Australian Laser Laws

Australian Laser Laws

2008 in Australia, a number of coordinated attacks take place involving high-powered laser pointers being pointed at the cockpit of commercial aircraft - Australian Laser law will never be the same.

According to federal law in Australia, any hand-held, battery operated laser with a power emmission above 1mW is considered a dangerous weapon, and written consent must be obtained prior to possessing/importing such a laser pointer. However, according to an Australian Customs fact sheet, laser diodes, modules and other laser equipment above 1mW is legal to import.


State-by-State breakdown:



The possession and use of a laser pointer with an output greater than 1 milliwatt is restricted to persons with a genuine reasonable excuse. A reasonable excuse is defined in the Act and allows members of recognised astronomical organisations and people who have genuine occupational reasons to have possession of a laser pointer with a power output of less than 20 milliwatts. Firearms licensees who have possession of a firearm that has the capacity to use a laser pointer with a power output of less than 10 milliwatts will also be considered a reasonable excuse. The possession and use of laser pointers for any purpose will not be restricted where the laser pointer is less than 1 milliwatt. - Queensland Police Service



New South Wales:

Laser pointers are hand held, battery operated devices designed or adapted to emit a laser beam that may be used for the purposes of aiming, targeting or pointing. In recent times, some members of the public have acted irresponsibly by directing the laser beam into the cabins of motor vehicles and the cockpits of aircraft. This reckless practice can blind drivers and pilots and has the potential to cause significant loss of life.

To put a stop to such behaviour, the Government has made it an offence for anyone to have a laser pointer in their custody in a public place or to use a laser pointer in a public place without a reasonable excuse. If a police officer has reasonable grounds for suspecting that you are in possession of a laser pointer in a public place, they may search you, confiscate the laser and commence legal action.

The NSW Police Force understands that people use laser pointers for legitimate purposes and that some people need to carry their laser pointers around with them. For example, some teachers and builders use laser pointers in their jobs and need to carry them to and from their workplaces. Low powered laser pointers will continue to be available for such uses. Other people carry lasers to pursue hobbies such as astronomy. Rest assured that if you have a reasonable excuse for carrying your laser, then there will not be a problem.

New legislation also restricts who can possess and/or use laser pointers with a power level of greater than one milliwatt. From 18 July 2008 you will require a permit to possess or use such a laser pointer, unless an exemption applies to you. To apply for a permit, you will need to contact the Firearms Registry on 1300 362 562 or visit Permits will only be issued to applicants who have a genuine reason for having such a device. For example, that the laser pointer is required for the type of business/employment in which you are engaged.

Note that you will not need to obtain a permit to possess/use a laser pointer with a power level greater than one milliwatt if you are a member of an approved astronomical organisation.




We located the following quote in this Victorian Police publication: Laser pointer: A hand-held, battery-operated article designed or adapted to emit a laser beam with an accessible emission limit of greater than 1 mW.



Western Australia:

No official media release from W.A police, but 1mW is the federal limit. More information on Western Australia laser laws can be found here: Western Austraia Laser Laws



South Australia:

On 17 April 2010 a regulatory amendment to the Summary Offences (Dangerous Articles and Prohibited Weapons) Regulations 2000 SA will come into effect making hand-held laser pointers designed or adapted to emit a beam greater than 1 milliwatt (mW) a prohibited weapon.



Northern Territory:

According to this weapons control regulations document, laser pointers with an accessible emission under 1mW are not controlled.




Any handheld, battery powered laser device with an accessable emission level above 1mW is classified as a prohibited weapon. A permit must be obtained prior to the possession or use of a laser pointer with a power output greater than 1mW.



While we try our best to keep this page as accurate as possible, this is in no way legal advice, and the accuracy of this information is in no way guaranteed. This information is provided as a reference only. We recommend you research the laws in your state or country before buying a laser pointer and take no responsibility if you get yourself into trouble. Please treat lasers with upmost respect, remember they're not toys.

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