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For many years now the government has restricted access to fireworks, indeed make their unlicensed possession and use, criminal offences.
Over the New Year period there were a number of stories in the news media about the dangers of fireworks and on New Year’s Day, this is following the death of two Australians last year for the same offences.
Even the professionals get it wrong, as reported in the media. On New Year’s Eve a barge exploded in Terrigal minutes into the 9pm show, which highlights the dangers of using pyrotechnics.
The Queen’s birthday weekend in 1986 was the last time fireworks night was legal in NSW. During the 32 year period since the prohibition, there have been numerous changes to legislation regarding the manufacture, sale and possession of fireworks in NSW, with the most recent and applicable being:
Possession, Manufacture or Sale Without a Licence
Under section 6 of the Explosives Act, a licence is required for handling explosives and/or explosive precursors. The maximum penalties for breach of this section are (for an individual) 250 penalty units ($27,500), imprisonment for 12 months or both. Penalties for a corporation is 500 penalty units ($55,000).
Sentences can be very heavy. For instance, some think it funny to set fireworks off close to another person. If it is alleged that the person, who ignited the firework did so with intent to injure another, then pursuant to section 55 Crimes Act, that person is liable to imprisonment for 10 years.
There are various other offences centering on the possession and use of fireworks that carrying penalties ranging from fines to fulltime imprisonment.
Attaining a Licence in NSW
To attain a “Fireworks Single Use/Event” licence in NSW is a relatively simple process. Please see the linked guide and the application form that needs to be submitted to Work Cover NSW, in addition to the licensing fee of $55 which needs to be paid. If you would like to attain a “Pyrotechnician” licence which allows for ongoing and more powerful fireworks, please see the linked guide.
Applicants need meet the following criteria (which is not limited to):
Applications to display fireworks are of course, subject to permission from Safe Work NSW, the relevant local council, NSW Police and the NSW Fire Brigade.
Charged with fireworks related offences?
If you have been charged with fireworks related offences, you could be facing a term of imprisonment or a significant fine. If so, contact Armstrong Legal for an obligation free consultation to plan your defence on 1300 168 676.
Image Credit – Maxborovkov © 123RF.com
Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100