Gold Coast Council bans fireworks during total fire bans

Gold Coast councillors have this morning voted to ban fireworks during total fire bans.

It follows the recent bush fire crisis in the hinterland, which saw the whole of the Gold Coast placed under a QFES mandated citywide total fire ban.

It’s been revealed that during this time, two local hotel venues continued with fireworks displays.


“Both displays were, unbelievably, completely licensed and legal at the time,” Mayor Tom Tate said in his Mayoral Minute to Councillors.

Mayor Tate’s plan has a series of actions, which includes cancelling fireworks at Council events during Total Fire Bans.

The Mayor will also write to high profile commercial venues expressing Council’s desire to see firework displays cancelled during Total Fire Bans.

“Apart from the obvious risk of additional fires being started by such displays due to the city facing extremely dry conditions which lead to such total fire bans being put in place, the city was also then experiencing considerable airborne particulate counts, well above world health organisation ‘acceptable 24 hour exposure’ levels.

“I believe fireworks have the potential to exacerbate such environmental conditions and medical impacts.

“However there is also a social impact where we saw the coastal areas of the City seemingly celebrating with fireworks while homes burnt and livelihoods were destroyed in our hinterland,” the Mayoral Minute reads.

Councillors supported the plan unanimously at a Council meeting today.

The Minute included the following recommendations.

  • That the city adopts a policy of not supporting firework displays during QFES set citywide Total Fire Bans.
  • That Disaster Management Unit procedures are amended for the rapid coordination and communication with Council’s controlled entities in regards to postponing or cancelling fireworks displays during Total Fire Bans set by QFES.
  • That City Events unit adjust their standard conditions for even approvals for external entities to incorporate conditions that firework displays are not conducted when citywide Total Fire Bans are set by QFES.
  • That the Mayor writes to high profile commercial venues in the City expressing Council’s desire to see firework displays postponed or cancelled during citywide Total Fire Bans in the future, encouraging those commercial venues to alter their fireworks supplier contracts to reflect this potential eventuality of firework postponement or cancellation during citywide Total Fire Bans.
  • That the Mayor continues lobbying efforts with the State Government for fireworks to be formally banned during citywide Total Fire Bans set by QFES.

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The recent fires are having a much greater impact than is usual when a total fire ban is in place, hence an upgrading of the ban to a catastrophic rating. The issues raised by the mayor reflect this catastrophic rating. Total Fire Bans are often in place however when the risk and effect of fire is at a much reduced level.
Fireworks companies form part of the events and hospitality industry, which is a huge part of the economic activity and well being of the Gold Coast, and contributing to the financial well-being of thousands of Gold Coast residents. Fire risks from a Fireworks display are already well-managed from an OH&S perspective.
I support the banning of fireworks through catastrophic fire risk periods that we are currently experiencing, but feel that a blanket banning of fireworks through total fire bans is a step too far. Such a ban has big implications for local businesses, with a cost impost that is unfair to be borne by the event and hospitality industry alone.