New Year’s Eve fireworks: Huge fines for illegal fireworks

Australia is known to have some of the best fireworks on display every year, but setting off your own explosives could land you in jail or see you fined up to $50,000.

Thousands of people flock to local parks and waterside venues around the country to watch the skies as they explode in a beautiful display of light.

But authorities are warning all Australians to leave the fireworks to the professionals this New Year’s Eve to avoid hefty penalties, serious injuries, or even jail.

In NSW the use of illegal fireworks could see you handed an on-the-spot fine of up to $1000, with a maximum fine of $27,500 and 12 months in prison.

“Fireworks in the hands of unlicensed users is a sure fire way to put people and property in danger,” said, head of SafeWork NSW Natasha Mann.

Unauthorised fireworks have been illegal in Queensland since 1972 with those caught using or handling explosives facing fines of up to $52,220 and six months in jail.

In Victoria, it is a crime for anyone but a licensed pyrotechnicians to use or carry fireworks.

Anyone else caught using fireworks could face criminal charges attracting penalties including jail time for up to 15 years and thousands of dollars in fines.

WorkSafe Executive Director Health and Safety Narelle Beer said fireworks were potentially deadly in the wrong hands.

“It’s deeply concerning to see the number of people seeking emergency treatment for fireworks-related injuries rising again for the first time in recent years,” Dr Beer said.

CFA firefighters were called to 27 fires and explosions across the state last summer, all which were caused by illegal fireworks.

“Enjoy your celebrations, but please don’t let illegal fireworks ruin the fun – there’s a very real risk that you or someone nearby could be seriously hurt,” she said.

In the Northern Territory, anyone over the age of 18 can legally buy and set off fireworks one day of the year on July 1, Territory Day also known as “Cracker Night”.

As this is the only place in Australia that still allows the practice, there are strict rules that apply, those who don’t follow them could risk a fine of more than $1200.

If you’re caught using illegal fireworks in South Australia you can face a maximum fine of $5000.

In Western Australia, the public is banned from using fireworks except for throwdowns and sparklers.

Using illegal fireworks in WA could result in thousands of dollars in fines.

According to a study by the Monash University’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit, 191 people have been treated for fireworks-related injuries since July 2015.

Males accounting for four out of every five injured and almost a quarter being aged 20-24.

The most common injury type was burns (87), followed by eye injuries (30) and open wounds (20).

Summer is the most dangerous season for fireworks with 71 per cent of injuries happening from December to February.

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