Drones Guidelines

Flying/Filming with drones for commercial or recreational purposes

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) guidelines apply to all drone and RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) operators. Please see the CASA website for more information. Council does not have any specific local laws about flying drones, however the CASA guidelines do apply. If you are flying for commercial purposes you might also need a film permit from Council or another authority like the Great Ocean Road Coast Committee.

Here’s a snapshot of the CASA guidelines:

  • You must not fly your drone higher than 120 metres (400 ft) above the ground.

  • You must not fly your drone over or near an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval). This could include situations such as a car crash, police operations, a fire and associated firefighting efforts, and search and rescue operations.

  • You must not fly your drone within 30 metres of people, unless the other person is part of controlling or navigating the drone.

  • You must fly only one drone at a time.

  • You must only fly during the day and keep your drone within visual line-of sight. This means being able to orientate, navigate and see the aircraft with your own eyes at all times (rather than through a device; for example, through goggles or on a video screen).

  • You must not fly over or above people. This could include festivals, sporting ovals, populated beaches, parks, busy roads and footpaths.

  • You must not operate your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person, or property.

  • You must not operate your drone in prohibited or restricted areas.

  • Please respect personal privacy.

  • Don’t record or photograph people without their consent—this may breach state laws.

  • There might be local council and/or national park laws prohibiting drone flights in certain areas.

  • Research the area you plan to fly and contact your council or national park if you're unsure.

  • Don't operate near emergency services aircraft – if you fly, they can't.

Additional information for drones over 100 grams:

  • You must keep your drone at least 5.5km away from controlled aerodromes (usually those with a control tower)

  • You may fly within 5.5km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site (HLS) only if manned aircraft are not operating to or from the aerodrome. If you become aware of manned aircraft operating to or from the aerodrome/HLS, you must manoeuvre away from the aircraft and land as soon as safely possible. This includes:

    • not operating your drone within the airfield boundary (*without approval)

    • not operating your drone in the approach and departure paths of the aerodrome (*without approval)

* Approval is generally linked to an approved model flying association and its members.