Next steps on fire control laws

26 October 2022

The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts thanks the community for taking the time to share their views on proposed changes to Norfolk Island’s fire control laws.

Under the proposed amendments, 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.

Submissions on the updates to the Fire Control Act (2000) (NI) closed on 11 September 2022, with a total of seven submissions received.

The community feedback included concerns about the increased regulation of burning green waste, costs of permits and sharing views that the laws do not need updating.

Changes to the permit system are aimed at giving the Chief Fire Control Officer better visibility of what fires are planned, to ensure safety and health outcomes for the community. The legislative updates were commenced at the request of the Chief Fire Control Officer in 2020, with the Norfolk Island community having been previously consulted on the proposed changes in 2020 and 2021.

The proposed ordinance does not impose any requirements for fees for permits. The Chief Fire Control Officer and Norfolk Island Regional Council do not currently collect fees for permits. Council currently requires permits (without a fee) for burning during high fire danger periods. Fees are only charged for extinguishing fires either not notified or left unattended.

The feedback received during consultations helped inform the amendments to the current laws, including updates to the language, modernising penalty provisions, increasing deterrents and extending the term of the Chief Fire Control Officer, to reduce administrative process.

Following this third round of consultation, the Department will now progress the proposed amendments through the legislative process. We will keep Norfolk Islanders updated as the laws enhancing community and environmental safety move forward.

The Department and relevant stakeholders, will continue to review the application of the ordinance once it is made to ensure it remains fit-for-purpose and will best serve the Norfolk Island community into the future.

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