It has been an extremely busy year and as the last report for the year, I thought I would update you on some important matters.
SSAA Shot EXPO.
The SSAA Shot EXPO is back, and you can look forward to attending in October 2024. Save the date for the weekend of 19th and 20th October. It will be held at the Melbourne showgrounds.
Although it is SSAA NSW’s turn to host the SSAA Shot EXPO, SSAA Victoria are better positioned to co-host the EXPO with SSAA NSW.
Firstly, we will be much more cost effective if we do not use a conference facilitator. The impact of Covid has seen our preferred conference facilitator move into other employment and the SSAA Victoria staff did a great job running the last SSAA Shot EXPO along with some facilitator input. I am confident that their experience will ensure a successful relaunch of Shot EXPO.
Secondly, best facility available at the best time for our relaunch is the Melbourne showgrounds.
I wish to thank Winchester Australia for signing on as our Platinum sponsor. Clive Pugh, Winchester Australia CEO is a great advocate of consumer trade shows and was very quick to sign on to the top sponsorship level. I hope all members and all shooting sports enthusiasts support Winchester Australia, and their import brands, as a show of industry solidarity.
It is in the best interests of a successful SSAA Shot EXPO that SSAA NSW and SSAA Victoria co-host the Expo. It is likely that the 2025 SSAA Shot EXPO will be in Sydney, but will still be co-hosted by both SSAA NSW and SSAA Victoria.
Our brand in NSW parliament.
I am pleased to report that our interactions with the NSW Labor Government are strong with communication and logic being the key positive contributors. Our brand is recognised and respected because of our positive approach and our engaged membership.
Maintaining this brand strength is why we communicate with you in as many ways as we do. Keeping you informed is what helps you to be aware of issues facing our sport and your engagement makes our advocacy so much stronger.
NSW Firearms Registry.
We now have a date when Registry hope to turn on their club’s portal being July 2024. That is just 6 months away now. This portal will give registry real time updates of your memberships, genuine reason and eventually your attendances.
The importance of this date is how you achieve your genuine reason to support your firearms licence. If membership of SSAA NSW is your genuine reason, then a lack of membership will immediately impact on your licence. Currently SSAA has grace periods for membership renewal, but that has to stop based on NSW genuine reason laws.
The best way of ensuring your membership, and thus your licence does not expire if membership is your genuine reason; is to have an auto renewal for your membership. In our recent membership survey undertaken to gather your input for our strategic plan, we asked the question “who wants auto membership renewal?” and the answer was very strongly in favour, in excess of 90%.
We are working to introduce auto renewal for all members who want it. Some may not want to participate and there will be an opt out version available for those who have other methods of genuine reason.
Important SSAA NSW advocacy issues like range approvals, match approvals, licence reviews for disability to name a few important membership issues have all undergone review by Registry and the Firearms Registry Consultative Council (FRCC) and have changed for the betterment of our members. Additional reviews are still taking place and are progressing in a positive manner.
Law Abiding Firearms Owners.
We can participate in our sport and own firearms because we are law abiding. Another term used by police and regulators is “fit and proper person”. I believe our members are more focussed on being law abiding than most non shooters – we have more awareness of our responsibility.
I mention this because SSAA NSW will not tolerate bullying and/or other abuses or inappropriate behaviours. The Board must investigate and, if warranted, must action complaints of this nature from members.
You may hear rumours of activity around the Boards responsibility to protect our members. If you have any questions, please contact our office or, if you wish, contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, we have taken steps nationally to minimise the effects of sex, age or disability in our national competitions. Equality is a process that requires some support and time to transition so while there is international competition that does discriminate on sex or age, i.e. have competitions that are for women only or have age restriction, we should identify competitors that can compete further in these competitions, but at our SSAA core, competitions we should try to shoot shoulder to shoulder rather than in discrimination groups.
I will close with the truism that the only true constant is change. In this case the change for SSAA NSW is that Jai is finishing up with us in January to take on a larger role which is very well suited to his skillsets.
I’m very sad to see Jai go, but it is important that he continues to develop his skillsets and his potential to deliver best outcomes for him and his family. He is continuing to work very hard to transition all of his roles to our skilled staff and some onto our board members. The handover will be seamless and although he did a lot of work and held a lot of positions; that load will now be shared until our new CEO picks up the reins.
Jai gave us plenty of time to ensure an effective handover and to assist in finding his replacement. I am happy to report that we have quite a large list of potential candidates with strong skill sets and strong passion to take on this role after we interview. Our brand is very strong in the community and in the professional spaces like government. This is contributing to candidates with strong skillsets applying to be our CEO. Personally, I wish Jai the very best, we have worked very well together, and it has been a pleasure to work with him. I am sure we will remain good friends and I know that Jai intends to assist whenever we need input from him to continue the changeover, even after he has left. He will assist the new CEO to pick up the reins. Jai will continue to serve as a volunteer director with SSAA Mutual Pty Ltd for the benefit of members and the shooting sports; so he does intend to stay within arm’s reach of SSAA.
Jai leaves us in a much better place than where we were when he started.
*Our relationship with government is good.
*Relationship with the firearms registry is likewise very good.
*Our brand is strong amongst the industry and through the levels of politics and regulation that applies to the shooting sports.
*Our finances are improved.
*Our governance and our strategic vision are much stronger.
*Most importantly our communication with our members has grown and developed to the point where we have an engaged and informed membership that can collaborate on big projects when required.
Change can be opportunity. In my next report I hope to report to you more details for our next SSAA NSW CEO and management leader.
I hope everyone has a great Christmas and new Year. Please stay safe.