Fri, 20 Jul, 2018
'It's a joke': Ban on backyard barbecue smoke dubbed un-Australian
One state in Australia is receiving backlash after drafting laws that aims to reduce the smoke created by backyard barbecues.
The Tasmanian Government has released draft smoke laws that include limiting the number of landholders allowed to burn vegetation and toughening standards around wood-heater emissions.
The Tasmanian BBQ Society has spoken out against the changes, which have been labelled as ‘un-Australian’, in fear it will make it easier to fine people if their barbecues produce too much smoke.
"When you're talking about the amounts of smoke that some of these permit and controlled burns give off, in comparison to what is an Australian way of life — the barbecue — it's a joke," president Rowan Peterson told the ABC.
The draft regulations state that barbeque smoke is unlawful it is:
(a) visible for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more; and
(b) during that continuous 10-minute period is visible for a continuous period of 30 seconds — (i) in the case of a heating appliance or fireplace in a building, or part of a building at a distance of 10 metres or more from the point on the building, or part of the building, where the smoke is emitted; or (ii) in the case of a heating appliance or outdoor heating or cooking appliance or fireplace that is not in a building, or part of a building — at a distance of 10 metres or more from the point where the smoke is emitted.
Mr Peterson believes that these laws could be maliciously used in spats between neighbours.
"If you have a nasty neighbour and/or a grumpy person that lives in your street, in my opinion it's just a tenuous argument that they can use to cause more issues," he said.
While much of the Draft Smoke Act is rewording of the rules introduced in 2007, the consequences have ramped up.
Under the new changes, barbecuing Tassies could be fined two penalty units if their fire breaks smoke rules. Magistrates will also be able to impose fines of up to $1,600 as a maximum penalty in courts.
"There's so many forms of barbecue that relate to so many cultures in Australia," Mr Peterson said.
"Not only does it affect your backyard bloke doing chops and snags, it'll affect anyone potentially who wants to cook outdoors."
Fellow member of the Tasmanian BBQ Society, Rowan Armitage, said authorities should be "tackling the big end of town".
"How much damage does 500 barbecues on a Sunday afternoon do compared to the huge forestry burn-offs?" he asked.
On social media, many residents criticised the changes.
"Bugger off fun police, a smoking BBQ keeps the mozzies away," Brendon Nowak said.
"They can fine me all they like I'll be still having a nice smoking BBQ unless it's a total fire ban," added Quinton Turner.
What are your thoughts on the smoke laws? Let us know in the comments below.