President’s final message

As we come to the end of a year like no other and look to the future with more than 200,000 members on board, below is the final message from outgoing National President Geoff Jones, who served in the position for more than six years. Geoff will now take on the executive role of Past-President.

A new dawn beckons . . . as it’s time for me to step aside

Here we are at year’s end wondering what happened to the past 12 months and trying to regain our senses so we can enter the new year with some sort of direction and hope for a return to a semblance of normality. While the possibilities of international travel for competition or hunting will be limited and slow to return, prospects for interstate travel and visits to New Zealand are looking positive and hopefully will continue to improve.

SSAA administration teams across Australia have coped well with different and constantly changing restrictions and ensured the balance between relevant legislation compliance, protecting our members and meeting their needs is met. I short, we’re well placed to have a great year in 2021. All being well, domestic shooting competitions and range activities will be back to a managed normal and game seasons and hunters’ travel will be permitted.

There will plenty of shooting and firearms-based entertainment available with our latest annual Australian & New Zealand Handgun magazine due for imminent release, stimulating stories and anecdotes in the quarterly Australian Hunter, lots of fresh insights into our sport with your monthly Australian Shooter as well as our Women’s Shooter and Junior Shooter publications.

Our relatively new but already widely acclaimed Great Australian Outdoors annual magazine should not be forgotten by those looking for a broader perspective on how all aspects of our outdoor activities are inexorably linked. And just to top off our myriad of publications, the gourmets and bush cooks among us can soon enjoy a second edition of the SSAA’s award-winning Field to Fork cookbook. Those members more technologically inclined can look forward to further informative segments on SSAA TV, a refreshed SSAA National website, increased Facebook activity as well as our regular SSAA e-Newsletters and e-Alerts. There really is something for everyone as part of SSAA.

And reflecting on these and other innumerable benefits of SSAA membership brings me to a personal crossroads, where I must acknowledge that this will be my last message as SSAA National President as, after 50-odd years of volunteer administrative involvement with the Association, I feel now is the right time to retire.

While I’m not going far, I intend to slow the pace and get back to blowing the dust and cobwebs out of many of my firearms and spending more time hunting in the bush and maybe even at the range, enjoying the camaraderie of fellow shooters. Both activities stimulated my interest in and commitment to the SSAA and I’m humbled and privileged to have had the opportunity to contribute to the fantastic advancement and achievements of our great Association over those years.

Retirement at any level from any activity always makes you thoughtful about the past, the future and your place in the world and even though I’m now just one of 200,000-plus SSAA members, I’ve had the chance to view our Association and sport from many different perspectives.

Never one to preach, I’d like to take this final opportunity to remind all members the SSAA has been successful because it’s a grassroots organisation, controlled by the members if they wish to accept responsibility of being involved. It’s vital we stay informed, maintain our individual integrity, ensure our leaders retain the focus of the members and maintain their and the Association’s integrity and always remain accountable. I thank you for the privilege of serving and wish you all and our great SSAA well into the future.

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