The purpose of the Outdoor Advertising Signs Code is to ensure that the scale, type, design, location, materials, style and illumination of an advertising sign that is placed on, over or is viewable from a public area in our city is compatible with the design and character of the buildings, land use and streetscape.
Policy No 042 – Outdoor Advertising Signs Code
Do I need a sign permit?
Individuals or businesses wanting to display advertising signs within the road reserve or in any of our public places are required to obtain a sign permit before erecting any signage. Advertising signs exhibited in other areas that can be seen from a roadway or public place, including private property, may also require a permit.
If you need to submit an application to the Development Consent Authority, we encourage you to include information about proposed advertising signage as part of the development application. This ensures signage is integrated into the designs.
We have put together some information on our signs code and common signs. This includes when a permit is required and conditions of signage permits.
- Outdoor Advertising Signs Code
The purpose of the Outdoor Advertising Signs Code (OASC) is to ensure that the scale, type, design, location, materials, style and illumination of any advertising sign on, over or viewable from a public area in the Darwin Municipality is compatible with the design and character of the buildings, land use, streetscape and amenity of its location.
Signs that may be erected without a permit
Under the Outdoor Advertising Signs Code particular advertising signs on private land do not require a Council sign permit. These signs may be erected without a permit provided they comply with the Outdoor Advertising Signs Code.
Signs requiring a permit
The following signs require a Council permit:
Signs on private land that does not meet the requirements of the Outdoor Advertising Signs Code i.e. more signs than permitted or exceed size limits.
All signage situated on or over Public Land and includes:
Signs attached to, or hung from awnings
Moveable signs (A-frame)
Real Estate signs
Blue Finger signs
Signs displayed without a permit
It is an offence under Part 8 of City of Darwin By-laws for a sign which requires a permit, to be displayed without a valid Council permit. Council officers may remove such signs with or without written notification. Infringement Penalty Notices may also be issued for this offence. A fee may be incurred for the release of a sign removed by Council officers.
Different types of signs
Promotional advertising includes information about the services or goods produced, provided or sold as a major activity on the premises, or information about events or activities substantially carried out on the premises. Promotional Advertising is not Third Party Advertising.
When you wish to erect a new sign
Prior to erecting any sign, familiarise yourself with the Outdoor Advertising Signs Code to determine whether the proposed advertising sign/s require a permit. Permanent structures that are proposed to be erected in the Darwin Municipality including advertising signs may require Building Approval.
Council may take legal action if an advertising sign that requires a Council permit is erected without a permit.
An annual fee applies to all signs displayed on or over public land. Signs on private property incur a once off application fee.
Signs prohibited in the Outdoor Advertising Signs Code
The Outdoor Advertising Signs Code prohibits certain types of signs in zones where the surrounding amenity may be affected.
An application for a permit for an advertising sign that is prohibited within a zone will not be accepted or considered by Council. This includes but is not limited to:
All Third Party Advertising (advertising away from the business premises)
Vehicles which have been adapted for and used as an advertising sign
Trailers which have been adapted for and used as an advertising sign when stationary in any public place
The attached drawing gives examples of advertising signs.
- Moveable signs
Moveable signs are advertising signs intended for temporary display which is self-supporting and includes A-frames and sandwich boards but does not include a free-standing sign or a real estate sign.
Do I need a permit?
All moveable signs on public land require a council permit, this permit is to be renewed annually.
Moveable signs on private land may or may not require a council permit depending on whether the signs meet the conditions of the OASC.
When displayed in a business zone the height of a moveable sign should not exceed 1.2 metres above ground level (including supporting legs), should not be wider than 0.8 metres and should not exceed 1 square metre in area.
When displayed in industrial zones the height of a moveable sign should not exceed 1.8 metres above ground level and should not be wider than 1.2 metres.
Display of moveable signs
Moveable signs will only be permitted on public land in business and industrial zones and can only be displayed during business hours.
Moveable signs cannot be erected on a public place in the following areas:
- Residential zones
- Community zone
- Organised recreation zones
- Rural zones.
Moveable signs are prohibited within the Darwin City Centre Mall for businesses that do not have direct frontage at ground level.
Conditions to display a moveable sign
- Moveable signs must be safe and secure and positioned in a manner that does not pose a risk or danger to persons or property
- Moveable signs shall not obscure the view of pedestrian or vehicular traffic
- Moveable signs must not obstruct, clutter or detract from landscaping, furniture or artwork
- A clear pedestrian path with a minimum width of 2 metres must be able to be maintained adjacent to any moveable sign to ensure pedestrian safety
- Moveable signs are to be displayed during business hours only and are not to be used for the display of merchandise
- Moveable signs are to be removed outside of business hours
- Moveable signs are to be removed during periods of high winds and/or cyclones
- Moveable signs must be located directly outside the premises in question and not across the road or on a median strip or in any other position away from the premises.
Public liability insurance
It is a condition of any application received that:
A copy of current public liability insurance is provided to council
Confirmation in writing that the applicant agrees to indemnify council for any claims for both property and personal injury arising from the placement of the sign on public land within the Darwin municipality.
