As we come to the end of another busy year for the shooting and recreational hunting fraternity, our 175,000-plus members can rest assured that your SSAA is already preparing for a new year of growth and achievements.
We are excitedly preparing to launch a brand-new initiative in the first half of 2016: SSAA Gun Sales, an online website which will enable members to sell their firearms and firearm parts legally and easily. Members will be able to log in and advertise their item to the SSAA network, with the cost of taking part heavily discounted compared to non-members, serving as another member service and benefit of being part of the SSAA family.
Our Gold Membership option is still available to members now or at time of renewal, giving our members the assurances that their firearms are covered whether at home, on the range or out in the field. We will continue to offer this option in the years ahead, giving members the affordable firearms insurance they always asked for.
Despite the challenges our sport and recreation has faced this year, there has been a noticeable positive increase in interest regarding the shooting sports as a legitimate pastime. The shooting sports are growing right across the country, and it is pleasing to see more women and girls getting involved - and excelling. This goes to show that shooting is a family-fun sport.
To further promote our sport, now and into the future, it is timely to remind members about our Sponsor a Junior initiative. Our Junior Shooter publication remains popular with the younger generation, and we will continue to ensure our up-and-coming young members are supported along their journey through our Junior Sports Shooting discipline, Youth in Focus profiles and juniors-only competitions.
On the political front, it has been a big year for our sport and industry, and the SSAA has been on the front foot in defending our members’ freedoms, both at state and national levels. I congratulate the SSAA state and territory branches for their efforts over the past 12 months and I am proud to say the SSAA brand now has more than 400 clubs across Australia. We are constantly growing and we have made sure our communication with members grows with us through our new-look website, Facebook presence and timely emails and regular E-newsletters, not forgetting our much-loved Australian Shooter magazine. Our communications strategy continues to adapt and we are increasing our research capabilities to keep abreast of the latest information.
There is no doubt that our presence and capacity in Canberra is becoming known. The Greens-led Senate Inquiry demonstrated the sheer extent of our capacity as a key player on the political landscape, and showed we will not let ideologies and unsubstantiated arguments affect our members’ freedoms.
While we have some naysayers, we also have friends, and I congratulate the Parliamentary Friends of Shooting group for showcasing the shooting sports to the Canberra Press Gallery. This is the kind of positive promotion we should see from our nation’s legislators, with the group taking their role as educators and leaders seriously.
We are about to head into an election year with the review of the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) due to conclude in the first half of 2016. Your SSAA will return in 2016, refreshed and ready to face another interesting and challenging year. In the meantime, I would like to wish our members and their families a relaxing and safe holiday period.