Drones are a bigger threat to safety than privacy, Queensland’s acting privacy commissioner says.

Flying drones with onboard cameras are more of a safety hazard than a privacy threat, Queensland’s acting privacy commissioner says.

Amateur enthusiasts are increasingly buying the remote-controlled aerial devices, which aviation officials say are hard to regulate.

Drones’ sharp rotor blades are emerging as a safety issue, with reports of injuries in Australia and the US as the number of operators multiplies.

Acting privacy commissioner Clare Smith says the short flying time of existing models means drones are yet to become a major privacy concern.

“It will be a safety issue before it becomes … a privacy issue,” she told a state parliamentary committee on Wednesday.

“At the moment, there’s 15 minute flying time.

“It’s emerging, and we’ll have to look at those privacy issues, but it’s still early days.”

Last year, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) officials told a Senate hearing it was difficult to regulate drones, which often weigh less than seven kilograms.

CASA has issued numerous warnings to users for safety breaches, and is rolling out a public awareness campaign.

There have been instances in the US of drones’ propellers and rotor blades severing fingers, while in Western Australia an athlete on a fun run has been injured.