Policy last updated

15 September 2023


  • Schools
  • School councils

January 2020



This policy outlines the requirements relating to flagpoles and flag flying in schools and for celebrating Australia's cultural diversity and Australian citizenship.


  • There are a range of requirements relating to the installation of flagpoles in schools, including requirements relating to size, procurement and location – refer to the Flagpoles chapter of the Guidance tab for more information.
  • Schools must fly the Australian National Flag on days when patriotic ceremonies are conducted and on national flag days (if the school is open).
  • Schools may also fly the Australian National Flag during school hours.
  • Schools are encouraged to fly the Victorian State Flag, Aboriginal Flag and/or Torres Strait Islander Flag, alongside the Australian Flag if they have additional flag poles, in line with order of precedence protocols – refer to the Flying flags chapter of the guidance tab for more information.
  • Schools must conduct any ceremony acknowledging and celebrating the role of students as citizens of Australia, in a manner that is consistent with the Victorian Public Sector Values and inclusive of all students.
  • Schools must not compel students to recite a pledge or declaration or take part in a patriotic ceremony if the student or parents or carers object based on religious, cultural, philosophical or other beliefs.


Flagpoles and flag flying

All schools are encouraged to have at least 3 flagpoles located at the entrance, where possible, or in other areas where the school community may assemble.

Flags must only be flown during normal working hours (9 am to 5 pm), except as stated elsewhere in this policy, or on other special occasions advised by the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

It is recommended that each school subscribes to receive state flag notifications from the Department of Premier and Cabinet. To subscribe, visit Flag notifications and protocolExternal Link .

Refer to the Flying flags chapter for more information about the protocols for flying the Australian National Flag and other flags.

Refer to the Flagpoles chapter for more information about installing and upgrading flagpoles.

Ceremonies in relation to being an Australian citizen (patriotic ceremonies)

When considering holding any ceremonies celebrating Australian citizenship, or cultural diversity, schools must:

Patriotic ceremonies may include:

  • singing the Australian National Anthem, Advance Australia Fair
  • acknowledging the symbolic importance of the Australian National Flag alongside other flags including the:
    • Australian Aboriginal Flag
    • Torres Strait Islander Flag
  • student recital of a declaration, such as:

Schools must not compel students to recite a pledge or declaration or take part in a patriotic ceremony if the student or parents or carers object based on religious, cultural, philosophical or other beliefs.

Any flags used in a patriotic ceremony held at a school must include the Australian National Flag.

Relevant legislation


Flag flying and patriotic ceremonies

For questions about flag flying and patriotic ceremonies, contact the School Operations and Governance Unit via


For information regarding the provision of flagpoles for school buildings, visit the Building Quality Standards Handbook (BQSH) or contact the Victorian School Building Authority: email or phone 1800 896 950.



This guidance contains the following chapters:

  • Flagpoles
  • Flying flags



New schools are built with 3 flagpoles in accordance with the Building Quality Standards Handbook (PDF)External Link , and established schools with fewer than 3 flagpoles are encouraged to procure additional poles. Having 3 flagpoles enables schools to fly the Victorian State Flag and the Aboriginal Flag or Torres Strait Islander Flag, in addition to the Australian National Flag.

Flagpole sizes

Six metres is the recommended height for most school situations. This is the equivalent of a 2-storey building. Occasionally, 7.5-metre poles may be warranted. If in doubt, contact the VSBA for assistance via email or phone 1800 896 950.

Flagpoles that are affixed to buildings should not exceed a height of 3 metres above the highest point of attachment to that building.

Flagpoles under 8 metres do not require local council approval or a building permit.

