Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie announces a national survey to highlight the benefits of the shooting sports.
Each week, thousands of Australians get together to take part in some sort of recreational or competition shooting, either at a clay-target or rifle range or enjoying a day out hunting.
We all know how enjoyable it is taking part in these activities, catching up with friends and family, but unfortunately, what is not known is just how much our activities contribute to the broader economy.
As Sports Minister and proud licensed firearm owner, I have long championed the social, economic and environmental benefits of shooting in Australia.
Think about what the economic contribution is when we hold a local competition, attracting competitors from other towns, possibly interstate. The money they spend to get there, their accommodation, food, transport, etc., is all a valuable contribution to the local economy. It’s also worth considering the all gear we purchase from a local small business.
But unfortunately we have no idea what it is valued at.
Shooting should be treated just like any other sport that is successful in winning Olympic and Commonwealth Games medals. It’s a little-known fact that shooting is Australia’s 7th most successful sport at the Olympic level (after swimming, athletics, cycling, rowing, sailing and equestrian).
We have shooting champions who continue to inspire the next generation of athletes yet it is treated as poor second cousin to other more ‘glamourous’ sports.
And that is why we are undertaking the first-ever study to understand just how important shooting is to our economy.
All sports these days is an industry. Yes, it is part of our culture, our schools, our weekends and our backyards, but sport has a vital commercial aspect.
We know from Sport2030, the nation’s first sports plan, that there are many economic benefits that sport provides; whether it’s jobs and careers, investment in infrastructure or the priceless value of our volunteers,
For example, sport generates $83 billion dollars into the Australian’s economy. For every dollar spent on sport, $7 in return is generated. We know how many people are playing sports like netball, football, BMX, tennis and just how many jobs rely on those sectors. We know that across our nation 220,000 Australians are employed in the sporting sector and 1.8 million people volunteer.
How much of that is generated nationally by the shooting sector? We have no idea.
A Victorian study into that state’s sector alone found that gun sports contributed $430 million to the economy and generated 1500 direct jobs.
Similarly, NSW has estimated that recreational hunters spent $100 million in 2016 purchasing equipment and food associated with hunting, which contributed around 860 jobs to the economy.
Without national data however, we can never hope to expand, improve, measure and promote sport shooting in the same manner that every other sport enjoys. Without hard data about the economic benefits of the shooting, our ability to tap into higher level funding, events and cultural dialogue will always be hindered.
Dollars and participation numbers talk – they talk to people who see shooting as a fringe hobby, and they talk to the broader public about just how many law-abiding firearms owners are out and about every weekend having fun with their families and spending money in towns while at tournaments.
A quantifiable sport is a real sport that someone can consider as an option for themselves, their children or their community. And this is what I am hoping to achieve by commissioning the first ever national study into shooting – to get the numbers – but also help break down some of the barriers and stereotypes around shooting.
Shooting as we all know is an incredibly accessible sport. People of all ages and abilities can engage in sport shooting. It’s very companionable and it’s a sport with instantaneous feedback and opportunity for improvement – if you miss, you try again. Want to get better? Come next weekend and bring your curious 12-year-old if you like.
It doesn’t matter if you’re fast or slow on your feet, short or tall, and even people who swear they have no hand-eye coordination often surprise themselves with their aptitude. All these fantastic aspects shouldn’t be lost simply because there is a gun involved.
So if you want to help us demonstrate to all Australians just how valuable shooting is, please complete the survey, which is located here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PLMQKZ5
Senator Bridget McKenzie
Federal Minister for Sport