Tasmanians could be slapped with massive fines of between $1600 and $8000 for smoke emitted by freshly lit fires in their own backyards under new regulations imposed by the Hodgman Government.
The new Environmental Management and Pollution Control (Smoke) Regulations came into force in June and many Tasmanians aren’t even aware that the law had changed.
Labor Member for Bass, Jennifer Houston, said the new ‘Fire pot Tax’ would effectively ban both outdoor and indoor fires.
“Under the new regulations, smoke from fire pits and fire pots, woodheaters and open fires must not be visable at all for more than 10 minutes and visable from a distance of 10 metres for more than 30 seconds,” Ms Houston said.
“This does not allow adequate time for the fire to catch alight and burn hot enough to prevent excessive smoke.
“If you break this law, you’ll be slapped with a fine of up to $1680.
“It is also now illegal for residents to burn garden waste in a suburban area with breaches resulting in fines of more than $8,000.
“These rules are ridiculous and heavy handed and the Government was warned about a community backlash last year but failed to listen.
“The minister needs to explain to every Tasmanian with a fire pit, a fire pot, wood heater or an open fire how he thinks they can possibly comply with these ludicrous regulations.
“These breaches would rely on the testimony of council and state service employees and police officers and I am sure they have better things to do than patrol neighbourhoods for people enjoying a fire in their own backyard and handing out $1600 fines for 30 seconds of smoke.
“Will Hodgman promised to cut red tape but instead he seems to have nothing better to do than make up rules about fire pots.
“Will Hodgman has lost control of his party, blown the budget, plunged Tasmania into $1.1 billion of debt and trashed the health system so badly that people are forced to drive their own ambulances…. Yet this is his priority?”
Jennifer Houston MP
Labor Member for Bass