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Nats 2017 No 16
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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 40,000 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

2022 Duck Season Setting Arrangements - GMA Response

GMA CEO, Graeme Ford, has responded to SSAA Victoria's correspondence regarding the 2022 duck season setting arrangements. See below. SSAA Victoria appreciates the response but would still expect to see greater transparency around the GMA Board’s decision-making process. It remains unclear to stakeholders how the guiding principles are considered in relation to each other and the relative weighting each principle is given. It is unclear how the triple bottom-line assessment is conducted, assessed and then reflected in the Board’s recommendations to the Minister. The Association continues to advocate strongly for its members on duck hunting issues and remains committed to the effective introduction of objective, science-based season setting arrangements. It will work co-operatively with the GMA, Government, other hunting organisations and relevant stakeholders to achieve that objective. It will also continue to work co-operatively and in good faith to improve processes around the season setting arrangements.
Hi David Thank you for your email outlining SSAA’s position on the duck season consultation process. I understand that SSAA Victoria chose to not make a submission regarding the 2022 duck season setting arrangements, due to your concerns about the process. We are committed to ensuring that the GMA’s process for making a recommendation on duck season arrangements is clearly communicated and that the best available data is considered. The GMA makes available all information that is considered during the process, including a copy of the briefing that the GMA provides to the Minister for Agriculture. While the process for setting duck season arrangements is available on the GMA website, under Duck Season considerations, I have provided some more detailed information in this email that I hope you find useful. Various data sets are used in developing the GMA’s recommendation on duck season arrangements, and these data sets are considered in accordance with the GMA Board’s Guiding Principles, as set out in Section 8A of the Game Management Authority Act (2014). The Act was amended in 2019 to incorporate these principles – 8A Guiding principles The Authority must have regard to the following principles when exercising its powers or performing its functions under this Act—                     (a)   the principle of integrated decision-making, which means seeking to achieve government policy objectives through coordination between all levels of government and government agencies;                     (b)   the principle of triple bottom-line assessment, which means an assessment of all the economic, social and environmental costs and benefits, taking into account externalities;                     (c)   the principle of equity, which means—                                  (i)   equity between persons irrespective of their—                                                  (A) personal attributes including age, physical ability, ethnicity, culture, gender and financial situation; and                                                  (B) location, including whether in a growth, urban, regional, rural or remote area; and                                  (ii)   equity between generations by not compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs;                       (d)   the principle of an evidence-based approach, which means considering the best available information when making decisions;                       (e)   the principle of stakeholder engagement and community participation, which means taking into account the interests of stakeholders and members of the local community in implementing appropriate processes for stakeholder engagement;                       (f)   the principle of transparency, which means that members of the public should have access to reliable and relevant information in appropriate forms to facilitate a good understanding of game management issues and the process by which decisions in relation to game management are made. I have attached a simple flow chart as requested, which outlines the data that is considered at each stage of the process. Click here to view. In relation to the interim decision process, as the Adaptive Harvest Management system is being developed, Professors Kingsford and Klaasen were engaged by the Department of Jobs, Precinct and Regions (DJPR) to develop an interim model. Professors Kingsford and Klaasen delivered the paper; Relationships among duck population indices and abiotic drivers to guide annual duck harvest arrangements (KKM).  The fundamental change to the duck season considerations process, compared to previous years, is that the KKM model provides the starting analysis of the data. As has been the practice in recent years, all data sets used by the GMA are provided to stakeholders as early as possible in the process, stakeholders are invited to provide comment and in particular any additional data that would inform the decision process. All stakeholder submissions are then made available on the GMA website. This KKM model is built on the recommendation from the Expert Panel report. I have provided the relevant extract below for your quick reference: “… consideration should be given to a simple, transparent process for setting harvest regulations which could then be modified or augmented to include modelling results as appropriate at a later date. Given the constraints in currently available scientific information, the panel therefore recommends that, in the short-term, appropriate and adequate information for management can be generated by a conceptually simple and defensible harvest management framework which combines appropriate measures of spring wetland abundance/rainfall, summer abundance/rainfall, and available waterbird monitoring data to annually generate an abundance ranking for the coming season. This could take a range of forms, such as a “traffic light” system reflecting risk levels (i.e. red light = Low abundance/High risk; orange = Medium abundance/Medium risk; Green light = High abundance/Low risk). The number of abundance/risk levels could be extended as appropriate, and this categorisation could be linked to appropriate management measures. The proposed modelling of historical datasets could evaluate and test the capacity of various indices of rainfall/wetland availability to predict waterfowl population growth rates, and thereby recommend categories of harvesting with definitions based on these indices.” Please note that the expert panel process and the delivery against recommendations is the responsibility of DJPR. The interim harvest model has been developed following stakeholder consultation and now sets the basis for setting seasons while the AHM is developed and ultimately implemented. Professors Kingsford and Klaasen, in their report, also stated: We also encourage the use of the model as an “adaptive interim harvest model”, where the model is (annually) updated when additional data or even completely new sets of data (e.g. helicopter counts) become available. In line with this statement, I will recommend to DJPR that a workshop with stakeholders is conducted later this year to discuss the model after its first year in operation. This would be a valuable opportunity to explore possible options for new data inclusions that may further build the foundation of the model output.  Any ideas could then be provided to the model’s developers for assessment on whether particular data sets can be added to improve the reliability of the model. In regards to the GMA Board’s decision process I would refer you to the comment in the report: We advocate that the model here presented be used as a tool to inform decision making for hunting arrangements; it should not be used to set hunting arrangements without due diligence. The GMA Board accepted this report and in accordance with this advice, the GMA will conduct a due diligence approach to utilising the output of the KKM. This will entail the Board assessing all reliable data sets, including any provided by stakeholders, to test the model’s output. Key to this assessment will be considering whether the weight of data supports the output of the model. In the move to an AHM, it is important to understand the GMA’s role. Action 3.2 of the Victorian Government’s Sustainable Hunting Action Plan 2021-2024 (SHAP) commits to identifying a sustainable harvest window (ceiling and floor) and the development of a harvest framework and strategy.  The DJPR will lead these processes and once harvest objectives have been established, the GMA will be responsible for data collection, analysis and oversight of the population model (with the guidance of an expert technical panel). The GMA does not set the policy framework. I understand that DJPR will establish a stakeholder working group to progress these processes. Through this approach, a clear understanding will emerge of the harvest objectives, mechanics of AHM, the data sets to be used and the timeframes required to collate sufficient data. Sufficient data is critical to ensuring that the AHM is ready to be implemented. Please let me know if you have any further questions. Kind regards, Graeme Ford | CEO Game Management Authority    

