Monday, 8 June 2009

The Last Firework Night?

The Australian Capital Territory is the only jurisdiction in Australia where some things are legal. Prostitution. X-Rated Videos. Fireworks.


Bottle Rockets of course have been banned for over a decade. As have crackers. But yes, the ACT still allows such dangerous devices as Roman Candles and Sparklers.

Of course, there are a few minor restrictions.... from the Office of Regulatory Services :
Fireworks are dangerous explosives and are traditionally used by people over the Queen's Birthday long weekend.

In the ACT, there are strict rules about how fireworks are supplied, bought and used. All consumer fireworks in the ACT must be approved by the Government and sold to you by licensed people.

Am I able to buy consumer fireworks?
You can only buy consumer fireworks in the ACT if you are over 18 years old and live in the ACT.

How can I buy consumer fireworks?
Consumer fireworks can only be purchased from people licensed to sell them.

To purchase fireworks, you must provide the person selling the fireworks, identification that shows:
· your age
· your address
· a photograph of yourself.

You will be given a receipt, which will show:
· the name of the person who sold you the fireworks and their licence number
· the date you were sold the fireworks
· your name and address
· the identification papers provided to prove your identity
· the fireworks you purchased
· where you propose letting off the fireworks
· your signature.

When can I be supplied with consumer fireworks?

You can only be supplied with consumer fireworks between
8am on the Friday immediately before, and 5pm on the Sunday of, the Queen's Birthday long weekend.

*Please keep your receipt as it is your approval to have and use fireworks.

How should I store my fireworks?
The person named in the receipt must ensure that fireworks are:
· kept in the package they were sold in
· stored in accordance with the instructions.

It is an offence not to do so. The maximum penalty is $2000.

When can I use consumer fireworks?
You can only use fireworks during the Saturday and Sunday of the Queen's Birthday long weekend between 5pm and 9pm.

It is an offence to use fireworks at any other time. The maximum penalty is $3000.

Who can use my consumer fireworks?
The only people allowed to use your consumer fireworks are:
· the person named on the receipt
· anyone under the direct supervision of the person named on the receipt.

If you use a consumer firework without authorisation you may be guilty of a serious offence.

The maximum penalty for using a firework without authorisation is $75,000, imprisonment for 3 years or both.
And now it's likely they'll be banned altogether.
Industrial Relations Minister John Hargreaves has made a submission to cabinet to make the Queen's Birthday fireworks weekend illegal and ministers will vote on the issue later this month.
There are genuine safety issues, and I wouldn't mind having eye protection being mandatory. But 3 years in jail for letting off an unauthorised Roman Candle?

At some stage, we have to let some of the fun back into life. And some of the risk. If we don't teach our children how to manage risk when the worst thing that can happen is some burnt fingers, they won't know how to manage risk later, with dangers that can be immediately lethal.

In the meantime, as this may be the last ever fireworks night, my son was treated to enough fireworks to last from 5pm to 9pm on Sunday, and a few on Saturday as well.


Lloyd Flack said...

I still miss cracker night. I'm glad I grew up when fireworks were available in NSW. Kids are missing out on so much.

RadarGrrl said...

There are genuine safety issues, and I wouldn't mind having eye protection being mandatory. But 3 years in jail for letting off an unauthorised Roman Candle?

Considering a roman candle can do so much more damage that 'burning one's fingers', I'd say it's quite appropriate.

In fact, my partner foolishly let one off just a couple of nights ago. She didn't plant it properly and it went out of control, spinning all over the place and firing shots off everywhere but into the air, including burning a hole in my track pants and sparking up a few plants in the garden...and next door's. I was quick with the hose.

Now, not all that long ago, I remember you making some posts about the brush fires that were happening in parts of Oz, including not that far from your corner of it. It's entirely possible for a roman candle to set off one of these if used improperly, just as a cigarette butt not properly put out can do. This can quickly become a situation in which peoples' safety and lives are at risk. Banning this once-a-year firefest puts an end to one source of such wildfires, especially when mixed with beer or booze.

Having seen how easily one single firework can go out of control, I don't blame the ACT for banning them altogether. Think about it.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

That sucks what you have over in Australia, because the government seems like it wants to severely restrict all people, but for the dumb actions of a few. Here in the States, my family and I have done fireworks every 4th of July, except one (when I was abroad), and no-one has been injured by our fireworks and no houses or anything has burned down during all the time we had been using them. Fireworks are banned in the county we live in, but there is a store in the county that openly sells them despite that law and as long as people using fireworks in the county are doing so responsibly the police/sheriff's won't enforce that law.

Anonymous said...

and how many fires have been started by fireworks ?

i know people who drive down to visit friends in canberra just for cracker night. seems the kiddies love it. The adults light most of the fireworks, and the kids do the simple ones.

3 years in jail ? wasnt a bloke in qa found guiltying of murdering his wife on qld on their honeymoon. Only manslaughter, so he is locked up for 4 years, and can out with good parole in one.

hmmm, one year for killing your partner, 3 years for letting off a fireworks. nice priorities.


RadarGrrl said...

To anon:

All I have to do is see how many forest fires over here are caused by smokers who just fling their still-lit butts out a car window. Fireworks is a no-brainer.