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Commercial fitness training in City parks

Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) impacts

The health and wellbeing of the Gold Coast community, our customers and City employees is our first priority.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic the Australian Federal Government has taken measures to reduce the spread of the virus.

A number of activities including Commercial Fitness Providers in Gold Coast Parks are regulated or managed by the City and fall within the category of non-essential gatherings.

The City is adhering to the Australian Government’s health advice and is committed to support the local fitness industry on the Gold Coast. Approvals will continue to be issued by the City as one-on-one fitness training activities are allowed.

Should you hold a Commercial Fitness Provider permit, you must adhere to the relevant measures in order to help yourself and others stay safe.

Due to regular updates, it is recommended that you refer to the below links and become familiar with any limitations that apply to fitness activities.

We appreciate the role that the fitness industry plays in helping residents remain physically active and mentally strong. We are committed to supporting you during these times and are available to provide you with advice if required.

Should you require any further advice please contact 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326), or PO Box 5042, GCMC QLD 9726.

With an increase in the number of commercial fitness providers operating in Gold Coast parks, recent amendments to existing local law legislation, Subordinate Local Law No. 9.1 (Parks and Reserves) 2008, now require these operators to conduct their activities under a permit system.

Find out who needs to apply, when and how to apply, the fees involved, what the permit conditions are, who is exempt and which parks are excluded from use.

Who needs to apply?

Individuals wishing to conduct fitness activities in parks for commercial gain are required to apply for a permit and will need to supply the following with their application:

What are the permit conditions?

Select from the list below to find more information about the conditions surrounding this permit. Please note: this list is not exhaustive – full details can be found in Subordinate Local Law No. 9.1 (Parks and Reserves) 2008.

Display of sign

When conducting a fitness activity session, permit holders are required to display a freestanding 'A' frame sign with a maximum single face area of 0.60 square metres which must clearly display the permit number.

Duration and size of classes

If a commercial fitness activity is attended by three (3) or more clients:

  • The operator must not conduct or assist in conducting more than three (3) training sessions in the same park in one (1) day, regardless of the length of each session.
  • The permit holder must not conduct a training session for a continuous period that exceeds one hour and 30 minutes in duration inclusive of the time taken to set up and remove any equipment and irrespective of whether the activity comprises separate sessions with different clients.
  • Class sizes must not exceed thirty (30) persons inclusive of the commercial fitness activity operator and anyone assisting the operator unless the conditions of the permit provide otherwise.

If a commercial fitness activity is attended by two (2) or less clients:

  • The permit holder must not conduct or assist in conducting more than six (6) training sessions in the same park in one (1) day irrespective of the length of each session.
  • The permit holder must not conduct a training session for a continuous period that exceeds one (1) hour in duration inclusive of the time taken to set up and remove any equipment and irrespective of whether the activity comprises separate sessions with different clients.

If a commercial fitness activity includes boot camp, circuit, resistance or boxing style training, not more than eighteen (18) people, including persons responsible for the provision of the activity, may be involved in the activity.

Prohibited conduct

  • The use of a megaphone, sound amplifier, radio loud speaker, whistle or any other means of amplifying sound.
  • Behaving in a riotous, disorderly, indecent, offensive, threatening, intimidating, aggressive or insulting manner.
  • Engaging in conduct which in an authorised person’s opinion interferes or is likely to interfere with the ordinary and reasonable use and enjoyment by another person of the park or reserve.
  • Use one (1) or more tyres, logs, sledgehammers, heavy barbells or dumb-bells (20 kilograms) plus, weight training benches, weight training machines, rowing machines or any other large load bearing or large resistance training equipment.
  • Suspending or attaching any equipment, including for example punching bags, kickboxing bags, ropes or resistance training equipment to a tree, shrub or facility within a park or reserve, excluding a facility designed and intended to be used solely for fitness training purposes.
  • Marking out an area which implies, or is intended to imply, in an authorised person’s opinion, a right to exclusive use of an area in the park or reserve.
  • Erecting or installing a facility in, on, across or over a park without the prior written consent of the City of Gold Coast.
  • Pull, drag, drop or otherwise cause impact to the ground or a facility by the use of one (one or more barbells, dumb-bells, metal bars, heavy ropes (15 kilograms plus) or similar load bearing equipment.
  • The use of power sources for electricity.
  • The display of any advertisement for any person, product or service other than the commercial fitness activity operator and local government programs and activities.
  • The distribution of business advertising publications or touting.
  • Operating a business that is not the commercial fitness activity.

Prohibited areas of operation

  • an off-leash dog exercise area
  • a car park
  • a sports playing field or facility associated with a sports playing field without the prior approval of the City
  • an environmentally sensitive area including bush land, sand dunes, creeks, river banks or an area which is undergoing rehabilitation or revegetation
  • a protected area
  • an area which is closed for works, maintenance or any other purpose
  • an area, in which the carrying out of the fitness activity is likely to injure, endanger, obstruct, inconvenience or annoy other users of the park or reserve
  • within 100 metres of a noise sensitive place* between 7pm and 5.30am on any day
  • an area that is predominantly used for pedestrian or vehicle movement including stairways, footpaths, bicycle paths and roads
  • an excluded park or excluded area of a park
  • within five (5) metres of:
    • a playground
    • an amenity building such as a toilet block, shower block or change room
    • a memorial, picnic shelter, park bench or other park furniture, excluding equipment designed and intended to be used solely for fitness training purposes
  • within fifteen (15) metres of:
    • another commercial fitness activity which is being conducted at the same time the commercial fitness activity commences
    • any other users of the park or reserve who are stationary or settled prior to the commencement of the commercial fitness activity
    • an area set aside by the City (under an approval, booking process or otherwise) for a group of people for a birthday party, wedding, corporate event, youth program or similar event
    • any person holding a permit for exclusive use to conduct a recreational activity under Local Law No 9 (Parks and Reserves) 2008.

    *Noise sensitive place includes:
    (a) a residential property; and
    (b) a sensitive receptor listed in Schedule 1 of the Environmental Protection (Noise) Policy 2008, other than a park.

General conditions of use

  • The commercial fitness activity operator must ensure that a suitable first aid kit is available at all times during a commercial fitness activity session.
  • All reasonable directions from authorised City officers must be complied with.
  • All signage displayed within parks and reserves must be complied with.
  • No vehicles are to be driven into parks or reserves (excluding designated car parking areas).
  • Lighting used to illuminate any areas of the operation of the commercial fitness activity must be angled or shaded in such a manner that the light does not cause a nuisance.
  • The area used for the commercial fitness activity is to be kept in a clean and tidy condition, free from litter and refuse at all times.


Permits are issued on an annual basis from 1 September to 31 August. An annual fee for fitness providers applies. Please refer to our Register of fees and charges for details.

Please also ensure the relevant documentation is included with your application.

How do I apply for a permit?

Find a Fitness provider permit application form below.

When must an application be lodged?

A permit is now required to operate in a Gold Coast park – please lodge your application as soon as possible.

Are there any groups that are exempt from this legislation?

The following groups are exempt from obtaining a permit to conduct their activities:

Please refer to Subordinate Local Law 9.1 (Parks and Reserves) 2008 for specific details about exempt groups or call us on 07 5582 8211 or 1300 GOLDCOAST (1300 465 326) to confirm whether or not your group is exempt.

Are there any parks that are excluded from use by commercial fitness trainers?

On 6 September 2016, Council resolved to adopt an Excluded Park Register which lists parks (or parts thereof) where commercial fitness activities are prohibited.

To report illegal fitness groups in City parks, please use the online form on our Report a problem - City Parks and Beaches page.

Related information

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