As the ABC suggests the regulations vary between states, and councils.
Qld has a state govt requirement, that is varied by local governments. Some LGAs provide different advice on whether you are rural or urban residential. Enforcement of the backyard fire requirements, may depend on neighbours dobbing in neighbours and a council keen to act. Hence common practice may arise that is not compliant.
Our residential neighbours light up often assuming they are ok because their fire is less than 2x2m x2m high. They obviously use a Standard Glass House metre as their measure, a hop step and a jump = 1SGHm.
The other out is where permitted In Qld, outdoor fires are ok for cooking food and warmth per the State. State trumps council. You just need to read selectively. Cairns as @Fred123 points out is more restrictive. An outdoor fire in the tropics? Guess if you make it Smokey enough it will keep the mozzies away.
A fascinating lapse in our many, many laws, rules, and regulations is that it is quite common for a product to be illegal to own, illegal to use, but not illegal to import or sell for a variety of reasonable as well as unreasonable reasons, and sometimes place dependent. Is it the shop’s responsibility to know all the relevant local laws where you live or will use a product?
If it was illegal throughout Australia, possibly yes, but with fire pits/wood fired heaters/wood fired pizza ovens etc, the rule change from local council to local council. It is also possible that a house on one side of the street can install and use them legally, while the one on the other in a different council area it could be illegal (just have to love Australia).
A retailer should not be expected to know the ins and outs of one property, local council area or local laws to determine if a person can install and use one of the above legally. It is one’s responsibility to do so before they buy.
It is a bit like buying a motorbike to ride when one only has a light vehicle licence. A bike seller should not have to find out if the buyer or the potential rider is currently and correctly licenced. It is up to the buyer to purchase something they can lawfully use, even if its operation may be unlawful.
Unfortunately, there are many home DIYs which don’t check, install things themselves and then find out through enforcement action (such as resulting from a complaint) that what they have done is illegal.
I might have missed the bit about “community minded”, especially as Bunnings, or ‘Mighty Helpful - Mitre10’ offer advice with their service. It might simply need a suitably large warning sign with the respective product displays. Also a generic product guide at the counters with the relevant area councils web site links.
Yes, legally the retailer gets off the hook. Does ‘change of mind’ cover, I forget to check local council requirements?
FWIW a few years back when there were serious water restrictions and the ‘water policing’ people were everywhere, it was illegal to use anything but a trigger hose that defaulted to shutting off when not held on. Bunnings among others continued to sell the entire range of hose sprayers, complying as well as not complying.
There was never any notice; caveat emptor for breaking the laws of the time.
But it isn’t an Australian article. Looks like Nine has posted a US article on the local website.
Also, while fire pits are illegal in many areas in Australia, wood fired barbecues may not be (check with local council for their status). One may legally have a fire only when cooking, but the same BBQ can’t be used for other purposes or times.