Flagpole installations

Flagpoles can be installed differently to suit a variety of needs and situations:

  • Free-standing fixed-base spigot – a concrete base is poured around the flagpole (or the tubular sleeve into which the pole is then inserted). A base plate can also be used for free-standing poles – in this instance, the plate is bolted down onto a concrete footing.
  • Hinged base – the concrete base supports a metal hinge which allows the flagpole to be lowered for maintenance, and so on. Hinged options should only be considered in consultation with experienced manufacturers/installers.
  • Building-attached – some schools (especially those on tight inner-urban sites) may find it more practicable to affix flagpoles to the exterior of their buildings, for example, the school entrance/administrative facilities.

Flagpole materials

Most flagpoles are manufactured in aluminium. This can be provided with an anodised or powder-coated finish, depending on preference, colour and local conditions.

Heritage schools or facilities may require a timber flagpole.

Flagpole shape

Flagpoles can have a standard diameter their entire length (typically 80 mm) or be tapered, with a top diameter narrower than the base. Tapered poles can be more expensive.

For tapered flagpoles, the base diameter should be approximately 90 mm for a 6-metre pole and approximately 100 mm for a 7.5-metre pole.

Procuring a new or replacement flagpole

Schools seeking to procure a new or replacement flagpole must engage a building professional with experience in the manufacture and installation of flagpoles in accordance with the Procuring Low-Value Construction Works or Services Policy.

Where possible, schools are encouraged to use Victorian Building Authroity registered builders to complete these works and to ensure that they are certified structurally sound by a structural engineer. Schools must obtain at least one supplier quote for contracts valued at $50,000 (including GST) or less. However, schools are encouraged to seek multiple quotes wherever possible.

If a contract is estimated to exceed $50,000 (which is unlikely to apply to flagpole projects unless multiple poles are being installed across several campuses of the one school entity), schools must not obtain tenders or quotations, commence any works or enter into contracts, until they have sought VSBA approval to proceed.

Schools are encouraged to provide the building professional with the Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – building professionals factsheet (DOCX)External Link and the Flagpoles at Victorian government schools – school council minor works contract template (DOC)External Link so that the specifications and contractual requirements for the proposed works are understood.

Suitable flagpole installers

To ensure equal access to business opportunities and avoid conflicts of interest, the VSBA is unable to recommend specific companies or building professionals to undertake these works. However, these are readily searchable on the internet.

The building professional must have a current Australian Business Number (ABN) and a minimum of $10 million public liability insurance.

Schools are encouraged to speak to building professionals in their local area who have experience in installing flagpoles.

Flagpole costs

Costs can vary depending on flagpole size, base construction, finish, and installation. Additional costs may accrue if the supplier is not local to the project and has to travel, for example, from outside the region and incur fuel and accommodation expenses.

Proposed project costs may also vary depending on soil and ground conditions, especially where contamination may have occurred, or services are present.

Flags are not typically included in the cost of flagpole installation. Unless an arrangement has been reached with a school's particular flagpole supplier and installer, schools will need to purchase flags separately.

Funding for flagpoles

Schools will need to use their existing funds, whether locally raised or drawn from the minor works component of their Student Resource Package (SRP), to install flagpoles.


Flagpoles are recommended to be located at the entrance to the school campus, where possible.

Other locations might include areas where the school community assembles, such as quadrangles or outdoor courtyard spaces.

Consider whether there are any known issues, for example, contaminated soil (including asbestos) has been found at the proposed location, or there are existing underground services that may be impacted. Footings can disturb underground water or electricity assets, and consent may need to be obtained if a flagpole is to be constructed near or over an easement.

Under the Electricity Safety (General) Regulations 2019, there are minimum distances to aerial lines that need to be complied with. It is recommended that school's relevant electricity supplier be consulted if a flagpole is to be built near overhead power lines.

Schools are recommended to provide as much information as is known so that the building professional can proceed with due diligence, including preliminary ground investigations. Under the Minor Works Contract, the building professional will assume responsibility for the remediation of any damage to services.

Other specifications and policy requirements

The building professional or installer engaged by a school is responsible for ensuring that the flagpole meets all technical specifications and safety requirements.

