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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

Duck Bill dead in the water

An attempt to have the 2020 Duck Season banned this week has failed after voting on the Bill was deferred indefinitely and the Government declared it would not support it. But that does not mean duck hunting in Victoria is safe. In the Legislative Council on Wednesday, Animal Justice Party MP Andy Meddick put forward a bill to have duck hunting banned in 2020 under the Wildlife Act. He made the usual emotive, wildly exaggerated and outright false claims used to attack duck hunting and had the support of three other Senators representing The Greens, The Reason Party and Sustainable Australia. The overwhelming response was from those opposed to the Bill with the Government declaring it would not support a ban on the 2020 season. During Questions Without Notice, Minister for Agriculture, Jaclyn Symes said “The Andrews Labor government had a duck season this year and we have got no change of policy in relation to that. … If we were to vote on the motion, we would oppose it.” The reason the Bill was not voted on is less clear. After statements from several MPs in relation to the Bill, a motion to adjourn the debate until later in the day was carried. Opponents of the Bill argued to keep the debate open and put it to a vote, which would most likely have seen it defeated. But all the Labor MPs, along with Meddick and his supporters, voted for the adjournment. Some observers say this is a way to bury the Bill without the Government having to publicly take a stand on the duck hunting issue. If they vote against the Bill, the headlines in the mainstream media would be along the lines of “Andrews Government votes to slaughter ducks” or words to that effect. If they vote for the Bill, they go against long-standing policy to support hunting in Victoria. By adjourning debate, the Government ensures the Bill will not get to a vote and avoids both issues, but it is still able to declare its support for hunting. The safe middle ground. It also places the onus on keeping duck season on hunters ourselves. The Government has not said duck hunting is here to stay forever. In his rebuttal of claims made in Mr Meddick’s Bill, Labor’s Nazih Elasmar referred to duck hunting’s sustainability relying on safety and responsibility. He also pointedly closed his statement with “We have no current plans to cease duck hunting”. It leaves the door wide open for future debate on the issue, especially if there is a season of bad hunter behaviour as there was in 2017. But overall, the debate on the Bill was a good outcome for hunters as it put on the table Government-sourced facts about duck hunting. It also demonstrated majority support for duck hunting and gave MPs an opportunity to declare where they stand on the issue. Naturally there was support from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Jeff Bourman and The Nationals Melina Bath. Liberal Democrats MP Tim Quilty took the opportunity to point out the divide between rural Victoria and the “urban elites … who have lost their connection to the natural world”, and went so far as entertaining a “Rexit” where regional Victoria would secede from the State. Perhaps the most eloquent of the Bill’s opponents was The Liberals MP Gordon Rich-Phillips, whose comments on intolerance resonated strongly. “It is often the case that those who preach tolerance, those who preach respect for minorities, those who preach respect for other cultures are in fact the most intolerant themselves,” he said. “We saw the demonstration of that this morning with Mr Meddick’s comments on this motion where he sought to demonise a group of Victorians who participate and have participated for generations in a legitimate recreational and cultural activity, just because he does not like it. “The man who preaches tolerance on everything else came into this place and made some frankly disgusting comments about the fraternity of Victorians who engage in recreational hunting on our wetlands. “He made claims about illegal activity, he made claims about rubbish being left, he made claims about damage to trees and the like, all without basis, all without evidence, because he does not like a legitimate cultural activity that has been pursued by Victorians over generations.” Click here for the full Hansard transcript of the debate on the Bill. Minister Symes’ comments in support of duck hunting during Questions Without Notice are here.

Firearm thefts prompts storage reminder

Firearms owners, particularly in regional areas, are reminded to check their firearms storage to counter theft. The issue was raised at a Firearms Users Group meeting which included senior Licensing and Regulation Division members and SSAA Victoria’s Hunting Development Manager David Laird. “We’re told that gun theft is an issue in rural Victoria and while we’re confident SSAA Victoria members do the right thing, it’s a timely reminder to check storage,” he said. “Rural properties in the east and west of the state have been targeted and it’s a concern for police and legislators. “We’re calling on them to make penalties for gun theft much harsher as a deterrent. At the moment the victims of theft are often penalised because they have not met storage requirements. “We don't want to see any of our members placed in that situation.” There are clear guidelines for legal storage which can be found here.

SSAA Victoria firearms course officially recognised

SSAA Victoria’s Practical Firearms Training Program Introductory Course (PFTP IC) is now officially recognised as an alternative to the Firearms Safety Course (FSC) which is required to obtain a firearms licence. Victoria Police Licensing and Regulation Division issued SSAA Victoria with a certificate approving the PFTP as a firearms safety course under Section 179 of the Firearms Act 1996. It means people who complete the PTFP IC can apply for their firearms licence without having to complete the FSC as well. “It’s great news for those wanting to get professional guidance and practical experience in handling a firearm and then taking the step to obtaining a firearm licence,” said Assistant Manager Training and Education Fady Khalife. Mr Khalife was employed last year to develop a training program and created the PFTP to give participants actual range shooting experience. The Introductory Course was the first course delivered in June last year and forms the basis for other courses which are being developed under the PFTP banner. “Our Introductory Course is very popular because new shooters want to learn and feel confident handling a firearm,” Mr Khalife said. “To have it recognised as an official step to obtaining a firearms licence is recognition of SSAA Victoria’s commitment to safety and responsible firearms use.” Those people who successfully complete the PFTP will be able to use the certification they receive to meet one of the requirements of the firearms licence application process. If you have already received a PFTP certificate from a previous course and haven’t completed the police FSC, you can have your certification updated to proceed with a firearms licence application. Contact Fady Khalife at training@ssaavic.com.au or (03) 8892 2777 for details.

Petition to block AJP anti-duck hunting bill now open

SSAA Victoria members are encouraged to sign a petition in support of duck season which is now open on the Victorian Government website. The petition was sponsored by Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP Jeff Bourman and posted after the Animal Justice Party, which supports illegal protest action and farm invasions, proposed a Bill to ban duck hunting. The Wildlife Amendment (Protection of Birds) Bill 2019 proposed by the AJP ignores the highly regulated and sustainable nature of duck hunting. It also attacks the cultural pursuit of hunting which puts fresh, free-range food on family tables, and brings millions of hunting tourism dollars to regional Victoria. “If this Bill succeeds, what’s next for Victorian hunters and firearms users?” said SSAA Victoria Hunting Development Manager David Laird. “Our sport and traditions are being slowly eroded by this nonsensical extremism for the sake of a micro party building a political powerbase. “Duck hunting is conducted under strict guidelines which ensure public safety and sustainability so there can be no other reason to want it banned. “There is no scientific evidence that supports the AJP’s arguments, only emotive argument from extremists who are encouraged to flout the law to gain relevance. “Even if you are not a duck hunter, this issue affects all of us. If the AJP succeeds it opens the door for other anti-gun minorities to attack our sport for political gain.” The petition is open until August 27.
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