Dear Lifehacker, I've been hearing reports that the Australian government is all set to ban drones at the hobbyist level. Is there any truth to this? If they are banned, what happens to the drones I currently own? Thanks, Earth Aviator
In September last year, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority relaxed rules to make it easier to fly drones in Australia. The new laws allow people to fly commercial drones weighing up to 2kg without the need for a licence.
In part, the changes were introduced due to the significant challenges of regulating something that is so easy for civilians to buy and use. However, plenty of councils aren't happy about the changes and a safety review is set to take place sometime this year.
In addition to concerns about accidental injury and privacy breaches, there are also fears drones could be used in some form of terrorist attack. Examples proffered by lobbyists include delivering a bomb to a public place or purposely colliding with a commercial aeroplane.
Last month, members of the Australian senate stepped up their attack during a drone safety hearing. One Coalition member even called for a blanket ban on drone sales until the aforementioned safety review has been completed.
For its part, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority insists that the existing rules are adequate. Nevertheless, some councils and local government departments have introduced by-laws to further restrict where drones can be flown.
For now, it's still legal to fly the drones you own provided they weigh no more than 2kg and you follow the existing rules. There's no telling what will happen once the safety review has been digested, however.
The Australian government tends to move pretty swiftly when it comes to potentially dangerous hobbies - just look at what happened to airsoft guns and so-called hoverboards. You can find out more about the recent senate stoush in the video below.
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