Drone ban Down Under? Politicians call for halt in sales, citing security concerns

In a rare display of bipartisanship, senators from both sides of parliament today asked for a freeze on the sale of small, or recreational, drones until stricter regulations can be put in place.

The call for a freeze was prompted by concerns over a terrorist attack, with recent online videos demonstrating ISIS-owned drones dropping grenades, and reports of drones increasingly being used to drop contraband into Australian jails. There's also the additional threat of drones causing damage to civilian aircraft as they fly in and out of densely populated areas.

The Coalition government promised a review on current regulations, but the senate was told that the points of reference of the review had not yet been finalised by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Queensland Senator Barry O’Sullivan wasn’t happy about it, saying, “We're eight months from the announcement and we don't have a terms of reference? We've allowed 50,000 of these up into airspace while we're having a think about how they should operate. I'm trying to see if I'm the only one concerned about this.”

However, CASA insists that the review is ongoing and is awaiting an international report on drone safety before making any recommendations.

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Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, Sharmishta's main priority is being TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor, looking after the day-to-day functioning of the Australian, New Zealand and Singapore editions of the site, steering everything from news and reviews to ecommerce content like deals and coupon codes. While she loves reviewing cameras and lenses when she can, she's also an avid reader and has become quite the expert on ereaders and E Ink writing tablets, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about these underrated devices. Other than her duties at TechRadar, she's also the Managing Editor of the Australian edition of Digital Camera World, and writes for Tom's Guide and T3.