19 Apr 2023

It’s Local Council’s Responsibility to Understand Crowd Management Plans. Is Their Staff Trained?

by Jason Allen

All public events held on land an Australian local Council is responsible for are required to submit crowd management plans, but how can Councils ensure that these plans are both safe and effective?

Crowd Safety is a science that involves behavioural psychology, physics, and a deep understanding of both built and temporary environments. Anticipating and then managing how a crowd will behave in the normal course of an event, or during an emergency, is vital to everyone’s safety and is the legal responsibility of every Council that approves Crowd Management Plans.

“Anyone with a public responsibility must be able to understand which risks play a role and how to deal with the specific safety risks surrounding crowds,” says Roderick van Gelder, Crowd Safety Trainer at Event Safety Institute Australia. “A sporting event will have a different crowd dynamic to a religious or cultural event, as will a political event.”

“There have been several crowd behaviour ‘near misses’ at public events in Australia recently, including the stampede at the Steve Lacy concert in Melbourne, and multiple crowd surges at New Year’s Eve events in both Sydney and Melbourne,” continues Roderick. “While these caused significant distress and minor injuries, the outcomes could have been much, much worse. I believe that it is our responsibility to educate everyone responsible for Crowd Management Plans to avoid the kinds of tragedies that have occurred at concerts, public celebrations, and sporting events in the USA, Asia, and Europe.”

The Event Safety Institute (ESI) offers an internationally accredited level 5 course for anyone that needs to understand and approve Crowd Management Plans in Australia. The course was developed by Professor G. Keith Still, who has consulted on some of the world’s largest, and most challenging crowd safety projects for over 30 years including the Olympic Games, religious festivals, and public events such as royal weddings. His courses are attended by event organisers, police, first responders, emergency planners, city authorities, building control officers, licensing officers, architects, event managers, security companies, venue operators, and consulting engineers.

The course is delivered in Australia by ESI’s trainer Roderick van Gelder. Upcoming sessions are running in Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne through August and September this year. For the full schedule and registration, please see:

For more information on The Event Safety Institute, please visit:


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