The flag-raising halyard must be internal to the pole (6-metre poles have a typical diameter of 80 mm), and that a lockable hatch be provided to reduce both vandalism and ensure safety.

The requirements are outlined in the:

Victoria’s Building Act 1993, the Building Regulations 2018, and the Building Code of Australia (also referred to as the National Construction Code and incorporated by reference into the Regulations) govern the delivery of building works in this state.

In accordance with the Code, a Class 10 structure (that is, flagpole) must:

  • perform adequately under all reasonably expected design actions
  • withstand extreme or frequently repeated design actions
  • be designed to sustain local damage
  • avoid causing damage to other properties.

VSBA support

While flagpole installation works are procured and led by schools, the VSBA is available to provide advice and support to schools that require it.

For further information or assistance:

Flying flags

Flying flags

Australian National Flag

The Australian Government presents an Australian National Flag to every new government school upon opening. If a new flag is required, schools can request a replacement from either the federal member of parliament for their electoral division or a senator from the state of Victoria.

When and how to fly the Australian flag

Schools must fly the Australian National Flag on the following days if they are open:

  • 3 September – National Flag Day:
    • commemorating the first official flying of Australian flags at the Royal Exhibition Buildings in Melbourne on 3 September 1901
  • 11 November – Remembrance Day with flags flown at:
    • the masthead from 8 am to 10:30 am
    • half-mast from 10:30 am to 11:02 am
    • the masthead from 11:02 am to the close of business.

Schools may also raise the Australian National Flag:

  • at the beginning of each school day, flying the flag between 8 am and the close of business, other than on special occasions
  • when providing an opportunity for students to reflect on the current flag, its history and future.

Flying more than one flag

Where Victorian government schools have multiple flagpoles, school principals may choose to display other flags alongside the Australian National Flag, ensuring the flags are consistent with the department's values, and in line with the Australian National Flag protocolsExternal Link set by the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Schools must:

  • give precedence to the Australian National Flag over all other flags
  • not fly 2 flags on one pole
  • fly the Australian National Flag on the flagpole to the left of any other flags, when a person is facing the building.

If the school has one flagpole, the Australian National Flag must be flown as it takes precedence over all other flags.

If the school has 2 flagpoles, the Australian and Victorian flags should be flown in the following order:

  • Australian flag
  • Victorian flag.

If the school has 3 or more flagpoles, the Australian, Victorian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags should be flown in the following order (the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags can be interchanged):

  • Australian flag
  • Victorian flag
  • Aboriginal flag
  • Torres Straight Islander flag.

Commemorative or celebratory flags

Commemorative or celebratory flags can be displayed or flown on additional flag poles, however the Australian National Flag, Victorian State Flag, Aboriginal Flag or the Torres Strait Islander Flag must not be displaced to fly these flags. Commemorative or celebratory flags can also be displayed on an internal flagpole within a school building.

Examples of commemorative or celebratory events:

  • 21 March – Harmony Day to celebrate Australia's cultural diversity and support inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone
  • 27 May to 3 June – National Reconciliation Week to recognise:
    • 27 May as the anniversary of the 1967 referendum which successfully removed clauses from the Constitution that discriminated against Indigenous Australians
    • 3 June as Eddie Mabo Day, the anniversary of the High Court decision in the Eddie Mabo land rights case of 1992 recognised by Torres Strait Islanders.
  • July, a nominated week – NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal and Islanders Day Observance Committee) to celebrate and promote greater understanding of Indigenous peoples and culture
  • 1 July – 'Coming of the Light' celebration day for Torres Strait Islanders.

Information about flying the Australian Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag (as well as the Australian National Flag and other Australian flags) is available on the Australian Government website of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet at Australian flagsExternal Link .



Useful websites

Flag notifications and protocolExternal Link – schools can subscribe here to receive state flag notifications from the Department of Premier and Cabinet

Reviewed 11 December 2022