Hunting Advocacy

COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on our sport and hunting activities to the detriment of our members, native wildlife and the Australian economy.

A recent report commissioned by the Department of Health recognised the benefits of hunting and the shooting sports for 640,000 law-abiding firearms owners across Australia.

Economic Benefits

The estimated financial contribution to the economy from recreational hunting and sport shooting activity in Australia in 2018, was $2.4 billion.

New South Wales and Victoria are recognised as the two states who contribute the most to this economic footprint.

Health Benefits

This study also recognises the physical and mental health benefits to those who participate in the sport, with hunters are shooters identified as more likely to be active than the general population.

Wildlife Benefits

In addition to the benefits for Australians, hunting also contributes to the betterment of native Australian wildlife. Recent bushfires and dry conditions in our state have had disastrous consequences for our native flora and fauna. This is a situation that has received much media attention.

As a result of such tragedy, non-native game and feral animals will be competing for food and water resources with increasing volume.

Feral cats, in particular, are the most significant contemporary driver of extinction for our native animals (Australian Government: Threatened Species Strategy).

Hunting feral pests protects our precious and vulnerable flora, fauna and ecological systems from the threat of extinction. Strategic culling through the use of dedicated and qualified law-abiding firearms owners is the most humane method of pest management.

Advocacy

A couple of weeks ago SSAA NSW was invited to participate in a working forum to help re-establish hunting activities. We were also asked to determine any assistance the sector may need during and post COVID-19.

The Department of Primary Industry Hunting and Fishing working forum includes key stakeholders in the industry.

SSAA NSW CEO, Jai Rowell, was asked to contribute to the forum and is working hard to ensure the re-opening of State Forests and the restoration of hunting opportunities.

Government is working towards easing various restrictions.

SSAA NSW continues to focus on achieving positive results in this space. We are proud to be recognised as a leading force in the industry with regards to our advocacy for shooting and hunting.

SSAA NSW looks forward to reporting back on the outcomes of our advocacy shortly.

Thank you,

Lance Miller - President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell - CEO/Executive Director, SSAA NSW

SSAA NSW Request for Feedback: NSW Government Proposed Legislation

SSAA NSW, as your peak association, monitors proposed legislative changes that impact law-abiding firearms owners and responds where necessary.

The NSW Government is intending to amend the Firearms Act 1996 with the introduction of The Firearms and Weapons Legislation (Criminal Use) Bill 2020 later this year. SSAA NSW has been invited to make a submission to the NSW Parliament regarding the proposed bill.

The stated purpose of the amendment is to strengthen the provisions relating to illegal manufacture of firearms or prohibited weapons and to clarify police powers when conducting firearms prohibition order searches.

By reading the proposed legislation (which was prepared without industry consultation), it appears that there are unintended consequences which may prevent law-abiding firearms owners from working on their own firearms for legal and legitimate purposes.

While SSAA NSW supports the toughening of laws on criminals, this draft legislation needs significant clarification before being introduced into Parliament. SSAA NSW will use your input to fight against any potential negative impact on law-abiding firearms owners.

In preparing our response, we ask all SSAA NSW members and other individuals/organisations to provide comment on how the proposed legislation, if passed, would impact yourself (as a law-abiding firearms owner) and your sport/discipline/recreational activities. Any response received may be used in SSAA NSW’s submission, without any identifying information.

SSAA NSW will always advocate for the interests of our members and all other law-abiding firearms owners. Your assistance is greatly appreciated and will help us fight against unintended consequences. You can email your comments to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

This is the time that we, as an organisation and industry, must come together to change the draft legislation to protect law-abiding firearms owners.
 
Thank you,
 
Lance Miller - President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell - CEO/Executive Director, SSAA NSW

Further Information from NSW Police on Hunting

NSW Police have provided further information this afternoon, in relation to hunting and fishing. Please follow this advice and continue to monitor any changes that are made by Government as the pandemic continues:

Rural Crime - NSW Police Force

FISHING/HUNTING TRIPS

  • While brief fishing trips from home are considered exercise (within the two-person limit), fishing and camping holidays are not.
  • Please don’t think if you pack up your fishing, camping or hunting gear this Easter or school holiday break and travel into country NSW that you are doing it legally – you are not.
  • The inclusion of fishing, hunting and golf as an allowable recreation is about people who can access that activity locally. You cannot use fishing, hunting or golf as an excuse to travel on a holiday or to your usual retreat in country NSW.
  • The key message here is people should not to travel unless it is absolutely necessary to do so and covered by an exemption (for example to go to the supermarket or doctor).
  • We are asking people to understand that staying inside your own community with your own family is the safest option.
  • All police in regional NSW will be patrolling roads and conducting high visibility policing operations. Along with traffic law enforcement, those officers will be targeting unnecessary travel.
  • Persons detected travelling without reasonable excuse will be directed to return to their home address and run the risk of being issued with a $1000 infringement notice.

