New fireworks laws start 1 March 2018

New fireworks laws start 1 March 2018

Changes to the Explosives Regulations 2012 introduce a new framework for the use and administration of Type 2 fireworks in Tasmania, starting 1 March 2018.

The new framework aims to balance the need to protect people, animals, the environment and amenity, while still enabling Tasmanians to enjoy Cracker Night.

Members of the public will continue to be able to purchase Type 2 fireworks (that is, ‘shop-goods’ or ‘consumer’ fireworks) for use on Commonwealth Day (also known as ‘Cracker Night’).

However, the purchase and use of fireworks on any other day of the year will be limited to licensed pyrotechnicians.

The key areas in which fireworks laws are changing are outlined below. These changes come into effect on 1 March 2018.

Read more about fireworks displays.

Members of the public who are granted a relevant fireworks display permit will be able to purchase and use Type 2 fireworks for the purpose of a Commonwealth Day celebration (Cracker Night).

There will be no change to:

  • the duration of a fireworks display, which may be up to 30 minutes; or
  • safe firing distances and prescribed distances to ensure spectator safety.

If an organisation or member of the public intends to hold a fireworks display on any day other than Cracker Night, it will be necessary for a pyrotechnician to be nominated. That is, the laws relating to Type 3 fireworks displays will also apply to all Type 2 fireworks displays held on a day of the year other than Cracker Night.

The purposes for which a fireworks display may be held will remain unchanged:

  • New Year’s Eve celebration
  • Commonwealth Day celebration (Cracker Night)
  • a traditional cultural occasion
  • a finale to a major sporting or recreational event
  • a school fair
  • a community fair
  • the celebration of a major anniversary or milestone of political, historical or other significance to the Commonwealth or Tasmania
  • the performance of an artistic work that incorporates or is associated with the use of explosives
  • a military tattoo
  • the opening or anniversary of a major commercial enterprise
  • a purpose that substantially corresponds to one of these purposes.

A person must not hold a fireworks display unless they hold a relevant fireworks display permit.

Applications for a fireworks display permit will still need to be lodged at Service Tasmania, using the approved form. It will continue to be the applicant’s responsibility to ensure the information provided is true and correct, and existing penalties will continue to apply.

If the applicant is a corporation, the requirement to nominate a responsible adult and an alternative responsible adult will remain unchanged. However, these responsible adults will need to be considered ‘fit and proper’ persons as defined by Schedule 4 of the Explosives Regulations 2012.

Applications will still need to be lodged at least 21 clear days before the date of the proposed fireworks display, and the prescribed application fee (50 fee units for a Type 2 display, currently $77.50) will remain unchanged.

The Explosives Regulations 2012 specifies, without limiting the discretion of the Secretary of the relevant department, the reasons for which the Secretary may refuse an application for a fireworks display permit.

The following reasons for a refusal of a fireworks display permit will remain the same; that is, the Secretary may refuse an application if they are not satisfied that:

  • the applicant is an adult (in the case of a natural person)
  • the applicant is a fit and proper person to hold a fireworks display
  • the nominated pyrotechnician has agreed to be so nominated (if applicable)
  • the proposed fireworks display can be safely organised or held
  • the proposed fireworks display is for an approved purpose
  • a person nominated as responsible adult or alternative responsible adult is capable of performing that role (if applicable)
  • a person nominated as responsible adult or alternative responsible adult has agreed to be so nominated (if applicable).

Under the new framework, the following reason to refuse an application will be added, such that an application may be refused if the Secretary is not satisfied that:

  • the person nominated as responsible adult or alternative responsible adult (if applicable) is a fit and proper person.

If an application is refused, the applicant will still be informed of the reasons for the refusal and their right to have the decision reviewed.

Notification requirements for fireworks displays, as specified in the Explosives Regulations 2012, will remain unchanged.

However, WorkSafe Tasmania intends to publish on this website and in the major Tasmanian papers a comprehensive list of all display permits granted for Cracker Night. Details published will include the specific address of the proposed display and sufficient information about the applicant to facilitate notice of a potential appeal, should a person be aggrieved by the decision to grant a fireworks display permit. This will improve consistency and access to information about proposed fireworks displays.

Laws relating to purchasing, selling or supplying Type 3 fireworks will remain unchanged. However, a pyrotechnician will not be permitted to sell or supply Type 2 fireworks to any person who is not a pyrotechnician, unless the person has a relevant fireworks display permit.

Similarly, a person will not be permitted to purchase or acquire Type 2 fireworks unless they have a relevant fireworks display permit.

Currently, the allowable quantity of Type 2 fireworks is currently a gross weight of 20kg, irrespective of whether or not the person conducting the display is a pyrotechnician.

Under the new framework, the allowable quantity for persons who are not pyrotechnicans will still be 20kg; however, there will be no maximum gross weight of Type 2 fireworks that may be procured or used by pyrotechnicians.

Provisions relating to minimum firefighting equipment will be refined and the current definition of ‘adequate’ fire-fighting equipment (being at least 2 suitable fire extinguishers, 2 sand buckets and 1 hose connected to a water supply) will be removed.

The requirement to provide adequate fire-fighting equipment on site throughout the day will remain; however, fireworks display permits will specify the minimum fire-fighting equipment that is considered to be ‘adequate’ for each display.