The Canberra community is uniting to fight Minister for Justice, John Hargraves’ ban on private fireworks displays on the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
A group that started on Facebook just a week ago now has over 5,200 members and is growing rapidly.
Spokesperson for the group, Clare Hogan is calling on the ACT Government to work with the community to develop strategies to adequately regulate the use of fireworks — ensuring they look at the issue in a holistic manner rather than listening to a number of lobby groups and the few complaints they get.
“The group ‘Lift ACT ban on fireworks’ wants the ACT Government to represent the entire community, the majority of whom want to see the continuation of Canberra’s favourite family tradition – fireworks night,” Clare Hogan said.
“The vast majority of the Canberra community enjoy fireworks and obey the law. The Government is only listening to a small minority whose opposition to fireworks is because a handful of people don’t follow the rules. This is going to ruin it for everyone.
“According to the survey work the Government commissioned in August 2008, 56% of the population agree that the ‘Canberra public should be able to buy and use fireworks’.
“This same research also reports that 18% of respondents or their families used fireworks on the 2008 Queen’s Birthday long weekend.
“This means there are over 60,000 Canberra residents enjoying fireworks in contrast to approximately 200 complaints John Hargraves has received.
“It is a shame that there are people in our community who engage in what can only be described as highly destructive behaviour or who simply do not follow the rules.
“However this does not justify a ban which penalises everyone. Otherwise the same logic could be applied to alcohol abuse or speeding on our roads. A few people breaking the rules does not justify an outright ban,” Ms Hogan said.