In January 1982, Cabinet considered a submission in relation to public safety and nuisance issues arising from the public use of fireworks. At that time, fireworks could be let off by the public on two occasions each year, being Self-Government Day on 1 July and Guy Fawkes Day on 5 November.
The submission noted that the police, the fire brigade and the Department of Mines and Energy received many complaints regarding the use of fireworks outside the designated hours for the two celebrations.
It was argued that, while many people consider that children should not be deprived of the pleasure of letting off their own fireworks, this had to be balanced against damage caused by fireworks, particularly injury to children.
It was noted that public displays of fireworks gave families the opportunity to see top class fireworks at reasonable cost under controlled and safe conditions.
The submission proposed that one day only should be reserved for the letting off of fireworks, being Self-Government Day on 1 July each year.
The option of restricting the sale of fireworks to amusement-type fireworks by banning crackers was covered, as was banning the public sale of fireworks entirely, while permitting public displays of fireworks.
The submission recommended the option to ban the public sale of fireworks. This approach would not only address issues of hooliganism and complaints of noise, it would also remove nearly all chance of injury to members of the public caused by fireworks.
Cabinet did not accept the recommendation to impose a ban and decided to continue to let the general public let off fireworks only on 1 July each year.
Cabinet also directed that:
- the Chief Inspector of Explosives be able to specifically approve the type of firework which may be sold based on a safety
- fireworks of an illuminating nature be favoured over those of an explosive nature
- permits for firework displays on special occasions under supervisory conditions were to be subject to the discretion of the Chief Inspector of Explosives.