Strength now and into the future

The following is an edited version of the SSAA CEO’s report to the 56th AGM, 2018.

Introduction

As a service provider to the states and as the national advocacy body, SSAA has continued to promote the shooting sports and hunting throughout the past 12 months. Last year we reported that SSAA National managed to allocate its largest-ever distribution, in both dollar value and percentage and increase our membership numbers. In our 70th year as a federation, we can report we trumped those figures again.

With the funds we do retain, we continue to seek new ways of promoting our sport and expanding the benefits of becoming a SSAA member. The following are some of the activities we were involved in.

Member benefits

SSAA Gun Sales continues to grow, offering members a very cheap listing fee compared to other websites. The site has attracted has more than 10,000 registered users, has sold 3000 items worth about $2,000,000 and currently stocks 1000 items. We continuously fine-tune the site and advertisements to ensure they are appropriate and appealing.

In the current world of online and social media, our websites, Facebook pages and video production provide continuous educational, interesting and useful content. We now host an Australian Hunter Facebook site in addition to SSAA’s and Farmer Assist’s and our SSAA TV saw the release of ‘Wildlife Man’ David Ireland’s series on our Association and good firearm practices. We have begun to roll out simple video animations with interesting facts and figures - Six surprising facts about the shooting sports receiving more than 26,000 views and positive feedback.

Our online shop has been rebuilt as has the Field to Fork website in preparation for hosting complementary publications such as the Great Australian Outdoors magazine and further social media.

More than 50,000 members have taken up the $25,000 firearms insurance offer while all members receive the security of $20,000,000 public liability cover while undertaking approved shooting activities.

Farmer Assist, only available for participation by SSAA members, continues to offer a safe and accountable way for land owners to seek no-cost animal management. Its website also continues to be revised as necessary.

Members are offered discounts on a variety of publications including Australian Hunter, Australian & New Zealand Handgun magazine and the SSAA’s Comprehensive Guide to Shooting and Hunting in Australia. They of course receive the Association’s flagship publication Australian Shooter free of charge, worth almost $100 a year alone if bought at the newsagent. The Secure your Gun brochure adds to our responsibility credentials and social license.

Politics

We have taken the opportunity to meet with politicians of all political persuasions - letting them know who we are, what we stand for and asking of them the same. It’s essentially laying down the groundwork for good communications for when there is a pressing issue and countering the misinformation spread by those against recreational shooting.

We once again thank members of the Friends of Shooting Parliamentary Group for their support and, in particular, now National’s Deputy Leader and Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie, Liberal’s Ian Goodenough and Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm.

A key communication tool of ours has been the Legislative Action’s e-newsletter and SSAA-LA branding in the Australian Shooter to clearly identify to members our political work. It is also where we analyse data and public comment and criticize those politicians against our sport and publicly back those who support it.

Our ‘What does the SSAA do for the environment?’ brochure has been mailed to all Federal Parliamentarians with an explanatory letter and we continue to use it to explain how hunting and the environment go together like hand in glove.

Membership and our Strategic Vision

One of our key strategic goals is to increase our membership to 200,000. In the past 12 months we have come closer to that goal by 5000, with a growth figure of about three per cent. While SSAA National continues to seek member benefits to encourage new members and keep current members, congratulations must also go to the state branches and their clubs. We are a federation and reliant on each other to prosper. Every volunteer and staffer should be proud of roles in promoting our sport. As one staffer said to me recently: “You don’t work at the SSAA - you become part of the SSAA.”

With the Association now living its 70th year we will remind members that there is strength in numbers. The growth of SSAA as a shooting organisation both in financial security and membership is not a common one - with many other shooting identities in disarray and seeking relevance.

Summary

As mentioned in the introduction, we reached a new distribution high of 63 per cent or $8,680,639 to the states, which is five per cent more than the year before.

With our strength comes the ability to build ranges, offer more benefits and professionally tackle the issues of the day, while securing our sport into the future. ‘Protecting shooters - since 1948’ is our current motto. Perhaps ‘Towards 200,000 – there’s strength in numbers!’ might be a good motto for the moment?

Finally, I’d like to thank the SSAA National Board led by President Geoff Jones, our finance team of treasurer Alf Bastian and accountant Heather Lysaght, membership manager Nicole McClenahan, wildlife programs’ Matt Godson and SSAA LA’s Kate Fantinel for their work and support. I’d also like to thank former editor Kaye Jenkins for her 13 years of enthusiastic and professional service and acting editor Jennifer Martens who has steered the Media and Publications Department in her absence.

Tim Bannister

CEO and Chief Editor

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