As we prepare to welcome the best shooters in the Commonwealth to our shores and my home state of Queensland next month, it was extremely disappointing to hear that our sport has been dropped from the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. This will be the first time since 1970 that sport shooting will not be included in the program.
The decision, supposedly due to a lack of appropriate facilities near the host city, is a cop out. The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will see shooting competitions take place elsewhere, at the Belmont Shooting Centre in Brisbane. Therefore, I implore SSAA members to sign an online petition, which has already notched up more than 52,000 signatures, to show our disappointment.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity to witness firsthand the skill and prowess of our Commonwealth shooters and local Australian talent when our Games commence on April 4. A number of SSAA members will represent our country in Fullbore, Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun disciplines, including James Willett and William Godward. I will be cheering on our competitors and wish them the best of luck.
Already underway in South Australia, and opening this month in Victoria and Tasmania, are the 2018 duck and quail hunting seasons. The SSAA, as always, has been involved in government discussions about the waterfowl seasons as part of our advocacy for ethical hunting activities.
It is important to note that regulations surrounding duck and quail hunting do differ slightly from year to year and state to state. While we have every confidence that our members will do the right thing, I encourage those who are sourcing fresh duck for the table to familiarise yourself with the details on this year’s season.
In this issue, John McDougall has written a series of helpful articles about duck hunting, including what gear to pack, ammunition advice and also the all-important etiquette while out in the field.
While on the topic of hunting, it was pleasing to meet with the new Threatened Species Commissioner, Dr Sally Box, at our SSAA National office in Adelaide. We expressed our willingness to continue our productive work with the Environment Department and build upon the positive relationship formed with former Commissioner Gregory Andrews.
Dr Box acknowledged the role of the SSAA in protecting our native wildlife. She was impressed to learn of the great work our volunteers have done in the various national parks and for our nation’s farmers through our SSAA Farmer Assist program.
Pleasingly, one of our members has been recognised for playing an important role in helping restore diminishing national parkland in South Australia to its former glory. Kaz Herbst, who has been on the frontline of conservation for more than 25 years, was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in the 2018 Australia Day Honours List. It just goes to show that our efforts in conservation are making a real difference on the ground. That is something to be proud of.