M.A.S. Laser Use Policy
NSW Summary Offences Act
Laser pointers are classed as "dangerous implements" and a person must not, without reasonable excuse, use or have custody of a laser pointer in a public place.
Laser pointers are defined as a "hand-held battery-operated device". There is no distinction in this Act regarding colour/frequency nor is there any minimum output power.
It is a “reasonable excuse” for a person to use or have custody of a laser pointer for the lawful pursuit of the person’s occupation, education, training or hobby.
NSW Weapons Prohibition Regulations
Individuals who wish to obtain or continue to possess battery operated hand-held laser pointers of more than 1 milliwatt are required to apply for a Prohibited Weapons Permit and will be 'subject to criminal and probity checks'. The permit fee is $127.00.
A person who has been a member of an approved Astronomical Society for more than three months will not be required to obtain a permit for astronomical use but may be asked to prove membership of the Society.
If you possess a laser pointer but your membership of Macarthur Astronomical Society then lapses, you may be in breach of the law and you are advised to obtain a permit or surrender the device to the police.
The Federal Government has banned the importation of laser pointers into Australia. Anyone seeking to import a laser pointer stronger than 1milliwatt must possess an appropriate exemption, which will work in the same way as for other restricted goods. The import ban allows legitimate users (including astronomers) to apply for an exemption from the ban.
To assist members, Macarthur Astronomical Society has:
(a) applied for and received registration by the NSW police force as an 'approved astronomical society' - so that members do not have to make individual applications to the police for prohibited weapon permits;
(b) Introduced membership identity cards - to provide enhanced evidence of membership of an 'approved astronomical society';
(c) created a voluntary register of members who own laser pointers - to assist all parties in the event of a problem. Members may fill out as little or as much detail as they want. It is not a requirement of the new legislation but we firmly believe it is reasonable and responsible for the Society to keep such a register and that it is in your best interests to register your laser pointer details with the Society. You can download the voluntary registration form from the 'Laser Links' section at the bottom of this page;
(d) Written to local police, broadly informing them of our member's use of laser pointers within their jurisdiction.
1. The maximum penalties for individuals contravening any state or commonwealth laser pointer laws are extremely severe.
2. Registration of MAS by NSW Police exempts members from the legal requirement to apply for (and pay for) a NSW Prohibited Weapon Permit to own a laser pointer but:
3. Subject to all of the above, members have a legal right to use laser pointers in pursuit of their astronomy hobby.
4. Should any member encounter any difficulty with the application of these requirements then you should contact the President or Secretary or call the NSW Police Fire Arms Registry direct at: 1300 362 562.
5. The information on this page is provided in good faith as a guide to members. However, it is the member's responsibility to seek their own advice on matters of law.
NSW Police list of approved Astronomical Societies: >> Here <<
NSW Police Fact Sheet: >> Here <<
NSW Police Laser Pointer page: >> Here <<
NSW Police FAQ page: >> Here <<
NSW Police Prohibited Weapon Permit page: >> Here <<
Australian Government Customs Service fact Sheet >> Here <<
Macarthur Astronomical Society Members Laser Pointer Registration Form >> Here <<
Laser Pointer Safety website (American) >> Here <<