Jai’s Journal: November 2019

G’day and Thank you

The year is flying past with Christmas almost upon us and SSAA NSW continues to grow from strength to
strength. As I am still within my first year as your CEO, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank those of you who have taken the time to share your thoughts as to how to make SSAA NSW an even greater organisation. A big thank you to all our volunteers who donate their time at ranges, or volunteer on conservation projects. It does not go unnoticed.

Record Funding Allocated to our Sport

This report highlights many recent, positive achievements of our organisation, but the most important news to mention is that SSAA NSW has been investing in the sport, branches, ranges and volunteers more than ever. Earlier this year, we focused on overhauling systems to better serve members and reduce costs. For every dollar
saved in administration, another dollar can be spent where it belongs: on you and our sport!

Member Increase

I am pleased to say that our efforts in increasing memberships are starting to pay off, with the addition of 900 new members in the month of August alone. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to this outcome,
particularly those of you who encouraged your female partners, friends and family to join.

Our female membership is increasing. Please keep up the good work and remember a larger organisation can provide more services to members and advocate more effectively in the long term.

My challenge to every member this month is to invite one person to join SSAA and try shooting. Wherever we go, SSAA NSW is recognised as the largest organisation representing the sport and the interests of law-abiding firearms owners.

SSAA NSW Newest Branch

I am pleased to report the establishment of SSAA NSW’s newest Branch: SSAA Albury. On behalf of the NSW Board and all SSAA Members, we welcome the Albury members into the family. The Branch is already active, putting its hand up to host the 2020 SSAA (NSW) 5 Stand State Titles.

SSAA NSW to Host Shot Expo 2020

Along with our Board, I am pleased to announce that SSAA NSW will play host to the SSAA Shot Expo next
year. The SSAA Shot Expo is Australia’s premier event for the Sports Shooting Industry and showcases shooting, hunting and outdoor trades to enthusiasts, those wishing to participate in the sport and the general public, with the view of improving public awareness, professionalism and safety. We look forward to seeing you there.

Investing in Ranges

Investing in ranges is one of our key focuses. With completion of recent projects, we can provide for more disciplines and more opportunities for law-abiding firearm owners to enjoy their sport. It was exciting to visit and inspect the recent upgrade to the 100 metre range and the brand new 200 metre range at Forbes with President Lance Miller, Junior Vice President Ben Smith and the Forbes Branch.

Detailed planning for a new shooting complex at Dubbo is well and truly underway, which will shoot many disciplines and house a minimum 1,000 metre range for long range target shooting. It’s full steam ahead in Dubbo, so that we can utilise the $3,000,000 funding from the NSW Government.

We are working very closely with Armidale Branch, so the first stage of works can be carried out soon. This will allow for a development application to be submitted for another premier range.

The long-awaited purchase of land at Temora is completed (subject to transfer papers being received). In addition, Macksville Branch and SSAA NSW have lodged a modification to the existing range to allow better use of the facility.

As always, we have also been working with many other Branches and ranges about future-proofing existing ranges and providing advice.

Grant Service

I previously reported that it was my intention to establish a grants function for SSAA NSW. I am pleased to say that this is now up and running. We are currently working with 14 Branches to put in a funding application in order to upgrade 14 different ranges. This will be an ongoing service.

SSAA NSW Strong Advocacy

SSAA NSW engages all levels of Government and across agencies advocating for law abiding firearm owners’ interests on many varied issues.

Our advocacy is strong and always ongoing. Sometimes we are loud, sometimes we work diligently towards results, without fanfare on an issue. We consistently work from a position of strength and evidence-based research and we always have our members in mind.

Some issues take a long time, whilst others are relatively short. This year there have been a number of wins, with a lot of issues heading in the right direction. We will update you as details come to hand.

One such issue we have been working on is the firearms museum regulation. Before the last State election, this
regulation insisted that all pistols and prohibited items that were on display at a museum needed to be rendered permanently inoperable.

This would have had a large impact on SSAA NSW, as we have a museum frequented by 100,000 people every year. The impact would also extend to other museums and of course RSL clubs.

