Australia’s recreational shooters and hunters are happier, healthier and fitter than non-shooters, deliver a $2.5 billion shot to the economy each year and create tens of thousands of jobs.
The Economic and social impacts of recreational hunting and shooting report commissioned by former Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie, now Minister for Agriculture, and successfully lobbied for by the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia (SSAA), has highlighted the benefits of the recreation to our nation. The report found ‘hunting and shooting provides opportunities for physical activity as well as pathways for greater wellbeing’ through connection with the great Australian outdoors. It also found shooters had greater confidence, enjoyed social networks, undertook more physical activity and had better nutrition than the average Australian.
The economic benefit is more than five times that delivered by the Melbourne Cup each year and helps fight the monetary cost to Australia of $3.7 billion in poor health and inactivity. SSAA National President Geoff Jones said: “Our Association’s members should be congratulated for being environmental volunteers, removing pest animals which threaten our native flora and fauna.”
The findings are delivered as the SSAA is powering towards a membership base of 200,000. The Association has also launched a women’s publication – Australian Women’s Shooter – in a bid to increase its female base. “Shooting really is a non-discriminatory activity which caters to people of all genders, race, ages and abilities and delivers tangible economic and health benefits to Australia,” said Mr Jones.
However, The Australian newspaper has published a story focusing on a theoretical situation delivered in the report which considers the economic impact if hunting and shooting was prohibited in Australia. SSAA National responded to The Australian‘s apparent anti-gun bias with the following letter to the editor:
September 23, 2019
Letter to the Editor – The Australian
A shot to the economy
The story ‘Rec shooting fails to spin big bucks’ (23/9/19) neglects to mention that Australia’s recreational shooters and hunters contribute almost $2.5 billion to the Australian economy per year and create tens of thousands of jobs, according to the survey Economic and social impacts of recreational hunting and shooting.
The author of the story quoted a hypothetical question posed in the survey which asked that should recreational hunting and shooting be banned, would participants take up other activities like bush walking, fishing and four-wheel driving?
We’re not particularly interested in hypotheticals and certainly enjoy the freedoms of a liberal democracy unlike Nazi Germany, where private firearm ownership was banned. Yes, the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia’s (SSAA) near-200,000 members are the outdoors type and would doutbless continue to spend time in the great Australian outdoors. But until communism or fascism reach our shores, they’ll continue their target shooting, hunting and pest-control activities to protect our native flora and fauna.
Aside from the multi-billion-dollar economic benefits the survey, called for by the SSAA, reports that Australia’s shooting citizens are also happier, healthier and fitter than their non-shooting peers. These facts should be celebrated and our environmental volunteers congratulated.
SSAA National President Geoff Jones