Nillumbik Shire intends to introduce a local law giving it the discretion to stop fireworks on private properties.
A recent decision follows council’s concerns and community outrage over the impact that fireworks on rural properties can have on pets, livestock and wildlife – as well as posing a fire risk.
The law intends to restric all fireworks outside of Nillumbik Shire’s urban growth boundaries.
Mayor Karen Egan said the community looked to Council to address the historic, ongoing problem – as evidenced by a recent 1250 petition to Councillors begging them to stop firework permits from being issued during summer in the Shire.
“We needed to move urgently to introduce a local law to safeguard the community from being in a similar position this time next year,” Egan said.
Under current policy, Council can only grant firework permits on Council-owned land.
Private landowners need permission from the Victorian WorkCover Authority which issues licenses to qualified pyrotechnic contractors, and the CFA, which weighs up the fire risk.
No CFA permit is needed during non-fire danger periods and all fireworks are automatically cancelled on total fire ban days.
Mayor Egan said Council always sought to factor in animal welfare before granting any fireworks permits.
In a further victory for common sense, the Council also voted against introducing a one-size-fits-all law for fireworks on private land, recognising the differences between fire-prone rural properties and low-risk urban settings in the Shire.
“In a nutshell, we won’t be the fun police when it comes to requests for fireworks at community festivals in urban areas – like the Diamond Creek Rotary Town Fair,” Cr Egan said.
Council will separate the Fireworks Local Law from the rest of the Amenity Local Laws governing what Council controls.
“Hopefully it will be in place before next summer,” Egan said.