Consultation paper – Long term solution to unsafe decorative alcohol fuelled devices

Closed 21 May 2017

Opened 21 Apr 2017


The ACCC invites you to provide information and comment on a consultation paper to inform the development of a long term solution to unsafe decorative alcohol fuelled devices.

The consultation paper outlines what the ACCC sees as the relevant policy options, and sets out a number of questions. However, the ACCC welcomes submissions on any issue that you see as relevant.

The issues in the paper have been briefly summarised below, please refer to the document for further details.

The ACCC prefers submissions to be provided via the ACCC consultation hub. Alternatively, submissions can be emailed or posted to:

Standards and Policy
Consumer Product Safety Branch
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
GPO Box 3131


Consultation is open from 21 April 2017 to 21 May 2017. Following the consultation process, the ACCC will make a recommendation to the Minister.

It is important that you provide your submission by 21 May 2017. The ACCC may not be able to incorporate, into its recommendation, any submissions received after this date. You may like to consider providing an initial short submission outlining key points, and then providing, by 21 May 2017, supporting material such as data, reports and documentation.

Submissions will be published on the ACCC website at the end of the consultation period.

Please note any information that you believe to be of a confidential nature should be clearly marked or identified as confidential. The ACCC will not disclose the confidential information to third parties (other than the Minister’s office, and advisors or consultants engaged directly by the ACCC) except where permitted or required by law.

Why We Are Consulting

There are certain decorative alcohol fuelled devices in the Australian market that are unsafe because of their design and lack of appropriate safety features to protect consumers from death and serious injuries.

Decorative alcohol fuelled devices are designed for domestic use producing a flame using alcohol as fuel. The devices are primarily used for decoration although larger models also provide heating.

Based on incident and injury data, and consultation with suppliers, the table top devices appear to be the most dangerous. The most significant problem is that many of these small devices require refilling in the same location as the burner opening, and the flame can sometimes be invisible.

The table top devices are likely to be too small to include sufficient mechanisms to improve their safety.

A national interim ban is currently in place and the ACCC is consulting on policy options to inform a long term regulatory solution to address the safety hazards associated with decorative alcohol fuelled devices.

The following policy options considered in the paper are informed by our engagement with industry and our analysis of market and incident data.

Option 1  No further action once the interim ban ends

Option 2  Make a mandatory safety standard for decorative alcohol fuelled devices with the same effect as the interim ban

Option 3  Make a mandatory safety standard that requires all containers of ethanol fuel with a capacity of 5 litres or less, when packed and labelled as a 'biofuel' suitable for use in 'spirit burners', to have a flame arrester

Option 4  Make a mandatory safety standard that combines Options 2 and 3

Option 5  Make a permanent ban on table top devices



  • Consumer groups
  • Government
  • Small business


  • Product Safety