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Nats 2017 No 16
Clubs and Branches
Hunting and Pest Control
Firearms training

Leading Sports Shooting Body

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) was incorporated as a public company on October 1, 1973. We exist to promote the shooting sports and protect firearm owners' interests.

With more than 36,000 members, SSAA Victoria is a leading body representing licensed firearm owners in Victoria. SSAA Victoria has more than a dozen branches and more than 30 sub-clubs and disciplines within the organisation.

SSAA Victoria News

Farmer Assist gets boost in Parliament

The Nationals Upper House MP Melina Bath called on the Government to better promote SSAA’s Farmer Assist program last week. The Member for Eastern Victoria brought the matter to the attention of Parliament (Page 118 on the Hansard document) following a meeting of SSAA Victoria representatives and The Nationals members in which several issues concerning the Association were raised. “We have a laundry list of matters we are bringing to the attention of MPs and government agencies to get a better outcome for our members,” said SSAA Victoria Communications Manager Justin Law. “Farmer Assist is among them and it was gratifying that on the same day as our meeting with The Nationals, it was brought up as a positive program designed to help farmers control pests and give our members the opportunity to provide a valuable service. “Engaging farmers to participate in the program has been a challenge so it’s great that a political party representing rural Victorians has thrown their weight behind it.” In calling on the Agriculture Minister to help promote the program, Ms Bath pointed out that Farmer Assist was well regulated with participants required to meet a high standard of competency which is assessed by SSAA Victoria’s Training and Education team. “The Farmer Assist program has been going for a little over two years, but the SSAA would like it to gain more traction to benefit the farming community,” she told the Legislative Council. “Standard operating procedures ensure that all of the highly trained members of the SSAA take the highest level of animal welfare into consideration when controlling pests. “Landholders have total control over who comes onto their property, and the key thing which I learned today is that the program is very much about the creation of a relationship between the landholder and the SSAA member.” Other issues raised at the meeting earlier in the day included the introduction of a Waterfowl Conservation Harvest Model to create a scientific approach to determining Duck Season conditions, the VEAC proposal to lock up land in National Parks in the State’s west, and the continuation of the Conservation and Pest Management program. “We raised 11 issues in total including securing land for a centrefire gun range in Melbourne’s east, deer management and even getting Gifkins Road leading to our Eagle Park Range sealed,” Mr Law said. “It was part of an ongoing advocacy program which involves regular meetings with politicians and government agencies to ensure our members are represented on issues which concern us.” Photo caption: At The Nationals breakfast meeting with SSAA Victoria last week were (from left) Tim McCurdy MP, Melina Bath MLC, SSAA Victoria Communications Manager Justin Law, SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird and Danny O'Brien MP.

Wodonga women turn out to shoot

Forty women tried shooting for the first time at the Ladies Day held at SSAA Victoria Wodonga Branch on the weekend. Organised by the branch and assisted by SSAA’s Coaching and Membership Development Manager Gemma Dunn, the day was one of many designed to encourage women to take up the inclusive shooting sports. “It’s always great to see people who might be a little nervous at the start get totally involved and end up having a great day,” Gemma said. The international clay target representative was among a group of experienced shooters including 2017 Bianchi Cup winner Cherie Blake who helped the attendees learn how to shoot. Benches were set up with .22 rifles for silhouette shooting but one of the big attractions was the new shotgun facility being set up at the Wodonga range. Wodonga Branch President Josh Knight said the women loved “smashing clays”. “There’s something about a moving target and the instant reaction when you hit one,” he said. “The new clay trap we set up was certainly popular from that perspective and we’re looking forward to building the shotgun disciplines, perhaps now with some new members.” Also, women’s shooting advocate and SSAA Victoria Junior Vice President Marion Barnes was there as part of her ongoing commitment to women’s participation in shooting. “What an amazing empowering day for the ladies who attended,” she said. One attendee, Kaylene Gillman, took to Facebook to say she was particularly thrilled by being able to participate in the day’s activities. “I had a great time at Ladies Day,” she said. “I am a beginner and have limited movement to the right side of my body, but the instructors were great with their support.” Gemma Dunn was able to instruct Kaylene to the point where she was able to hit clay targets with a shotgun. “The day is all about showing how inclusive and fun the shooting sports are, and we’re always thrilled by the response we get,” Gemma said. “Shooting is an absolute level playing field, but it can be a little intimidating to get started because the perception is that it’s a male-dominated sport. “We’ve now got another 40 women who see that they are just as competitive as the men.” Keep an eye out for future Try Shooting Days in Victoria.

