Bill summary

The below information is available as a Discussion Paper PDF Download.

Purpose

The Explosives Bill 2021 (the Bill) has been drafted to replace the current Explosives Act 1936 (the Act) and the associated regulations. The Act’s purpose is to regulate the handling of, and access to, explosives to protect public health and safety, property and the environment.

Since the Act’s commencement in 1936, small, limited amendments have been made to the Act. A number of concerns have often been raised by stakeholders that the legislation does not reflect current best practice and advances in technology that have significantly improved safety in the industry.

We are seeking stakeholder and community input on the Bill before it is introduced to Parliament later this year.

How are explosives used?

Explosives are primarily used for mining related activities. They are also used for quarrying, construction, demolition and defence purposes as well as agriculture blasting, rock breaking, industrial tools, life saving devices, fireworks and special effects in the entertainment industry.

The regulation of explosives seeks to ensure appropriate levels of safety and security through all associated activities including manufacture, transport, storage and use.

What is the current legislation that regulates explosives?

The Act has the following sets of regulations associated with it:

Explosives Regulations 2011 These support various parts of how the current Act operates including a transport classification code and storage categories for explosives.
Explosives (Fireworks) Regulations 2016

These set out the requirements for people to manufacture, keep, convey, sell or use certain fireworks. They also prohibit the importing of certain fireworks.

Explosives (Security Sensitive Substances) Regulations 2006 These relate to any substance that is declared to be a security sensitive substance. A security sensitive substance means ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate blasting intermediate or an ammonium nitrate mixture that contains 45% of ammonium nitrate. No further substances have been declared to be a security sensitive substance since the inception of this regulation in 2006.
 

National consideration of explosives reform – Policy Proposals

Each jurisdiction in Australia has its own legislation and systems for the regulation of the lawful use of explosives.

The Bill has been prepared in line with 4 nationally consistent policy proposals.

The policy proposals that underpin the proposed legislation are:

  • the definition of explosives
  • the licencing framework
  • notification processes and
  • the explosives authorisation process.

You can read more about the policy proposals and how they were developed on the Background page.

What are the key things I need to know about the Bill?

The Explosives Bill 2021 will revoke the current Explosives Act 1936 and associated regulations. The Bill incorporates the nationally agreed four key policy proposals.

Appropriate and modern laws are necessary to ensure the safe regulation of the industry, as well as to protect the public and the environment.

The national policy proposals are not model laws designed for identical implementation across jurisdictions, like those which were developed during WHS harmonisation. They are agreed policies for respective jurisdictions to give effect to within their legislation.

To date, Queensland is the only jurisdiction to amend its explosives legislation in accordance with the national policy proposals. Other jurisdictions have indicated that they will progress amendments before Safe Work Australia is due to undertake a review of the implementation of the national policy proposals in 2022.

Along with the national policy proposals, 3 fundamental principles have been considered in the drafting of the Bill:

  • consistency with other states and territories
  • reduced red tape and regulatory burden and that
  • safety and security is not compromised.

The Bill aims to appropriately balance the promotion of business interests while continuing to maintain the safety and security of the South Australian public.

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