Bushfire tragedy means early warnings sadly rang true

I trust everyone had the most enjoyable holiday break possible though I’m sure many of our members and friends have been affected by the tragedies of the recent and ongoing bushfires. While I know our members will have contributed as well as they’re able to in supporting the victims, where there’s a personal involvement or friendly relationship, an individual contact to offer real, direct support, whether moral or financial, can often be the most effective way of achieving that support.

Of course the issues at hand are very complex and our drought-affected friends are still suffering, so please don’t forget them either. Where possible try to engage with them and, when travelling, support small communities by buying fuel, groceries, general supplies and any other local products that can help those communities remain viable.

My President’s Message last November was something of an unfortunate forecast but I’d remind our members and branches to be aware of and manage the physical risks that abound. As I wrote then:

“. . . the severe drought in eastern Australia and early heatwave has created a worse than usual fire situation that’s already claiming victims in terms of both life and property. It’s often misunderstood or ignored that our shooting clubs and ranges are just as vulnerable as any other property simply because of their geographic locations.

“The fire risk is ongoing as there have been shooting ranges, some with no insurance, burnt out and destroyed in the past couple of months but our research exposes the greater risk to clubs. In recent years there have been a significant number of shooting clubs destroyed or severely damaged by cyclones, windstorms (tornadoes), fire and flood and the concern that we should all have is under-appreciating the value and vulnerability of our facilities.

“The fact that assets have been built up over a period of years, often with volunteer labour, donated materials or grant funding doesn’t always reflect the replacement value of the property or clean-up cost after a disaster. The dismissive suggestion that steel doesn’t burn, blow down or wash away is just plain wrong.

“We have real collective value in our property and a responsibility to see that such assets are properly insured. This doesn’t mean some arbitrary figure plucked from a Saturday afternoon chat but involves a genuine value assessment, proper risk evaluation and consultation with a trustworthy insurance agent. I strongly recommend your branch or club has a conversation with SSAA General Insurance Brokers to ensure your material goods are properly covered.

“That’s why SSAA General Insurance Brokers exists to assist our branches and members in acquiring the right and best protection possible.”

Despite all the adversities, Australians in general and shooters in particular are remarkably resilient and will overcome tragedy as we have done many times in the past. The year ahead promises to be one of opportunities as well as the usual challenges and we have new research that will become available as well as fresh study projects being undertaken.

Our political lobbying is never-ending and will continue wherever it’s needed. A number of SSAA state organisations are undertaking membership benefit initiatives as well as the provision of increased and improved shooting range facilities. Another fantastic SSAA Shot Expo will be held in Sydney in June so look out for dates and make this a ‘must do’ in your calendar.

Keep yourself informed of all issues and upcoming events by subscribing (free) to the SSAA E-newsletter, checking in on this website or following the SSAA Facebook pages. Enjoy 2020 and be an active part of this great Association.

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