Who needs a security clearance for a licence or permit

Explosives information bulletin no. 74 | 14 February 2020 | Version 3

Under Section 12A of the Explosives Act 1999 (the Act), an individual may apply for a security clearance. A security clearance is required for:

  • individuals who hold, or applicants applying for, a security sensitive authority issued under the Act
  • executive officers of a corporation who holds, or is applying for, a security sensitive authority issued under the Act
  • the nominated responsible person of a listed corporation who holds, or is applying for, a security sensitive authority under the Act
  • employees of security sensitive authority holders requiring unsupervised access to explosives in Queensland
  • any person requiring a government magazine access card
  • any other person required by the Chief Inspector of Explosives to hold a security clearance.

To be eligible for a security clearance, a person must:

  • be at least 18 years of age
  • have an Australian residential address, and
  • Assessed as suitable following a National Criminal History (NCH) check and Politically Motivated Violence (PMV) checks conducted by the Department through Queensland Police Service (QPS) and Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) respectively.

The NCH and PMV checks are required to determine a person’s suitability to hold a security clearance. These checks are carried out as part of the application process.

If a person is issued a security clearance, they will be continuously monitored by the QPS and ASIO and any relevant offences will be communicated to the Inspectorate within 24 hours of the charge being laid. If this occurs, the security clearance holder will be requested to provide further information on this offence to the Inspectorate. The information provided will be kept strictly confidential.

Under section 12B(3) of the Explosives Act 1999, an applicant will not be regarded as a suitable person to hold a security clearance if they are:

  • named as a respondent in a current domestic violence order
  • named as a respondent in a temporary protection order
  • under police protection order/notice, or
  • if release conditions have been imposed on the applicant under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act 2012 and are currently in force.

Should a current authority holder become a respondent in any of the orders above, all authorities and their security clearance will be immediately suspended/cancelled.

The Chief Inspector will also consider the impact of any prior domestic violence orders, temporary protection orders or police protection orders / notices imposed against an applicant to determine whether the person is suitable to hold a security clearance.

Listed corporations applying for, or who hold an explosives authority in Queensland must nominate a responsible person on behalf of the company. The responsible person must hold a security clearance or the Chief Inspector will refuse to issue the authority under section 17(1A) of the Explosives Act 1999.

Exceptions from requiring a security clearance

The following persons may not require a security clearance:

  • executive officers who reside overseas who have or wish to apply for an explosives authority
  • persons conducting activities with, or around, non-security sensitive explosives (power device cartridges, unrestricted fireworks listed in Schedule 6 of the Explosives Regulation 2017, distress signals, safety fuse and ignitors, electric matches and explosives designed to activate airbags, small arms ammunition)
  • small arms ammunition collectors’ who hold a Licence to Collect Ammunition under the Act and collectors of ammunition who are members of an approved collectors’ association approved by the Chief Inspector
  • where an explosive is stored in a secure area at a laboratory at an industrial facility, educational institution or research facility for use at the laboratory where the explosives is not more than:
    • 3kg of Security Sensitive Ammonium Nitrate (SSAN)  or
    • 100g of an explosive other than SSAN.
  • officers employed by law enforcement agencies e.g. Explosives Ordnance Response Team (EORT), Australian Federal Police (AFP), Queensland Police Service (QPS), correctional services
  • applicants for a licence to sell explosives (small arms ammunition only) under the Act
  • persons participating in an approved arms fair who hold a current weapons licence under the Weapons Act 1990
  • persons who reside in another State and hold an interstate security clearance issued by the explosives regulator of that State who are employed within Queensland for a continuous period of not more than 3 months.

The list below identifies the types of explosives against the activity which authorities (licence or permit) are issued and whether a security clearance is required for the type of explosives handled for a particular authority. When using the table below, if a Yes and a No are the outcomes determined, the Yes always overrides the No.

