At the time of writing, I have just returned home from the 16th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference in Brisbane, of which SSAA National was again a sponsor. I was pleased to be able to attend this important event and the SSAA’s trade booth with Special Project Officer in Hunting Matthew Godson to promote the SSAA’s hunting and shooting initiatives. It was a good opportunity to catch up with AgForce Queensland’s Michael Allpass too, who is a keen supporter of the SSAA’s expanding Farmer Assist program.
My primary interests in the shooting sports have always been in hunting. I have been actively involved for more than 45 years now, having first joined the SSAA as an adjunct to my hunting activities and to hone my marksmanship skills.
It was around this time that I saw a wonderful opportunity to become more involved with the potential of the SSAA in Queensland, assisting in the establishment of SSAA branches, administration and varied shooting disciplines up to national level, mixed in of course with my hunting activities, the promotion of hunter education and junior development programs. I became involved in, and continue to pursue, political lobbying to fight flawed ideologies that would deny legitimate firearm owners and hunters of their cultural freedom to undertake their lawful recreations.
During my career, I have hunted most available legitimate species in Australia and many overseas, and have become aware of and involved in biodiversity, nature conservation and sustainable harvesting of wildlife as a natural resource. I was so impressed with the excellent example of the original model of hunter involvement in the SSAA SA Hunting & Conservation Branch in managing pest and overabundant species, that we used it to establish a very successful and credible SSAA Qld Conservation & Wildlife Branch, which now has government and private support.
I would like to congratulate The University of Queensland in the recent publication of its academic research following its 2012 Australian Hunters Survey. The results of the study have shown the real community and economic benefits that hunters and hunting provide in Australia. I’d also like to congratulate the Victorian Government in being a leader in recognising the value and legitimacy of hunting. I would hope that other states and territories will have the integrity to take note and follow such an enlightened lead.
It’s an interesting time for the wider community in recognising hunters, and indeed it’s an exciting era for the SSAA. Again, at the time of writing this, many SSAA members will be preparing to travel to the SSAA SHOT Expo in Sydney. I look forward to its success and hope it will stand exhibitors and show-goers in great stead for the second SSAA SHOT Expo for 2014, which will be held in Perth in early December.
In April, we widened the online presence of our Australian Shooter magazine by making a version available for members to download from our national website. Soon after, we also established the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia Facebook page.
In early May, the SSAA held its National AGM in Canberra. I’d like to thank Dean Mighell for his efforts as National President in the past 12 months. We look forward to his input as Immediate Past President, and of course, we wish him luck in his Black Dog Ride for mental health awareness later this month. I’d also like to formally welcome Jeff Kuyken from Victoria to his role as SSAA National Junior Vice President.
The Association continues to have not only a strong and ever-growing membership base, but also a strong financial position, which in turn means financially healthy SSAA states and territories. Members can be assured that the SSAA will continue to communicate with the media, government departments and federal legislators in our efforts to promote the safe, legal and legitimate recreational shooting and hunting interests of our members and ensure the future of our sport.