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The Ultimate Guide to Australia's Drone Laws & Rules | Drone Forum

Updated: Aug 18, 2020

🖐 In this blog post we’ll share all drone law links & known rules around recreational & commercial drone use in Australia (Sydney). Give a 👍 at the end of this post if you enjoyed it & feel free to ask any questions or share your experience in the Australia Drone Forum. Keep in mind that the content below is updated to the best of our ability & does not replace official sources & your own research.

Australia drone laws and regulation

Recreational vs commercial drone use in Australia

Australia, New South Wales differentiates commercial & recreational drone uses. Both are subject to restrictions & a strict code of conduct. Additionally, depending on your drone's weight & your destination within the country, different rules will apply.

✅ Drone regulation is under the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) of Australia & can be reached via this form or a simple phone call (+61) 131 757

🚨 New Updated rules will come in by the 1st of July 2019 - see here.

Can I bring my drone to Australia?

✅ Currently, there doesn't seem to be any restrictions on bringing drones within Australia as long as your import is considered as legitimate (generally one drone per person).

🚨 Be aware of the airline you purchase to travel as some main ones will only accept your drone on-board if its batteries are detached & placed in a firecase during travel time. Most airlines will have a battery voltage limit based on the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). You can find more info about a specific airline here.

🛫 To get to and around Australia, there is a high chance you will have to catch a plane, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Jetstar are pretty sweet with drones but would recommend you carry your batteries in fire proof bags for more safety.

💡 Smart! Get your drone batteries' firecase today and make sure you're complying with aviation safety rules.

Where can I fly my drone in Australia?

✅ You should use the app '"Can I fly there" made by CAS in cooperation with dronecomplier to identify where you can fly and under which conditions. This map is valid for all types of unmanned vehicle flights and will basically tell you if you need a permit or not - but see more in details below based on your flight purposes.

🚨 Note, this map does not seem to include the National Parks which are all managed per state level. See below which Australian states authorise/not drone recreational flights:

  • ❌Tasmania

  • ❌Victoria

  • ❌South Australia

  • ✅Western Australia

  • ❌Northern Territory

  • ✅Queensland

  • ✅New South Wales (you need to ask permission each time).

  • ❌Canberra

💡 If you need more specific information per state/city, please refer to the relevant posts in our Australia section of the blog. Note that all National Parks will consider commercial drone use applications providing you apply for a permit generating a fee.

🚨 In Sydney, drones are strictly forbidden without permission 5.5 kms from the airport & all around the Harbour. There are also bans in the centre of most largest cities such as Newcastle, Central Coast, Wollongong & Port Macquarie.

💡 If you're in Port Macquarie, a local's tip is to fly around the Tacking Point Lighthouse which remains un-controlled airspace as we write this article.

Watch for sea mammals! 🐳 Sea-life in New South Wales is very well looked after; you should fly no closer than 100 m from any sea mammals in New South Wales (🦈 Sharks are not sea mammals btw) 🧐

💡 Smart! Pack some spare drone batteries, you never know how close is the next power plug overseas. Also make sure you have a travel adaptor for Australia.

Recreational drone use in Australia

✅ You do not need a permission or a license for drone recreational use in Australia.

However, you must fly:

  • at a maximum altitude of 120 m above the ground.

  • away from private property, vehicles in movement, people (30 m) or large crowds (including over beaches, stadiums or parks) & respect individuals' privacy.

  • only one drone at the time.

  • at least 5.5 km away from airports (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft or helicopter take off & land) & give way to all other type of aircraft.

  • only during permitting weather, within your sight at all times (0 flights in clouds or fog).

  • away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first aid.

  • avoiding sensitive areas including government or military facilities.

Commercial drone use in Australia

✅ Australia differentiates commercial flights based on the weight of your drone; if it is more or less than 2 kg to keep it as easy as possible.

If your drone weights less than 2 kg, you will need to:

  1. Apply for an aviation reference number (ARN) here (its will your ID number).

  2. Inform prior each flight via the online notification form

  3. Fly within the conditions stapled in the recreational use

If your drone weights more than 2 kg, you will additionally need to:

  1. Apply for an aviation reference number (ARN) here (its will your ID number).

  2. Complete a certified training from one of the approved organisations *If you wish to operate beyond eye sight or withing controlled areas, you will need an aircraft radio operator license.

  3. Get an operator license via this link. (there is a fee).

  4. Set off within the conditions stapled in the recreational use or apply for permissions if you wish to operate in restricted spaces (process time 7 - 28 days).

See an informative video about all this and the advantages of being licensed - Follow us

What do I risk for flying a drone illegally in Australia?

The amount & scope of the fine will depend on the nature & severity of your infraction. The judges will also evaluate if you intentionally committed the infraction and/or if you had any commercial purposes to do such. However fines for illicit drone activity are very depending on the circumstances but can reach as high as approximately $9000. See Jake who crashed his drone into Eureka Tower.

Once you got everything in order, you can start flying above Australia's awesome landscapes & create videos like this one:

✅ Please leave a comment when you receive news and/or gain experience with your drone in Australia! Have fun & safe flight! #australia #australian #oz #ozzies #regulation #law #laws #legislation

💡 You're a local, have a question or want to share a travel experience? Head to our Australia Drone Forum

Australia Drone Forum

Disclaimer: Although great care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information researched, we take no responsibility for any loss, harm or damage caused as a direct or indirect consequence of relying on this information. It is your responsibility to seek advice from qualified local & relevant authorities for needed information about local drone rules and regulations.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links meaning we will get a commission if you decide to purchase via them. This has no costs for you but helps Dronemade stay free for all. If you need to buy anything on Amazon or DJI stores, think of us.



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