Where does your SSAA spend its money? It is a question many members rightfully ask and in the interest of transparency, we have put together a breakdown that shows how your money is being used to fund the many activities of our proud Association.
SSAA National collects the membership fees on behalf of the state and territory branches and returns about 60 per cent of all income back to the states and territories. In addition to this, the national association has dispersed an additional $3.2 million to the states and territory SSAA branches in the past 18 months alone. This money is for the states to utilise at the coalface, to fund activities that ultimately benefit our members.
I am pleased to report that 2017 is looking even better. We are now the biggest we have ever been, clocking a whopping 186,079 members in the latest membership count. Strong membership creates a strong Association. It is easy to forget, but by being a member of the SSAA, you are part of something much bigger; you are part of the largest firearms group in the nation.
As part of our strategy to continue to grow your Association, our insurance brokerage, which provides the popular and hugely affordable $25 SSAA Members Firearm Insurance, has just been rebranded as SSAA General Insurance Brokers. Many members may not be aware that our brokerage can cater for all of your insurance needs, such as business or travel insurance, in addition to our firearms insurance options.
I am also pleased to unveil our new SSAA TV studio, which we utilised for the first time to bring you details about the SSAA General Insurance Brokerage rebrand. The slick studio is located in-house at the new National Adelaide office. This will be used to bring our members news and discussions about a range of topics of interest, which we will broadcast on our SSAA TV YouTube channel.
A recent topic of interest to our members is the ongoing national firearms amnesty, which commenced on July 1 and concludes at the end of this month. The amnesty allows people to register or sell firearms in most jurisdictions and is based on a proven model that we successfully lobbied the Federal Government for. Our SSAA Legislative Action department is keeping a close eye on this and will be scrutinising the final results.
As part of our broader political work, representatives from the SSAA will head to New Zealand next month to take part in an international meeting of the World Forum of Shooting Activities (WFSA). The exchange of information between likeminded groups at such platforms is vital in ensuring we remain on the front foot of any issue that may affect our recreation. We will also take the time to meet with members of New Zealand’s Council of Licenced Firearm Owners (COLFO).
Back home, we have continued our tradition of fostering evidence-based information, partnering with SSAA Victoria for vital research into sambar deer through Parks Victoria. SSAA National has committed $15,000 to fund the research activity, matching SSAA Victoria’s input. Upon its success, this research will likely spread to New South Wales and the nation’s capital, to gain a broader understanding of this elusive deer species.
As we enter the latter part of 2017, I would like to take the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for making the SSAA such a successful Association. Our members are the reason we exist and I look forward to continuing to serve you as your National President.