SSAA NSW was invited by the Police Minister to make a written submission concerning the issue. We worked
with many other entities to advocate to Government and the Firearms Registry that this should be overturned.

We also suggested that items subject to proper safe storage should only be rendered temporarily inoperable. I was pleased to receive a letter from Government recently, explaining that the regulation had been changed and now allowed the Police Commissioner to distribute exemptions.

SSAA NSW was provided with an exemption for its important collection, which is a great win and we are thrilled to have contributed to such positive results with this campaign.

Conservation and Wildlife Management

We are working very closely with the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service with the roll-out of the Supplementary Pest Control Program.

Currently, we are also working with the Department of Primary Industries who I met recently and other stakeholders, exploring more conservation hunting opportunities.

This is an important part of what we do, and our members generously contribute vital assistance in this field.

Bequeaths and Donations

SSAA NSW regularly receives donations of firearms for display in the museum, or for contribution to the Association’s work.

Should you, or someone you know, wish to donate or bequeath firearms to SSAA NSW, please get in touch. We would be more than happy to facilitate that process.

Electronic Attendance System Rollout

The new SSAA NSW electronic attendance system has been implemented in the majority of our ranges.

This system records your attendance in real time with one easy swipe of your SSAA card and then prints you a
receipt. This means no more handwritten slips or delays in processing attendances.

Ninety (90) percent of all attendances are now electronic, which provides a better service for members. This saves the organisation a significant amount of money on data entry, which can then be re-allocated to member services.

New Service – Update your Details to be Included

We are trialling a new service, whereby an SMS or email will be sent to SSAA Members towards the end of the required reporting time.

This message will notify you of any outstanding attendances you may have. This is of enormous benefit to our members, as the Firearms Registry will suspend licences of those who have failed to complete their attendances.

To be included in this service, simply head to the SSAA Membership website at https://membership.ssaa.org.au/ forms/change and add your email and mobile number. It is a quick and easy process.

If you do not have access to the internet, you can call and update your details with the friendly staff at SSAA National on (02) 8805 3900. Updating your details is of the utmost importance.

Our new electronic attendance system, along with the SMS reminders, provides reliable data to you about your individual attendances so that we can help you avoid any licence suspension down the track.

I continue to visit our Branches and ranges, having now attended 47 Branches and many ranges and Affiliate Clubs. I am always impressed with the level of dedication and professionalism of our volunteers and cannot thank you all enough for your work. Every Branch and Affiliate Club has a great story to tell, whether it be:

  • Sydney Branch’s fantastic ladies Try Shooting
  • Illawarra Branch’s successful Illawarra Outdoor and Adventure Expo (for which SSAA NSW has provided sponsorship and assistance) that introduces thousands of people to the sport;
  • Bateman’s Bay Branch hosting of Junior Camp; or
  • Merriwa Branch’s participation in the School Farm Safety Day.

The list goes on and on and we say THANK YOU!

Enjoy our Sport and Merry Christmas

Even though we are very busy here at SSAA NSW, I remind our team every now and again that we need to find time to enjoy our sport. I enjoy taking our team to shoot at St Marys Indoor Shooting Centre when we can.

Shooting at our outdoor ranges is also a real highlight and now that the warmer months are here, I encourage you to head to the outdoor ranges too.

Additionally, I recently undertook Range Officer Training (alongside our Operations Manager) and was pleased to be presented with my RO card.

I would like to take this opportunity, on behalf of the Board and staff, to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, safe shooting and a happy New Year.

As always, see you at the range or out in the field.

Jai Rowell is the CEO of SSAA NSW and a former member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Wollondilly for the Liberal Party from 2011 to 2018. In April 2014 Rowell was appointed as Minister for Mental Health and Assistant Minister for Health during the Cabinet reshuffle under Premier Mike Baird. Under Gladys Berejiklian as Premier, Rowell was appointed as Special Adviser to the Premier and the NSW Government on Science, Industry and Innovation, a first of its kind. Jai was the first Liberal Indigenous member of the NSW Legislative Assembly. Jai has been appointed by Western Sydney University as a Fellow of Law.