The recent string of unprecedented fire events has sparked Noosa Mayor Tony Wellington to call for closer scrutiny on the use of fireworks across the Shire.
“Noosa Council does not run any fireworks displays of its own, unlike many other councils,” Mayor Tony Wellington said.
“However, we do occasionally provide permits for community events that include fireworks displays.
“It’s important to note that Council is not actually the head-of-power when it comes to permitting fireworks displays. Permits for such activities have to be obtained from the State Government’s Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy.”
Cr Wellington said the Department issues permits for fireworks with no consultation with Council.
“Council has no role in the approval process when fireworks occur on private land or the river that may be associated with private events such as weddings or parties,” he said.
Council staff only have a role in issuing permits for fireworks when they are proposed to occur on land Council controls.
Council has a shire-wide Events Policy which generally will not approve of fireworks occurring other than during community events at Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
“With the changing nature of fire conditions over the past two years, I think we may need to reconsider even that degree of latitude.” Cr Wellington said.
The Mayor has called on event organisers to rethink their approach to fireworks.
“What we have seen recently are fires occurring well out of season and even in the sort of vegetation that would not usually be considered a major fire risk.
“As well as being a potential fire risk, of course fireworks can also be problematic for owners of animals, cause noise issues and produce other environmental concerns such as litter.”
“For some years, Pomona’s Night of Lights, hosted by Pomona Community House and Cooroy Pomona Lions, has provided a spectacular laser light show as an alternative to fireworks. This has been very well received by patrons. This modern approach is not only more environmentally friendly, but arguably more in-keeping with the sustainability principles with which Noosa is associated.”
Cr Wellington will write to Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy asking them to reconsider their existing lenient approach to permits for public fireworks.
“It really is time that the State Government was up to speed with community concern about the potential impact of fireworks, the messaging that permitted fireworks displays send to the public, and the changing nature of fire risk in Queensland.”