Have your say on updated fire control laws

Amendments to Norfolk Island’s fire control laws, to enhance community and environmental safety, are now open for public comment and we want to hear your views.

Under the proposed changes, the current permit system will be extended to give fire control officers greater visibility of planned fires and help them prepare for appropriate action when necessary.

Currently, the permit system only applies during periods of acute fire danger declared by the Administrator, including total fire bans. Permits are not needed in any other circumstances, regardless of the local environmental conditions or type of fire activity being conducted.

As part of the proposed updates, the Chief Fire Control Officer will be able to declare total fire bans and fire danger periods, during which permits will be required to light most fires. Permits will also be required year-round for fires to clear land, burn firebreaks, and burn large quantities of green waste.

The proposed new rules reflect earlier feedback provided by the community on fire control, from consultation processes in 2020 and 2021. We want to make sure local input and knowledge informs legislation changes on Norfolk Island.

The updates to the Fire Control Act (2000) (NI), were commenced at the request of the Chief Fire Control Officer in 2020, following a dry summer period and ongoing reduced water availability on the island.

Following the release of a consultation paper, the Norfolk Island community shared their views on this issue during two face-to-face community consultation sessions hosted by the Administrator in March 2021. Generally, attendees agreed further controls on burning should be introduced, and that regulation and education would be beneficial for the health of the community, visitors and the island environment.

The proposed ordinance will also update language, modernise penalty provisions, increase deterrents and extend the term of the Chief Fire Control Officer, to reduce administrative process.

Submissions open on Wednesday, 24 August 2022 and can be made until Sunday, 11 September 2022. Further information on the proposed Norfolk Island Continued Laws Amendment (Fire Control) Ordinance and the submission process is available at https://www.infrastructure.gov.au/have-your-say/updated-fire-control-laws-norfolk-island

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts