On 15 August 2018, the Paintball Act 2018 (NSW) (“the Act”) was passed by the NSW Parliament. The Act removed paintball markers from the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW) and established a separate system for the regulation of paintball markers, venues and activities. The Act has not yet commenced, with its provisions to commence on a day or days to be proclaimed.
Under the Act, paintball markers and activities fall under a new framework aimed to ensure the safety and security of players, while reducing paperwork for businesses. A key feature of the Act includes the reclassification of paintball markers as a sporting device and removing their ‘prohibited firearm’ status. This was intended to deliver a more streamlined permit system and reduce the minimum age limit to participate in paintball from 16 years to 12 years.
The consultation draft of the Paintball Regulation 2019 (NSW) (“the Draft Regulation”) and accompanying Regulatory Impact Statement was released on 24 May 2019. The Draft Regulations aim to reduce compliance burdens for this industry and put in place provisions in line with the low risk profile of the sport.
The Draft Regulations are proposed to commence at the time the Act comes into effect.
The Draft Regulations provide provisions in regards to permits to be granted under the Act. Firstly, under section 14 of the Act, a permit can only be held once a training course, as prescribed by the Draft Regulations, is completed. Under regulation 4, the training course is required to address the safe use and conduct of paintball marker activities.
The Draft Regulations also set out the minimum requirements for protective clothing and equipment to be used by individuals in order to be permitted into the paintball game area. These requirements include a helmet and mask to cover the individual’s eyes, neck, head and face. Enclosed shoes and protective clothing is also required.
Section 65 of the Act also provides that a register of paintball markers is to be compiled and maintained. The Draft Regulations will prescribe additional information which is to be included on the register for identification. The register is to contain details of the permit holder of the marker, storage location of the marker and any cancellation, suspension, disciplinary action or convictions against the permit holder. The register will not be a public register, and will be used by the Regulator for monitoring purposes and to continually assess the suitability of the permit holder.
The Draft Regulation also sets out provisions in regards to:
Some of the questions posed for consultation from the Regulatory Impact Statement include:
“Should the same training be required for paintball marker permits and paintball venue permits, or should it encompass different modules? If not, why not?
Should those persons who do not hold a paintball marker permit and who supervise the use of paintball markers be required to complete a specific training course to be able to undertake their duties?
Should paintball permits issued in other Australian jurisdictions be recognised as being equivalent to the permit issued in NSW?”
Consultation on the Draft Regulations is currently open. The consultation is focused on the impacts and time requirements for the industry and government to plan for the transition to the new arrangements.
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