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The one illegal act that could cost you $52,000 this New Year’s Eve

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On Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people will ring in the new year by watching fireworks displays in parks and on harbours.

But those planning on buying fireworks and setting them off themselves are being warned they could attract hefty fines.

Fireworks are illegal in every state and territory in Australia, unless you are an authorised pyrotechnician or obtain a licence to act as one.

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In New South Wales, buying, possessing or discharging fireworks without a licence can attract a fine up to $27,500 and a penalty of 12 months in prison.

“Fireworks in the hands of unlicensed users is a sure fire way to put people and property in danger,” SafeWork NSW head Natasha Mann said last year.

“Whether it is the guy with the lighter, or the child standing too close to an explosive — your cracker night could end in hospital in a split second.

“Fireworks are not toys — they are regulated under explosives laws as they can cause serious injuries and death and should only be handled by licensed and trained individuals.”

In Queensland, only people with licences are allowed to handle fireworks.

Possessing fireworks without a licence could result in a fine of $52,220 or a penalty of six months in prison.

A similar rule applies in Victoria, where only licensed pyrotechnicians are allowed to use or carry fireworks and anyone else can face criminal charges, attracting penalties including jail for up to 15 years and thousands of dollars in fines.

The use of fireworks by the general public is also banned in Western Australia and can result in thousands of dollars in fines.

In the Northern Territory, fireworks are only allowed to be sold and set off during an approved period on Territory Day commonly known as “Cracker Night”.

It is otherwise illegal without a permit and carries a fine of $1570.

People caught with illegal fireworks in South Australia will also face a maximum fine of $5000.

– With Ailish Delaney

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