Signs displayed without a permit
It is an offence under Council by-law 188 for a sign to be placed on public land without a valid permit. Council officers may remove such signs with or without written notification. Infringement penalty notices may also be issued for this offence. A sign removed by council officers may incur a fee for the return of the sign.
- Real estate signs
Do I need a permit?
All signage placed on or over public land requires a permit.
Real estate signs advertising a property for sale, auction, or lease may be erected on the fence line or on private property within the Darwin municipality without the need to obtain a council signs permit, only if the sign complies with the following conditions:
- Any real estate sign does not exceed 2.5 square metres per residential premises
- Any real estate sign does not exceed 4.5 square metres for a new residential development comprising four or more units, advertising the sale of all the units
- Any real estate sign does not exceed 4.5 square metres in industrial and business zones
- There is only one sign per business per street frontage
- The sign/s are removed within one day after the sale (settlement) or lease of the property.
Real estate signage applications for signage to be placed on a road reserve may only be approved if council considers it unreasonable that the sign be placed on the fence line or on private property.
Council’s signs application form is to be used when lodging a real estate sign application.
Temporary open for inspection/auction signs
Temporary open for inspection/auction signs that are placed on road reserves within the Darwin municipality require a council permit. The permit will be issued to the real estate company and includes all of the open for inspection/auction signs for that business. This permit is renewable annually.
The following conditions apply to temporary open for inspection/auction signs:
- They are displayed only during the times the premises are open for inspection or in the case of an auction sign, only during the auction
- They are not placed on median strips, in the middle of the road or the carriageway
- They are not placed so as to impede pedestrian or traffic flow
- They are not placed so as to obscure a driver’s view.
Council’s real estate open inspection/auction signs application form is to be used for the temporary open for inspection/auction signs to be placed on road reserves.
Star Pickets – are prohibited on both NTG and City of Darwin roads, due to safety reasons and to protect underground services.
Illumination – these signs are prohibited in residential areas
Public liability insurance – is a condition of any application for signs to be placed on or over public land. We require a copy of the current insurance and confirmation in writing that the applicant agrees to indemnify council for any claims for both property and personal injury arising from the placement of the sign on public land within Darwin municipality.
Signs displayed without a council permit
It is an offence under Council by-law 188 for a sign to be placed on public land without a valid council permit.
Council officers may remove the sign with or without written notification Infringement penalty notices may also be issued for this offence A sign removed by council officers may incur a fee for the return of the sign.
- Election signage
Election advertising means advertising erected in association with the holding of a Local Government, Northern Territory or Commonwealth election.
Do I need a permit?
Permits are not required for election signs that comply with these guidelines:
Election signs on private property
An election sign may be placed on private property provided they:
- Are only erected within six weeks of an election and removed one day after the election, subject to any requirements under the Electoral Act
- Are not placed in a way that obscures the view of vehicular and pedestrian traffic
- Have an area no greater than 1.5 square metres
- Are not illuminated or animated.
Election signs on verges
Election signs may be temporarily placed on a City of Darwin verge adjacent to a road. However they:
- Must not be attached to council trees or vegetation
- Must not be affixed to council assets including building or fencing
- Must not be affixed to traffic signs, signals, poles, etc
- Must not be placed in a way that damages council infrastructure such as irrigation systems
- Must not obstruct the view or flow of traffic and pedestrians (including being placed in bus stops or on roundabouts)
- Must be safe and secure, and positioned in a manner that does not pose a risk or danger to persons or property and be under effective control.
Failure to adhere to requirements for placing signs on private and public property result in signs being confiscated and warnings from council officers.
Repeated offences or actions that risk public safety will result in penalties being issued or NT Police being asked to attend and resolve.
Use of council facilities
Council provides community centres and parks for community use, including political gatherings. However, to ensure availability and compliance with council requirements, booking and/or permits may be required. Please visit the community facilities directory or call 8930 0300 for more information on facilities available and requirements. Please note that deposits and/or charges may apply for use of council facilities.
Election signs on NTG roads
Not all roads in Darwin are controlled by council. Where a road is controlled by the Northern Territory Government (NTG) and a complaint is made, it will be passed onto the NTG.
Signs displayed without a permit
It is an offence under Council by-laws (188) for a sign not complying with these guidelines to be placed on public land. Council officers may remove signs without further notice. Infringement penalty notices may also be issued for this offence. A sign removed by council officers may incur a fee for the return of the sign.
Election sign authorisation/regulations
Queries relating to electoral signs authorisation should be referred to Northern Territory Electoral Commission on 1800 MYVOTE (1800 698 683).
Download Election Signage Flyer
You will find fees associated with sign applications on our fee schedule.
Banner site bookings
There are a number of banner sites around town that can be booked for promotions such as events and community messages. Find out more.
- Sign Permit
- Moveable Sign Permit
- Blue Finger Sign Permit
- Real Estate Open Inspection, For Sale & Auction Signs Permit
- Permit Renewal for a Sign on Public Land
Tel: 08 8930 0683