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RANGES - All SSAA Victoria ranges are closed - 25 March. See COVID-19 update below.
Nats 2017 No 16
Clubs and Branches
Hunting
Hunting and Pest Control - See COVID-19 update below regarding Hunting Seasons
Firearms training
Training - All courses suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions

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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 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

Recreational Hunting and Fishing Now Off Limits

Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton has clearly stated that recreational hunting and fishing activities are not valid reasons to leave your residence or place of work during current stage three restrictions.   “These are unprecedented times. The threat of coronavirus to public health is real and everyone must take physical distancing seriously. Unfortunately, this means no fishing, no hunting, no boating, no camping, and no golf. Hang up your rods, leave the tinnie in the driveway, and clean your clubs at home. We ask Victorians to stop looking for loopholes. Just do the right thing. The advice is clear; by staying at home you’re saving lives.” Professor Sutton said.   It is clear from this new directive that licensed recreational hunters will face fines if found to be breaking these restrictions.   Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) (SSAA Victoria) questions this decision given that other states following the advice of leading medical experts, have not implemented these restrictions.   “Whilst we respect the efforts made to protect the health and wellbeing of Victorians during this time, we would like to know why Victoria’s Chief Health Officer has taken a position that is contrary to other leading medical experts,“ said Jack Wegman, CEO, Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) (SSAA Victoria).   “Current stage three directives allow for people to leave their home for the purposes of exercise and to gather food. For many of our members recreational shooting is a considerable part of their exercise regime. Other health professionals recognise this activity as being of benefit. It is very disappointing the Victorian Government has chosen to ignore this point whilst permitting other activities that bring the public into close contact.”   SSAA Victoria has been in contact with relevant State Government agencies today to again express this view and to determine when these restrictions will be lifted. The Association is also seeking clarification regarding fees that have been paid for game licences. This morning the Association has spoken to the relevant Minister’s office about extending or refunding game licences and encouraging the resumption of hunting activities as soon as possible.    

Stay at Home Directions and Restricted Activity Directions

SSAA Victoria is continuing to try to clarify hunting season details for members. The Association understands that members simply want to know whether they can go hunting or whether they can’t. Stay at Home Directions and Restricted Activity Directions came into force at midnight on March 30, 2020. They are available through the links below. These documents are clear in their direction and intent that Victorians stay at home. They describe specific activities that are prohibited and specific facilities that may not operate. Hunting is not specifically mentioned as being prohibited. The directions also allow for people to leave their home for particular reasons. Those reasons that may be relevant to hunters include:
  • leaving premises to obtain necessary goods and services. Obtaining food and drink is defined as a legitimate reason under this clause.
  • leaving premises for exercise. Under this clause people must comply with restrictions on public gatherings and take reasonable steps to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres from all other persons.
At the time of writing, game seasons have not been cancelled. Members will have to make their own decision as to whether their reasons for leaving home meet the requirements under the directions. As more information comes to light the Association will share that with members. With the ambiguity inherent in the current situation SSAA Victoria cannot offer specific advice at this stage. https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202003/Restricted%20Activity%20Directions%20.pdf https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202003/Stay%20at%20Home%20Directions%20.pdf  

Response to Temporary Changes to Firearm and Ammunition Regulations

The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (Victoria) (SSAA Victoria) has stated its objection to the decision to halt the sale of firearms and ammunition for sporting and recreational purposes. Not only is the action not justified, it attacks the integrity and values of the Victorian public and law abiding, licensed firearm owners. “What the government has done sends a terrible message about fellow Victorians,” said Jack Wegman, CEO, SSAA (Victoria). “No credible evidence has been put forward to justify the decision to ban a legal product obtained in a lawful manner, by responsible people who have been carefully vetted by Victoria Police. This act makes absolutely no sense. It is based on some hypothetical situation that does not exist. There’s enough uncertainty in the general public because of COVID-19. We don’t need the State Government to compound the issue, while damaging the reputation of law-abiding firearm owners.” The SSAA understands the decision made by the Victorian government is based on a recent ‘spike’ in applications for Category A/B firearms licenses. However, this decision has not taken into consideration that application numbers always increase in the weeks leading to the official hunting seasons. This is not a new trend. So it should be no surprise that with the 2020 Hound Season, Hog Deer Season, Stubble Quail and Duck Season to begin shortly, those wishing to participate have submitted their applications. Concurrently, ammunition and firearm sales also increase in the weeks leading up to the hunting season. Ammunition and firearms are expensive, so too the cost of proper storage facilities. Therefore, it makes financial sense to purchase ammunition and new equipment just before the start of the hunting season. Most firearms and ammunition are imported. With the drop in the Australian dollar future shipments are likely to be significantly more expensive. It makes perfect sense for people to purchase goods now given those factors. It is nothing more than unfounded aspersion to suggest that Victorians are seeking to obtain a firearm license in order to ‘stockpile’ ammunition because of the COVID-19 virus. What is deeply upsetting to all registered sporting and recreational shooters are the comments made to media outlets implying that community safety is at risk, and that there is concern surrounding the possibility of domestic violence issues during these stressful times. These remarks are offensive to the character and maturity of licensed recreational and sporting shooters. To obtain a Category A/B license, applicants have to undergo thorough checks and vetting procedures. Approval is not guaranteed and certainly not immediate. SSAA Victoria endorses these procedures, which is why the Association has legitimate concerns regarding this decision and the baseless assumptions used to make it. Furthermore, there has been no consultation with relevant industry associations, individuals or businesses, in order to obtain the facts or address any possible concerns. To obtain a firearms licence all applicants must complete an approved firearms safety course. Currently, all firearms safety courses have been suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak and will not resume until restrictions are lifted. New firearms applications will not be able to be made until that occurs. The only license applications that will be processed are for people who have already completed the safety course. “People should be worried that at a stroke of a pen, and without valid justification, the opportunity has been taken away from law-abiding citizens following a lawful process to obtain legal products,” said Jack. “People should ask themselves, ”Where is this going to end. Can people in Australia really be punished just for being suspected of something?” Whilst always supportive of the need to protect the health and wellbeing of Victorians, especially in this current period, SSAA Victoria will ask the State Government to reconsider this matter. These restrictions go far beyond anything necessary to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Association calls on government to show some faith in the good character of Victorians, especially licensed sporting and recreational shooters who follow every measure of the law.

