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Intro

Developing or redeveloping a caravan park or camping ground?

To operate a caravan park or camping ground in Western Australia you are required to hold a licence under the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act 1995.

The Act provides several ways that people can use caravans outside of licenced parks. However, these exemptions are designed for the benefit of tourists or for unique cases involving single caravans.

If you wish to allow multiple caravans to use a property, then the Act requires the property to be licenced and meet health and safety standards.

Contact your local government to discuss options

Your local government is responsible for issuing/renewing/cancelling licences and should be your first point of contact. Your current licence options include:

  • caravan park
  • camping ground
  • caravan park and camping ground
  • park home park
  • transit park
  • nature based park.

You need planning approval

If you are setting up a new caravan park or camping ground, the land needs to be zoned appropriately under your local government’s local planning scheme.

The Act operates in addition to planning legislation. Just because a local government is willing to issue a licence may not mean that the property is exempt from planning legislation or the local government’s planning scheme

Matters you need to consider when planning your park (including zoning and development) are contained within Planning Bulletin 49.

Your local government will also assess your application against the local planning scheme, local planning strategy, local tourism planning strategy or they may have a relevant local planning policy.

You need a licence

Under the current WA laws, a caravan park or camping ground is not to be operated without an appropriate licence from your local government.

Before granting a licence, your local government is required to inspect your park to ensure it is fully compliant with the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Act 1995 and the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997.

The local government will not be able to issue a licence if the local government is aware that the park is going to be operating in a noncompliant manner.

You may need building approval

Buildings are currently allowed on a facility if they fit under the following categories:

  1. manager’s house
  2. office
  3. restaurant
  4. shop
  5. recreational facilities
  6. class 10a building (non-habitable, such as ablution blocks and carports)
  7. any other building approved by the local government.

Class 10a buildings are the only buildings allowed on a site within a caravan park and camping ground and only after approval is given from you, as licence holder of the facility, and your local government.

These buildings need to be built in accordance with the Building Code of Australia and require a permit under the Building Act 2011.

The local government also has discretion to grant approval for other buildings on the facility, after consideration, if that is consistent with the local planning schemes.

Residential buildings in caravan parks

Under the current regulations, residential buildings can be built in a caravan park.

However, the regulations state that residential buildings:

  1. can’t be installed on a caravan site;
  2. must be approved by the local government; and
  3. must not be occupied by the same person (or group of people) for more than 6 months in any 12 month period.

This means it is possible for a caravan park to have cabins or chalets for short term occupation, provided that they are approved by the local government and they comply with all applicable building and planning legislation.

Residents staying for three months or longer

You may be able to allow residents to occupy a site for three months or longer, but this depends on your local government’s local planning scheme, local planning strategy and possibly after consideration of the WA Planning Commission’s Planning Bulletin 49. However, you will need to apply to your local government as not all sites are suited to long-stay residents.

If you plan to allow your residents to stay for a fixed term of three months or longer, the arrangement between you (as operator) and the resident will need to be in writing and comply with the provisions of the Residential Parks (Long-stay Tenants) Act 2006.

Applying for your park licence

Once you have the relevant planning and building approvals, you will need to complete the application form contained within the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997 and submit it to your local government.

If you wish to change aspects of your facility that were approved in your initial licence application plan, you will need to seek approval from your local government in the first instance. You will need to update your plan within 30 days of the approval being given to reflect the change.

Licence cost

There is a fee for the granting and renewal of your licence and the fees are outlined in the Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997.

The fee for an application for the grant or renewal of a licence is $200 or the number of sites calculated by the fee (outlined below). Whatever the greater number is will be your initial application fee and subsequent renewal fee, provided there are no further sites added.

  • Long-stay sites $6 per site
  • Short stay sites in transit parks $6 per site
  • Camp site $3 per site
  • Overflow site $1.50 per site.
Who to contact for different aspects
Key aspect ContactRegulatory Tool
  • land use
  • zoning issues
  • proportion of long-stay tenants and short-stay tenants in a
    caravan park
  • your local government
  • Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage
  • Planning and Development
    Act 2005
  • WA Planning Commission’s Planning Bulletins 49 and 71
  • Local Government Tourism or Local Planning Strategies
  • Local Government Local Planning Schemes
  • Metropolitan Region Scheme
  • building standards and building approval
  • your local government
  • Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety: Building Commission
  • Building Act 2011 and Building Code of Australia
  • granting or renewal
    of licence
  • inspections
  • your local government
  • Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds
    Act 1995 and
    Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997
  • exemptions and statutory approvals Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds
    Act 1995
  • Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
  • Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds
    Act 1995 and
    Caravan Parks and Camping Grounds Regulations 1997
  • security of tenure
  • consumer protection in relation to buying and selling of park homes
  • Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety – Consumer Protection
  • Residential Tenancies (Long-Stay Tenants) Act 2006

All or part of this document may be copied. Due recognition of source would be appreciated. If you would like more information please contact the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Page reviewed 26 August 2021