Statement released on the Rural Crime - NSW Police Force Facebook page today, 3 April 2020.

We will provide further updates as they come to hand.

Thank you,

Lance Miller - President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell - CEO, SSAA NSW

MANDATORY ATTENDANCE RELIEF - FIREARMS AMENDMENT (COVID-19) REGULATION 2020

In early March, SSAA NSW advocated on behalf of all SSAA NSW members and other law abiding firearms owners seeking an exemption and/or extension to mandatory attendance requirements. This was in anticipation of escalating measures surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the closure of ranges and the Government’s restrictions on sporting activities.
 
SSAA NSW has been in regular contact with the NSW Firearms Registry and other stakeholders around this issue.
 
We are pleased that the Firearms Amendment (COVID-19) Regulation 2020 has now been made. This allows exemptions and extensions to requirements around this and other matters. SSAA NSW are seeking clarity on some details with the NSW Firearms Registry and we will share these with you in the near future.
 
Further to attendance requirements, licence renewals affected by COVID-19 restrictions will also be addressed so that members can renew as soon as possible.
 
In these unprecedented times, it has been encouraging to see the various shooting organisations and supporters come together to secure this outcome for all law-abiding firearms owners across the state. We also appreciate the assistance of the NSW Firearms Registry in their communications and cooperation with SSAA NSW and the wider law abiding shooting community on this issue.
 
As your Peak Association, we will continue to advocate for our members and provide an effective and credible voice on behalf of all law-abiding firearms owners.

Thank you,

Lance Miller – President
SSAA NSW

Jai Rowell – CEO/Executive Director
SSAA NSW

Update on Hunting with Consideration of Restrictions on Gathering and Movement

SSAA NSW has been working with authorities to clarify the situation regarding hunting in NSW.

We have been advised that the NSW Government will allow hunting to remain at this stage, as long as social distancing measures are followed.

We have had a lot of inquiries as to what the NSW Government COVID-19 rules and restrictions are, at this time, on "gathering and movement" and what they may mean in relation to hunting.

SSAA NSW continues to advise members and law-abiding firearm owners to follow Government and Health advice and legislation.

Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order 2020 under the Public Health Act 2010.

This link provides guidelines on what is allowed. Part 2 Clause 5(2) provides for what is a reasonable excuse for leaving your residence, which includes:

(a)    obtaining food or other goods and services, or

(b)    travelling for the purposes of work or education if it is not possible to do it at home, or

(c)     exercise, or

(d)    medical or caring reasons.

Yesterday, for example, the Government clarified that fishing is passive exercise and is permitted.

The NSW Police Commissioner qualified this by stating "Just because fishing was permitted it didn't mean it was an invitation for people to go boating en masse. If you do need a break and if [fishing] is your exercise, then do it sensibly and do it quickly and return home. You can fish but if you end up on a wharf with 50 other people then we get back to safe distancing and getting tickets."

The key takeaway here is exercise and following social distancing rules as well as restrictions gatherings of no more than two people.

We understand that in relation to hunting, at this time, the same approach is being undertaken.

Please note that under Part 2 Clause 2(4) of the Public Health Order that: taking a holiday in a regional area is not a reasonable excuse. As we understand it, if hunting is captured under the Public Health Order reasonable excuses then it is permitted under strict conditions.

Travel

It is not advisable to travel large distances, as we must avoid the spread of COVID-19 across the State, including in regional and rural areas. Remember, the Public Health Order talks about exercise not holidaying.

We understand that it can be confusing and what is permitted today may not be permitted tomorrow as the pandemic continues.

SSAA NSW advocates for its members and all other law-abiding firearm owners. We also ask everyone to use common sense regarding this matter. Always check and follow the latest advice and restrictions from Government and the Department of Health.

We will provide further updates as they come to hand.

Thank you,

Lance Miller - President, SSAA NSW
Jai Rowell - CEO, SSAA NSW

Download SSAA NSW Standard Branch Constitution here

NSW Shooter now online