Cobaw Range centrefire hours extended

The hours for centrefire rifle use at the Cobaw Range situated at Lancefield have been extended thanks to a common sense ruling by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). SSAA Victoria lodged an application two years ago to have the range hours for centrefire rifles extended from noon to 2pm out to 9am to 5pm (6pm during daylight savings) to match the current permitted rimfire and shotgun hours. The Macedon Ranges Shire Council approved the application late last year, but an appeal was lodged with VCAT which then upheld council’s decision. The range is managed by the Kyneton Branch and its President Andrew Marcianiak said the VCAT decision was a good result for all hunters and shooters in the Kyneton area. "It's great news for the people who live here and want to make more use of the fantastic facility we have," he said. "It's also a win for common sense. Having centrefire rifles only able to shoot for a couple of hours each day was very restrictive for people wanting to test ammunition or sight in their rifles for hunting, so this now opens the range up for everyone." While the ruling allows for the extended time, the Kyneton Branch will open the range to centrefire rifles on its regular hours of 10am to 4pm on the second and fourth Sunday of each month. SSAA Victoria Facilities Manager Shaun Doyle said the extended hours reflected the growing interest in the branch’s activities. “It was unfortunate that it took two years from our first application to have the range hours extended, thanks to the council application process and a subsequent appeal against council’s decision. “But we were prepared for that eventuality having gone through it since we applied for a gun range to be built at the current site.” The first application for a gun range at the Croziers Track site in the Cobaw State Forest was lodged in 2003 but was rejected by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council. A subsequent VCAT hearing overturned the decision with the condition that centrefire use would be restricted to a two-hour period on each day of the range opening after the appropriate baffling to meet Victorian Police certification requirements was installed. In 2013 the range was open to rimfire shooting, then baffling works were completed and approved in 2016. “The growing interest in centrefire shooting at the range, including the opportunity to hold competitions there, prompted us to revisit the centrefire restrictions,” Shaun said. “We weren’t surprised by the opposition to it, but we were able to obtain acoustic and environmental reports which showed minimal impact would be caused. “Happily common sense prevailed and the Kyneton Branch can now offer an extended service to members and the public.” In his ruling on the matter, VCAT member Michael Deidun said, “shooting ranges are a legitimate form of recreation and that the planning system should provide for their continued presence and operation in this State. “The review site provides a near ideal location for such a shooting range, given that it is a significantly sized parcel of land, of which the actual shooting range takes up a very small proportion, and is surrounded on all sides by State forest.”

Big crowd expected at SSAA SHOT Expo this weekend

Healthy pre-event ticket sales are indicating there will be a big crowd at the SSAA SHOT Expo at the Melbourne Showgrounds this weekend. Compared with the previous Melbourne SHOT Expo, ticket sales are well up as the shooting public embraces the new Spring date and promise of another successful show. “It’s been a fantastic response and has turned the earlier disruption to the event into a huge positive,” said SSAA Victoria CEO Jack Wegman, referring to the new date and organisation of the event changing hands. “At the end of the day people want a good, professional event and we’re confident that’s what will be delivered at the Melbourne Showgrounds. “The new date puts us in a time of the year when people are getting out and about and many exhibitors will have, in the metal, products first seen in the US earlier this year which have just arrived. “Our new organiser, Level Up Events, has taken promotion and professionalism of the event to the next level so we couldn’t be happier. “Now all we need is great weather to make it the best SHOT Expo hosted in Victoria.” With the backing of major sponsors Winchester, Swarovski Optic, Polaris and Outdoor Sporting Agencies, SSAA SHOT Expo will again see more than 140 exhibitors fill the main hall. SSAA SHOT Expo 2019 exhibitor list & map The Main Stage, situated in the centre of the hall, will host a range of presentations covering gun fitting, customising, cooking, backpack hunting, and getting involved in the shooting sports including handguns. A panel of deer experts and government representatives will focus on the role recreational hunting plays in deer management with questions invited from the floor. Come and see us at the SSAA stand where we will be providing information on training and getting into the shooting sports. “SSAA Victoria has been active in creating training programs designed to encourage more people into the shooting sports,” Mr Wegman said. “Our Practical Firearms Training Program shows people the correct way to respect and handle firearms and now satisfies the safety course component of a firearms licence application.” The family Expo also has kids’ entertainment including a jumping castle, face painting and a petting zoo. The popular Working Gundog Association of Australia demonstrations will also be held twice daily on the main arena. The doors open at 9am on both days. Tickets are $20 for SSAA members, $25 for non-members and $40 for families of four. Children 15 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Visit the SSAA SHOT Expo website for details.
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