Remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs), also known as unmanned aerial vehicles or drones are growing in popularity for both recreational and commercial use, particularly for filming and photography.

In parks and reserves these craft can pose potential danger to visitors, other air users and operators if they crash. There are also environmental concerns relating to visual and noise impacts that may affect wildlife as well as the increased risk to wildfire if craft crash, particularly if they have combustion engines. These craft may detract from other visitors’ experiences, places of cultural significance as well as impact on visitor privacy. Traditional owners have also raised concerns over the impact of RPAs on cultural values. Model aircraft, rockets and RPAs are considered aircraft under the Civil Aviation Regulations 1998.Therefore under regulation 65 of the Conservation and Land Management Regulations 2002 (CALM Regulations), launching, landing or making a touch down of such aircraft, except in an emergency on any estate managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife is only allowed if lawful authority (written permission) has been issued for a specific purpose.

Application form

Members of the public and commercial operators can request permission to operate drones by completing the docxRPA recreational use application form391.17 KB and contacting the local Parks and Wildlife Office.

Applications must be submitted at least six (6) weeks before the intended use of the RPA. Applications may not be processed in time if submitted less than six (6) weeks before use.
RPA use is not permitted in some areas of the State, and all applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Members of the news media should in the first instance contact Parks and Wildlife media on (08) 9219 9999 to request permission to operate a drone for the purpose of news.