Now it’s official: Recreational shooting is good for you

Australia’s recreational shooters and hunters are happier, healthier and fitter than non-shooters, deliver a $2.5 billion boost to the economy each year and create tens of thousands of jobs. The Economic and Social Impacts of Recreational Hunting and Shooting report commissioned by former Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie, now Minister for Agriculture, and successfully lobbied for by the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia has highlighted the benefits of the recreation to our nation.

The Report found “hunting and shooting provides opportunities for physical activity as well as pathways for greater wellbeing” through connections with the great Australian outdoors. It also established that shooters had greater confidence, enjoyed social networks, undertook more physical activity and had better nutrition than the average Australian.

The economic benefit is more than five times that delivered by the Melbourne Cup each year and helps fight the monetary cost to Australia of $3.7 billion in poor health and inactivity. Now that winter has well and truly passed, the football is over, ‘Bathurst’ has been run and the cricket hasn’t really started, what a great opportunity to head outdoors as a recreational shooter and venture into the countryside, bush or to your local SSAA range. I encourage all shooters to continue to play their part in this great sport which is now officially recognised as what all Australians could and should aspire to.

On a more sombre note, 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 lives 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 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.

On a lighter note, we’ll have a full report on the successful 2019 Melbourne SSAA SHOT Expo in next month’s Australian Shooter as well as a feature on the launch of Parliamentary Friends of Shooting in Canberra for the new Federal Parliament. In the meantime enjoy your health, happiness and prosperity as an Australian shooter.

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