Disposing of unwanted explosives
If you have explosives that you don't want or legally possess, they can be surrendered without fear of prosecution or fines. We encourage the voluntary surrender of explosives.
Explosives are dangerous and can present risks to residents if they are not stored and managed in a secure and safe manner. Explosives may become more dangerous as they deteriorate with age. Explosives can also get into the wrong hands (in particular children) who are not aware of what explosives can do.
Explosives are frequently found in deceased estates or when people move into new premises. Sheds should be checked for explosives, along with associated equipment.
Old and unsafe explosives stored and often forgotten include:
- detonating cord
- marine flares
- picric acid used in laboratories
- propellant powders
- small arms ammunition.
Inspectors make about 600 collections from the public each year to remove these explosives from the community.
Contact the Explosives Inspectorate on 1300 739 868 (24 hour emergency response hotline).
How to surrender small arms ammunition voluntarily
If you have small arms ammunition which you cannot legally possess, you can surrender it voluntarily without fear of prosecution.
You can either:
- surrender sporting ammunition (e.g. calibres up to 19mm in brass and steel cases, brass and plastic shotgun shells) to a nominated firearms dealer
- contact the Explosives Inspectorate on 1300 739 868 (24 hour emergency response hotline) if you have difficulty getting to a surrender centre.
- keep small arms ammunition of any kind unnecessarily
- dispose of small arms ammunition inappropriately (e.g. in rubbish bins).
What to do if you find explosives or want to surrender explosives
Do not touch explosives including:
- detonating cord
- packaged explosives
- bulk explosives
- ammunition (other than small arms ammunition)
- dry picric acid
What to do
- Do not touch the explosive
- Secure the area
- Call the Explosives Inspectorate on 1300 739 868 (24 hour emergency response hotline)
- Call the Police
What will happen
- Explosive items will be removed or destroyed.
- If the explosive is too dangerous to take away, another method of disposal will be used.
How to dispose of marine flares
Expiry dates are stamped on the side of each flare.
You must dispose of out-of-date flares as soon as possible as their ability to function as designed is no longer assured.
Out-of-date marine flares can be disposed of in special collection bins provided by the Queensland Department of Transport at:
- Volunteer Marine Rescue
- Australian Volunteer Coast Guard
- Queensland Transport Maritime Safety Queensland.
Refer to the list of flare disposal locations on the Maritime Safety Queensland website.
How to surrender fireworks
It is illegal to make, keep or use fireworks (including firecrackers) without a licence in Queensland.
If you find fireworks or are given fireworks, contact the Explosives Inspectorate on 1300 739 868 (24 hour emergency response hotline) to arrange for their collection and disposal.
Community safety posters
You can download these posters for community noticeboards:
- Surrender of small arms ammunition (PDF, 580KB)
- Explosives are dangerous DON'T TOUCH (PDF, 1.6MB)
- Keeping the community safe and secure from fireworks (PDF, 2.5MB)
- Don’t be left at sea: Keeping old marine safety distress signals is dangerous (PDF, 3MB)
- Explosives discovered after emergencies and disasters (PDF, 1.6MB)