For years, people all across Australia have partaken in the tradition of a good old-fashioned backyard barbecue, with the general consensus being nothing beats the smell of an Aussie sausage sizzle or a couple of steaks grilling on a warm summer’s day. It’s become part of Australian culture and gives families, friends and neighbours all across the country to bond over.
While barbecues seem innocent enough, they could soon be a thing of the past in some parts of Australia, with the Tasmanian Government drafting smoke laws that could see locals receiving fines if their barbecues produce too much smoke.
Under the draft regulations, released by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the innocent backyard barbecue could be breaking the law if it meets a set of criteria. Firstly, a fine could be issued if smoke is visible for a continuous period of 10 minutes or more. A fine can also be issued if the smoke can be seen 10 metres away from where the barbecue is happening. Essentially, this means a cranky neighbour could dob you in if the smoke reaches their property.
The Tasmanian government has drafted smoke laws that could see residents fined if their outdoor cooking produce more than 10 minutes of continuous visible smoke.
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“The main objective of the new Regulations will be to limit the smoke produced by heaters, fireplaces, outdoor cooking appliances and ‘backyard burning’ in and around urban areas,” the EPA said. “The regulations will place limitations on smoke emissions from wood-fired heating and cooking appliances, the circumstances under which backyard burning can take place and the types of material that may not be burnt.”
The proposal has angered many including the Tasmanian BBQ society. In a lengthy Facebook post, the society didn’t believe it was fair to target barbecues.
“Whilst we’re not against clean air or a better environment, we don’t think a blanket policy dealing with the aforementioned is fair, justified, nor Australian,” it said. “At present we are yet to see any scientific studies or raw data linking smoke from BBQs to respiratory issues; Nor data on how much smoke/pollutants is emitted from each of the respective categories.”
The society claimed anyone using a pit fire to keep warm, using a spit roast, a wood fired offset smoker or even a wood fired pizza oven could be issued with a $320 on-the-spot fine or even have an official inspect the property if someone complains.
“Has it really come to this?” the group asked. “Do we need to apply for a permit to cook a whole hog on a spit?”
The public is welcome to provide feedback via the EPA website, with submissions closing on August 17.