2022 Duck Season

The correspondence below outlines SSAA Victoria’s position on the current duck season setting arrangements. It was sent to the CEO of the Game Management Authority on January 6 in response to an invitation for the Association to provide a written submission regarding the 2022 duck season.   Dear Graeme, As previously indicated, SSAA Victoria is not making a submission regarding the 2022 duck season setting arrangements. The Association has not made that decision lightly but has done so because it considers the current process to be fundamentally flawed. The Association has repeatedly raised concerns about the current process, which is not transparent, and called for change. While pleased to see that change is occurring, a key requirement of that change is for the GMA to clearly articulate what we are changing to and for the new process to be both objective and transparent. SSAA Victoria fully supports the transition to science-based season setting arrangements for duck hunting in Victoria, through an appropriate Adaptive Harvest Management Model. The rationale for that support is to take politics and subjectivity out of the decision-making process and to ensure bag and season length determinations are made solely based on the sustainability of Victoria’s duck populations. The challenge remains to determine the appropriate interim arrangements and to clearly articulate the decision-making process for both interim and longer-term season setting. The decision-making process needs to be transparent for the Association to have confidence its rationale for supporting the changes is justified. Stakeholders were promised an interim harvest setting arrangement prior to the 2022 season. Stakeholders were also told that there would be an Interim Framework stakeholder meeting to work through the arrangements. Neither has occurred. Those matters should have been finalised well before submissions were sought on the upcoming season. The Association has been supplied the Considerations document, the interim Victorian game duck abundance survey, the Interim harvest decision framework- final report and the Eastern Australian Waterbird Survey. However, it remains very unclear how these different elements are going to be brought together under the new process and the season decisions made. Moving from a subjective, outdated and fundamentally flawed decision-making process to a new science-based process gives a unique opportunity to set a positive and sustainable course for the future. That opportunity must be embraced and made to work. Lack of transparency will inevitably lead to the continued loss of trust in the GMA and stakeholder conflict. SSAA Victoria requests that you inform the Association of the proposed decision-making process as soon as possible. A flow chart that visually depicts the steps would help us communicate your response to members. Kind Regards, David Laird Hunting Development Manager             A reply has not been received to date. While withdrawing from the submission process for the stated reasons, SSAA Victoria will continue to advocate on behalf of its members, and hunters more broadly, and strive to deliver a sustainable future for duck hunting in this state. Bag limits and season arrangements must be based on facts and good science – not political expediency.

Continuing partnership between SSAA and Parks Victoria

For nearly two decades, the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) and Parks Victoria have worked together to achieve shared conservation and pest management outcomes through volunteering. This partnership has taken many different forms, most recently through a Letter of Collaboration, to ensure a mutually beneficial and effective relationship for both organisations. The Victorian Government has recently committed $1 million to continue this partnership over the next four years. For full story - click here.

Firearms Storage Options Available at SSAA Victoria Springvale Range

SSAA Victoria is pleased to announce that firearms storage is now available at its Springvale range. The options provide a cost-effective solution for anyone who may need to store firearms for either short or long periods of time. This is a great option for those who don’t want to spend a lot of money purchasing a new safe or making other arrangements in order to comply with current legislation, but still want convenient, on-site access to their firearms. Anyone storing their firearms at the SSAA Victoria Springvale facility has the peace of mind of knowing there is full security including alarm systems and 24-hour CCTV.  Plus, they will be the only ones to have access to their safe. Both longarm and handgun safes are available for rent for one, three, six or 12-month periods. The dimensions of the longarm safes are 1500mm (H) x 300mm (W) x 300mm (D), the handgun safes being 300mm (H) x 300mm (W) x 200mm (D). Safe storage will be available from Monday 15 June. Applications to rent a safe will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis as there is a limited number available at this stage. As demand requires, the number of safes will be increased. Application forms can be downloaded from the attached PDF below or can be filled in at the Springvale range.   Firearm Storage Service Agreement
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