SSAA NSW President’s Message – Lance Miller

G’day members,

Welcome to this edition of the SSAA NSW E-Shooter.

The stop press news for this edition is the announcement of our new CEO for SSAA NSW who we can now confirm is Andrew Macaulay.

Andrew is a lifelong shooter, having been introduced to the sport by his father and he is a member of SSAA NSW. Andrew has coached competitive rifle shooters, including his sons who are avid hunters. He is a keen hunter, harvesting game across Australia, as well as a firearms collector, and a regular pistol and occasional sporting clays shooter. Andrew’s wife is also a pistol shooter and hunter.

Andrew’s professional background in Australia and internationally covers Government relations, technology, and services businesses in primary industries, gaming, finance, print, and packaging.

Andrew is looking forward to engaging with SSAA NSW members and advancing our great sport.

As you can see Andrew ticks all the shooting boxes for SSAA NSW. He is licensed for long arms, pistols and collecting and shoots in all our main competition types, namely rifle, shotgun, and pistol. Andrew then rounds out his bona fides with his interest in hunting.

Andrew’s interest in shooting is both gratifying and important, but the most important role he will undertake for us is the role of CEO.

Governance, strong finances and strong relationships with government, regulators and the firearms industry are essential for the leading peak body for civilian ownership of firearms in NSW. Andrew is well qualified to provide the leadership required to protect our sport with skills in training and a strong respect for public safety, both of which underpin our commitment to the broader NSW community. Most importantly, engaging with our membership and continuing the strong membership communications is well suited to Andrew’s personality and skills.

I was particularly gratified by the quality of applicants for the position of CEO of SSAA NSW. The recruitment company shortlisted a large group of applicants that had the necessary skills to meet our requirements. The employment committee resolved to interview only 5 of the best of those applicants, and even then, we ended up with 6 applicants that we wished to interview.

Our brand, SSAA NSW, is respected and considered an influential company for high quality managers to aspire to work with. I wish to thank our Board for their commitment to develop and drive our high quality culture, and I thank our outgoing CEO Jai, for his huge contributions in getting us to this position which Andrew will now grow for a stronger SSAA NSW.

Andrew will start on the 22nd March and will get his induction at our Board meeting that weekend. A tough start, but Andrew is keen to jump in at the deep end.

Andrew and I will do a week of Branch committee zoom meetings ASAP to introduce Andrew to your Branch leaderships.

I wish to thank our employment committee, chaired by Rob Austin, and made up of Scott Wagner, Alison Worldon and myself. These directors are all in working life positions where they employ and manage staff and Rob has great skill in all matters HR and workplace health and safety and under his chairmanship the process was smooth and professional.

While I am thanking people, I would also like to thank our disciplinary committee and our review committee. December 2023 is the first time we have had a discipline matter under our new state CLG constitution, I believe it is also the first time the review committee (previously the appeals committee) have had cause to meet, which was in January this year.

The discipline committee is made up of SSAA NSW Board members, in this case chaired by Scott Wagner, while the review committee is made up of what I call our “wise and respected heads”. Both the Board and the Review committee are elected by the AGM. The difference is that the review committee is constitutionally empowered to override the Board discipline committee, while the previous Appeals committee model could not override the Board. This is a discipline model that ensures someone is responsible for difficult discipline matters (the Board) while the Review committee ensures that the disciplined member is protected by a second level of review.

Scott and his committee of Directors did an amazing job for our first Discipline hearing. It is a difficult task with strong legal ramifications, and if done professionally, legally, and compassionately it avoids costly legal disputes within our membership. The amount of investigation undertaken by the Board before the hearing was prodigious and as this was the first such hearing those investigations were reviewed for accuracy, completeness, and legality by a lawyer.

The appeals committee met on this matter and found the Board and the Discipline committee had investigated and proven the matters and as such the appeal was rejected. The appeals committee had to meet quickly based on review timelines and I thank them for being available so quickly, and for their diligence and integrity in this very important role.

Just a quick note on mandatory attendance. Although we have made what will likely be successful moves to reduce mandatory attendance to a total of 2 for long arms (both target and hunting combined) the regulations still have long arms target at 4 attendances and long arms hunting at 2 attendances for this year. Pistol and collecting remain the same and will not vary in the proposed change to a minimum of 2 attendances for long arms.

You have until June 30 to complete your attendances (4 target, 2 hunting, 1 collecting for long arms and as per your pistol ownership for pistol attendances) for the 23/24 financial year.

SSAA NSW is working to modify your membership so that you can opt in to auto renewal of your SSAA NSW membership. This is becoming very important as NSW firearms registry continues to develop Gunsafe.

Firearms registry Gunsafe program is being prepared to roll out for clubs and members. This program is in use for dealers but will be expanded to include firearms owners and will automatically inspect your genuine reason in real time.

If your genuine reason is SSAA membership, then the day your membership runs out means so does your license expire. Hence the need to protect you from inattention around membership and the safest way we can do that is to provide an opt in auto renewal that ensures your membership is always up to date.

I would like to finish this report with a special thankyou to our staff. Jai finished up in January and Andrew starts in March which left our staff without a CEO for a crucial period. The Audit process, the preparation for the AGM, and the issues surrounding ranges, and membership issues with registry have all continued full steam ahead. Our office staff led by Tracey and our range management led by Peter have managed increased workloads and pressure with good humour, hard work, skill, and diligence.

Andrew inherits a wonderful staff and I hope that the membership appreciates their efforts and thanks them when you have the opportunity.

Thank you and stay safe,

Lance Miller

SSAA NSW President

Andrew Macaulay – SSAA NSW CEO