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Regulation and approval of fireworks displays are principally regulated by the NSW Workcover Authority. Further information can be found at the Workcover NSW web site or Ph: 13 10 50.
Fireworks can be displayed in NSW for:
  • an organised public display for a community or public organisation or event
  • theatrical and / or indoor display
  • technical non-display purposes such as an industrial or agricultural purpose e.g. a chimney testing or bird disturbing device.
The possession, use, storage and transport of display fireworks is restricted to individuals holding a:
A pyrotechnician’s licence or fireworks (single use) licence does not authorise the holder to sell fireworks. Separate licences are required to manufacture, import, supply, sell or store fireworks. Pyrotechnicians are also required to hold a valid unsupervised handling licence to handle fireworks without supervision. Single use fireworks licences will only be issued for a legitimate reason such as an organised public display that is open to the public.
Operational conditions
Notifications and operational conditions must be complied with when preparing, transporting and using fireworks. You can only use fireworks if you have the appropriate licences and comply with the Operational conditions for pyrotechnician's and single use fireworks licences and the Fireworks display checklist. The operational conditions are in addition to any conditions or specific requirements:
Non-compliance with the conditions may lead to penalties (fines), cancellation of the licence and/or prosecution.

Fireworks displays

The licensed pyrotechnician must notify Workcover seven working days before any fireworks, distress signal or model rocket propellant device is used.
Notifying Workcover
The licensed pyrotechnician must complete the Fireworks display: Notification of pyrotechnics/fireworks display form.
Notifying other authorities
You must also notify:
  • the local council at least seven working days prior to the display. Local councils can object to a proposed fireworks display. The council should refer to the Department of local government’s guidelines for council when notification of a fireworks event is received. Council may request the pyrotechnician to complete the Fireworks display checklist. A letter from the council stating that it has no objections to the display may be required if multiple notifications are being applied for.
  • The local area commander of police (and/or local police) at least two working days before the display.
  • local NSW fire brigades (and/or Rural Fire Service, where applicable) at least two working days before the display.
You may also need to notify the following agencies at least two working days before the display:
  • Marine Rescue
  • Port Authority
  • Water Police
  • Coast Guard
  • Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)
  • Waterways Authority.
Where a major community event including fireworks is proposed, the event may require development consent from Council. Conditions regarding the associated fireworks display may be included in the consent.
Who to contact:
- Council’s Development Assessment Unit (02) 6670 2400
Further information:
Further information regarding development applications may be obtained from Council’s development Assessment Unit (02) 6670 2400.

Guidelines for Fireworks Events

Councils are advised that Notification of a Fireworks Event - Guidelines for Council have been developed by WorkCover and the Local Government and Shires Associations to provide councils with a standard framework when deciding whether to object to WorkCover in regard to a firework display of which council has received a notification (copy attached).

The guidelines are issued under s23A of the Local Government Act 1993.

This requires that all councils must have regard to the Guidelines when considering a fireworks event notification. As councils would be aware, WorkCover NSW is the approval authority for such events. Councils may therefore, only charge proponents of such events in cases where council land assets are utilised. The activity proposed must be in line with the management plan for the site and the usage charge must be identified in the council’s current management plan.

Councils are encouraged to post the Guidelines on their websites, with a link to the WorkCover site, to disseminate the Guidelines to industry and the wider community.

Guidelines for Council when Notification of an Intention to Use Fireworks is Received

These guidelines were developed to provide councils with a standard framework when deciding whether to object to WorkCover in regard to a firework display of which a council has received notification.

A Pyrotechnician’s or fireworks (single use) licence is issued by WorkCover by way of the Explosives Regulation 2005 (the Regulation The Regulation requires that as a condition of each pyrotechnician’s licence and fireworks (single use) licence issued, that the licensee must notify WorkCover and the local council of an intention to use any fireworks, distress signal or model rocket propellant device at least 7 working days before the fireworks, signal or device is to be used (Clauses 48 and 49).

While notice must be given to councils of an intention to use any firework, councils have no power to approve the use of a firework. However, councils may object to or impose conditions on an applicant’s use of fireworks.

After receiving notification of the intended use of fireworks, a council may decide to object to the use of the fireworks. If the council decides to object to the use of the fireworks, it will need to inform the pyrotechnician and WorkCover of the decision.

Councils need to be aware that the Explosives Act 2003 provides for General Licensing Conditions, which state that it is a condition of each pyrotechnician’s licence that a notified fireworks display is not to proceed if:
  • any of the authorities (eg. local council, police, fire brigade) that are notified of the display raise objections to the display, and
  • the licensee has not been able to resolve those objections with the authority.
Issues that a council may take into consideration when deciding whether to object to or impose conditions on a display after receiving notification of the intention to use fireworks as a display include:
  1. the appropriateness of the location of the display, eg. proximity to residences, hospitals
  2. reason for the display, eg. is the display in the public interest? (Information on the public interest can be found on the NSW Ombudsman’s website at http://www.ombo.nsw.gov.au/show.asp?id=371.)
  3. the types of firework that are proposed to be used, eg. aerial fireworks (in particular salutes) are considered to have a much greater impact on surrounding areas than ground fireworks. Councils can impose conditions on or restrict or prohibit the use of aerial fireworks.
  4. the impact on any affected residents and businesses, eg. has the approval or support of local residents and businesses been sought and obtained?
  5. the impact on animal welfare
  6. public liability issues
  7. noise
  8. pollution
  9. public nuisance
  10. appropriate notification by the applicant to properties neighbouring the proposed display. Council will need to decide what it believes to be a reasonable area of notification.
  11. the proposed procedure for the disposal of spent fireworks
  12. whether appropriate crowd and traffic management issues have been addressed where the display is likely to draw crowds
  13. any local conditions that the council may consider to be relevant These matters are covered by a self-assessment Fireworks Display Checklist available on WorkCover’s website. Councils may request the completed checklist, if it has been completed, to assist with the review of the notification.
The WorkCover website contains guidelines, forms and information about the operational conditions for fireworks displays. This information can be found at http://www.workcover.nsw.gov.au (Publications/ Licensing, registration and notification/Dangerous goods, explosives, fireworks and pyrotechnics). In the event of a notification being received by a council within 7 days of a fireworks display (a late notification).
  1. Objections should be made to WorkCover no less than 2 working days prior to the date of a notified fireworks display.
  2. WorkCover will accept written confirmation from the council that no objections are raised to the display.
  3. Where a council is unable to provide WorkCover with a written confirmation that there are no objections to a fireworks display due to the late notification, councils may object to WorkCover on the grounds that there has been insufficient time to assess the notification.
  4. In the situation where WorkCover has received no response from a council in regard to a late notification fireworks display 2 days before the due date of the display, WorkCover will inform the applicant that the council has objected to the display and the applicant must contact the council to resolve any objections before the display can proceed.
WorkCover can assist with information and enforcement should councils decide to raise objections when notified of a fireworks display.

For further information, or to inform council’s decision on whether council objects to a display or not, WorkCover can be contacted on telephone 02 4321 5499.
Last Updated: 18 October 2013