Activity YES – Security clearance required NO – Security clearance not required

Import (Licence and permit)

Export (Licence and permit)

  • Blasting explosives
  • Fireworks
  • SSAN
  • Propellant powders
  • Ammunition including SAA
  • Fireworks compositions
  • Pyrotechnic compositions
  • Rocket motors greater than 62.5g
  • Power device cartridges
  • Unrestricted fireworks
  • Distress signals
  • Safety fuse and igniters
  • Electric matches
  • Explosives designed to activate seatbelts, airbags, fire extinguishers, parachutes, circuit breakers and other devices listed by the chief inspector

Store (Licence and permit)

Transport (Licence)

  • Blasting explosives
  • Fireworks
  • SSAN
  • Propellants
  • Ammunition excluding SAA
  • Fireworks compositions
  • Pyrotechnic compositions
  • Rocket motors greater than 62.5g
  • Distress signals
  • Arms fairs -Permit to Store (if holder of a current Weapons Licence)

Manufacture (Licence)

  • Blasting explosives
  • Fireworks
  • SSAN
  • Propellant powders
  • Ammunition including SAA
  • Fireworks compositions
  • Pyrotechnic compositions
  • Rocket motors greater than 62.5g

N/A

Sell (Licence)

  • Blasting explosives
  • Fireworks
  • SSAN
  • Propellants
  • Ammunition including SAA
  • Fireworks compositions
  • Pyrotechnic compositions
  • Rocket motors greater than 62.5g
  • Small arms ammunition only

Shotfirer (Licence)

  • Blasting explosives
  • SSAN

N/A

Explosives Driver Licence
  • Class 1 Category 1
  • Class 1 Category 2
  • Class 1 Category 3
  • Class 5.1
N/A

Fireworks Contractor (Licence

Fireworks Operator (Licence)

  • Outdoor fireworks
  • Close proximity fireworks
  • Strings of firecrackers
  • Pyrotechnic compositions
  • Propellant powders

N/A

Use (Licence except shotfirer, fireworks contractors and operators)

  • Blasting explosives
  • Fireworks
  • SSAN
  • Propellant powders
  • Ammunition including SAA
  • Fireworks compositions
  • Pyrotechnic compositions
  • Rocket motors greater than 62.5g

N/A

Collectors’ Ammunition

N/A

N/A

Government magazine access card holders

  • All persons

N/A

Corporate licences and partnerships (security sensitive explosives only) where at least one partner is a corporation

  • Directors, owners, office bearers of a company (a private company and not a publicly listed company), association, cooperative or club
  • the nominated responsible person of a publicly listed company.
  • Directors, owners, office bearers etc of a
    - publicly company (listed on a stock exchange),     - a government agency

Legend and definitions

ASIO: Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

Blasting explosives: means an explosive used for blasting or a similar effect and includes detonators, boosters, a cartridge, detonating cord, high explosives such as TNT, ANFO, PETN; explosives for petroleum, gas and geothermal operations.

Distress signal: Distress signal means a packaged pyrotechnic substance used for signalling, warning, rescue or a similar purpose; and includes marine flares and signals, landing flares, highway fuses, line-carrying rockets and smoke generators.

Executive officer: A person who is part of a corporation that is concerned with, or takes part in, the corporation’s management, whether or not the person is a director or the person’s position is given the name of executive officer.

Listed corporation: A company whose shares are quoted on a stock exchange.

NCH: A National Criminal History (NCH) check is conducted by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) that lists an individual’s disclosable court outcomes and pending charges of any offences in Australia, if any.

PMV: A Politically Motivated Violence (PMV) check is conducted by ASIO on an individual regarding violence perpetrated by people or governments to achieve political goals.

Relevant offences: As per s23A(3) of the Explosives Act 1999, a relevant offence is an offence:

  • Involving a prescribed activity (an activity under the Explosives Act 1999);
  • Involving violence or threatened violence;
  • Involving the use, carriage, discharge or possession of a firearm;
  • Relating to the misuse of drugs;
  • Involving breaking and entering into premises, burglary, robbery, stealing or receiving stolen property;
  • Involving fraud, the fabrication of evidence, perjury or the making of a false declaration or statement.

Responsible person: for a listed corporation, means an executive officer or employee of the corporation who is nominated, by written notice given to the chief inspector, by the corporation as the responsible person for the corporation for matters relating to explosives.

SAA: small arms ammunition

SSAN: security sensitive ammonium nitrate

Unrestricted fireworks: Amorces and caps for toy pistols, Indoor table bombs, Model rocket motors—maximum weight 62.5g, Snaps for bon bon crackers, Sparklers, Starting pistol caps, Streamer cones and Indoor decorative fountains.

Unsupervised access: A person will be able to have access to an explosive other than in the presence, and under the direct supervision, of a person who holds a security clearance.



Authorised by Alex Mandl - Chief Inspector of Explosives
Contact: explosives@dnrme.qld.gov.au

Issued by Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy


General: This information is a guide only. It is not to be taken as a statement of law and must not be construed to waive or modify any legal obligation.

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