for commercial and non-commercial events undergo detailed assessment. This may include consultation with specialists in DBCA, local community groups, traditional owners and other government departments or vesting bodies. DBCA has a duty of care to all visitors, including spectators, and must manage any potential environmental impacts from events in a sustainable manner.  

Issues DBCA may take into consideration when assessing a commercial event application include but are not limited to: 

  • the appropriateness of the event to the reserves' values and purpose and if the proposed activities are in line with the area's management plan
  • the risks and likelihood of spreading pathogens and weeds between reserves and management options to reduce the risk
  • waste collection and removal including litter and toilet waste
  • impacts on threatened species and ecological communities and management options to reduce impacts 
  • participant, spectator and support crew vehicle management and impacts
  • if DBCA operations such as prescribed burning could significantly impact on or cause the cancellation of an approved event
  • that an organised activity/event could endanger or otherwise significantly impact on or disadvantage other user groups
  • if the activity or event could result in a significant or unacceptable level of environmental damage if not properly managed/controlled
  • if the marketing and promotional material is appropriate
  • if there are other alternative sites outside DBCA-managed land

EventsCorp's Resources for event holders provides useful resources for event holders, including funding for major and regional events. 

When applying for a licence, ensure that enough time is allowed for the application to be processed. Applications  take approximately six to eight weeks to be processed. Additional time may be required for complex applications. Operations on lands and waters managed by DBCA cannot be conducted or advertised until the licence has been granted. 

If approved, the licence will be granted for a specified time only. It may also include conditions such as safety standards, removal of litter and waste, and access restrictions. Operators are required to adhere to the conditions on the licence and in the Commercial Operator Handbook, including Section 7.1 Commercial events. 

How to apply

Should you require a commercial operations licence to conduct a commercial event, please apply online using the Commercial Operator Licensing System. A user guide to using the system to apply can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. 

To assist DBCA complete the assessment process, please provide as much detail with your application as possible. Information and documentation required includes but is not limited to: 

  • a detailed itinerary and map of the event location and/or event route including information on parking and staging locations, spectator points and camping sites, and any mustering, changeover, aid station or transition points
  • public liability insurance covering the areas and operations (activities) included in the licence for the value of at least A$10 million per event throughout the period of the licence
  • an event management plan detailing strategies for rubbish and waste removal, reducing the spread of weeds and pathogens (such as dieback), and communicating the areas natural values to participants and spectators
  • a risk management plan
  • an emergency response plan including an emergency evacuation plan
  • a traffic management plan that has been prepared and approved by an accredited body in line with Mainroads WA - Traffic Management for Events Code of Practice
  • a contact person for DBCA-related matters. 

Commercial event fees and charges

Application Fee

There is a non-refundable application fee of $117 payable on submission of a commercial event licence application.

Application fee waiver

If an organisation submits multiple online commercial event applications for events that commence within the same calendar year, only one application fee for the year will be charged. This waiver will be automatically applied through the Commercial Operations Licensing System (COLS) when an application is submitted that meets the waiver criteria. 

Please note, this waiver is applied at the discretion of the department to assist operators in transitioning to the online system and with the introduction of the per participant licence charge and will be reviewed at the end of 2022.

Licence charge

A licence charge is payable in consideration of a licence to conduct a commercial event on lands and waters managed by the department.

Before 1 December 2022

Operators can choose to apply for a two month or one year licence and can apply to conduct multiple events within the chosen licence term.

Licence Period Licence Charge
2 months $138
1 year $406

On submission of an online commercial event application, you will be contacted by a member of the licensing team who will advise on the payment requirements.

After 1 December 2022

A $7.00 per participant licence charge will be payable by operators for each approved commercial event conducted on lands and waters managed by the department from 1 December 2022.

Operators will receive an email notification from COLS in the form of a compliance requirement when payment of the per participant licence charge is due. Operators can then login to their COLS account to complete the compliance requirement by providing a record of the event participants and making payment. For events applied for online and held prior to 1 December 2022, operators will receive an email notification to provide a record of the event participants, but payment will not be required.

Other fees and charges

Other fees such as park entry, camping and attraction fees may apply.

A daily park entry fee is payable by commercial event operators for each passenger on its vehicle/s or commercial tours accessing a park with entry fees. If applicable, park entry fees can be paid by completing the cash payment docket (available for download at the bottom of this page) and submitting to the park gatekeeper or honour box.

The local DBCA office can also be contacted prior to an event, to arrange payment of other fees and charges as applicable.

Is your event in a public drinking water source area? 

Public drinking water sources must be protected from contamination. Water sources used for drinking water supply are referred to collectively as public drinking water source areas (PDWSAs) and are protected by government policy and legislation. 

To check if your proposed event is in a PDWSA, the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) provides an interactive atlas (available for download from the DWER website). Alternatively, email DWER at drinkingwater@water.wa.gov.au

To protect drinking water quality, events need to comply with DWER's Operational Policy 13 Recreation in public water source areas on crown land (available for download from the DWER website).

If your proposed event takes place in a PDWSA, approval is required from both DBCA and DWER for the event to proceed. 

Page reviewed 26 Jul 2022