COVID-19 statement

HUNTING SEASON (Update - 30 March)

SSAA Victoria is receiving numerous inquiries about upcoming hunting seasons and whether or not they are going ahead. Hog deer season and hound hunting season both commence on Wednesday, April 1, 2020. Quail season commences on Saturday, April 4. At this stage no specific ban has been placed on hunting activities and current advice from GMA is that the seasons will go ahead at this stage. The following paragraph appears in the DELWP information document that is linked below:

Can I still collect firewood, hunt, fish or go bushwalking?

Yes. Forest closures are for campgrounds, not for other uses like firewood collection, hunting, fishing and bushwalking. Physical distancing and mass gathering directions apply.

Remember, while some areas of parks and forests will remain open, all non-essential travel should be cancelled or postponed to a later date. If you can stay at home, you must stay at home. Doing so will save lives.

Hunters do need to adhere to general directives around appropriate social distancing, social gatherings and non-essential travel. The links below provide the current advice provided by Parks Victoria, DELWP, the current Victorian Government directions (as at 26 March 2020) and the DHHS Covid-19 information page. Government directives regarding COVID-19 are changing on a regular basis. It is each individual’s responsibility to ensure they know and comply with legislation. It is your responsibility to check current directives before engaging in any activity. SSAA Victoria wishes all members the very best in these uncertain and confusing times. Look after yourselves and try to make the most of a bad situation with good-will and patience. All members are encouraged to comply with directives aimed at preserving life. The Association will provide updated information to members as it becomes available. Season Dates: The 2020 Hound Season runs from April 1 – November 30, except the period from the Friday before Easter Sunday to the Wednesday after Easter Sunday (inclusive) when Easter falls in April. (Easter falls in April this year.) The 2020 Hog Deer Season runs from April 1 to April 30. All hunters must have tags before hunting hog deer and are limited to one male and one female. The 2020 Stubble Quail Season opens on Saturday 4 April 2020 and closes on Tuesday 30 June 2020.  The bag limit is a maximum of 20 birds per day. The modified 2020 Duck Season commences on May 2 and closes on June 8. The bag limit is a maximum of three birds per day, with no Blue-winged Shoveler allowed to be taken. https://www.parks.vic.gov.au/get-into-nature/safety-in-nature/covid-19-update https://www.ffm.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0025/459403/Caravan_parks_and_camping_grounds_faqs.docx https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/202003/Non-Essential-Activity-Directions-No-2.pdf https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/coronavirus  

Handgun attendance requirements (Update 26 March)

Please click on the link below to see  Victoria Police  - Licensing and Regulations Division (LRD) statement. SSAA Victoria will continue to work with LRD regarding handgun attendance requirements. However the final decision will be with LRD. https://www.police.vic.gov.au/firearms-industry-news  

ALL SSAA Victoria Ranges Closed (Update - 25 March)

SSAA Victoria recognises the important role that its ranges and facilities play in the sporting and social lives of members. The Association made changes to operating practices to ensure government COVID-19 directives were followed, while still allowing ranges to remain open for members for as long as possible. Stage 2 restrictions, announced by the Victorian Government today, necessitate all SSAA Victoria ranges being closed for recreational and sporting use until further notice. The Association sincerely regrets the impact this will have on members but understands the need to play its part in helping deal with this unprecedented pandemic. SSAA Victoria wishes all members and their families the very best in these particularly challenging and uncertain times.  

Update - 23 March

Following the recent announcements from the Victorian and Federal Governments (see attached), SSAA Victoria Eagle Park and Springvale ranges are not being forced to close, at this stage. The only exception is the air pistol shed at Springvale. However, while both Eagle Park and Springvale will remain open there will be some process modifications as notified last week. Branch and sub-club committees are encouraged to review the available information and decide for themselves whether they continue to maintain their ranges open and to hold shoots. We all need to take the situation seriously. While it is an inconvenience to all members and patrons to the ranges, we are endeavouring to make the best of these challenging times for everyone including the staff and volunteers who operate our facilities. The safety of our staff and volunteers is very important to SSAA Victoria. All the recommended safety practices must be adhered to ensure that we can continue to provide service to our membership and patrons in a safe manner. For all ranges that are continuing to operate, social distancing rules must be applied. A minimum of 1.5 metres between people must be adhered to and modification to ranges must be made to ensure that we are being compliant with these regulations. Eagle Park public range will have the following restrictions. It will reduce the main range capacity from 100 to 50 shooters plus staff.
  • Only every second bench will be allocated, to one shooter only
  • Patrons waiting to use the range will be asked to wait in the carpark if social distancing requirements can not be maintained on the firing line
  • Limited number of patrons will be allowed into the office on arrival
  • Bruno’s café will be restricted to take-away only and there can be no dinning at tables (café may be closed at operator’s discretion)
Springvale public range will have the following restrictions. It will reduce the main range capacity to 10 prone positions, 1 bench and 4 booth positions.
  • Prone positions will be separated to meet social distancing requirements
  • Only one person can be in a booth at a time
  • One-to-one instruction will be prohibited
  • Patrons waiting to use the range will be asked to wait in the carpark if social distancing requirements can not be maintained within the facility
  • Bruno’s café will be restricted to take-away only via the side window on the range (café may be closed at operator’s discretion)
  • Range 2 will be closed
  • Ranges 1, 5 and 6 will be restricted to only half capacity when bays are being used (ie every second bay only to be used)
  • Patrons waiting to use Ranges 1, 5 and 6 will be required to maintain the minimum social distancing
  • Corporate/com and try shooting programs are suspended
For all ranges across Victoria, the following activities can no longer occur as they do not allow for the required social distancing to be adhered to:
  • Direct supervision of unlicensed shooters. It includes the supervision of juniors even if by direct family.
  • NORI shoots
  • With the new restrictions applied today by the Victoria Government, all cafes, restaurants, etc. will be closed or restricted to take away service only. It includes running canteens at the ranges. Take-away facilities may continue, but patrons should not be seated around tables to consume their food or drink.
ROs will need to also ensure that they maintain the required social distancing requirements. Safety cannot be compromised.  

SSAA Victoria Statement - (18 March)

As we enter into unprecedented times, SSAA Victoria is monitoring the advice from government organisations on COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As a community, we will need to be ready to react to professional advice or government directives. SSAA Victoria will at all times adhere to government directives and follow credible advice. Conflicting advice from multiple sources has led to a level of misunderstanding about the virus itself and actions that organisations and individuals should take. It is therefore important that you only source your information from bona fide organisations such as the Victoria Government – Department of Human and Health Services (DHHS) and the Australian Government – Health Department (AGHS). These organisations are constantly updating information for the community. We recommend that you check your facts with both of the above organisations before making decisions about your health and the activities you engage in. One of the growing rumours that is being circulated is the state is going to be in lockdown for all businesses, schools, etc. As of yesterday (18 March 2020) this not the case, but there are a number of recommendations that the Association is adopting to minimise risk to our members and patrons that are visiting our clubs and ranges. It is possible that a lockdown may occur, but until so advised, SSAA Victoria will maintain business as usual and provide the following services to our members and visitors. Based on the current information, Eagle Park and Springvale will continue to operate the public ranges. Additional cleaning protocols will be implemented and the social distancing recommendation will be followed. We will be working with the managers of each range to oversee these protocols. If attendance restrictions are needed, procedures will be adjusted accordingly. Training courses for small groups will also continue to be delivered in accordance with relevant recommendations and directives. For those clubs that are based at either of these facilities and our regional ranges, the decision to continue to run club activities, events, etc. will be left with the relevant committees. Branches and clubs have been provided further information to enable them to comply with directives and recommendations if they wish to remain operational. SSAA Victoria has strict protocols around staffing levels at ranges. No range can operate without an accredited range officer on duty. As many ranges are reliant on volunteer range officers, it is understandable that some may not wish to attend under the current circumstances. If ranges cannot be adequately serviced by range officers, a given range may need to be closed, or services reduced, to ensure safety can be maintained. This is a constantly changing situation. SSAA Victoria will continue to distribute information as it is made available. Clubs and branches have been requested to notify the State Office of any closures or changes to normal operations so that information can be passed on. Please check our website and/or Facebook page for range opening times and other updates as they occur. For more information:
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