Personal freedoms are one of the key tenants of the KAP philosophy and support for hunting and the shooting sports runs to the very heart of Katter’s Australian Party. Our support for shooters has been enshrined in the party’s constitution from its very inception and is reflected in two core values, including the freedom to pursue outdoor recreational activities and opening up ‘off-limits’ land to the people.
Support is one thing, but real change is needed to put an end to unfair and illogical firearm legislation, open up to shooters vast tracts of the country which are currently being devastated by introduced feral pests and refocus police resources to the real problem of the illicit firearms trade. To facilitate these changes, the KAP has developed three key initiatives.
The first initiative is establishing a statutory authority known as the Australian Fish and Wildlife Authority to promote and facilitate safe and sustainable fish and wildlife activities. This includes establishing a system of using licensed and accredited shooters to provide humane feral pest culling and control on government lands where it is safe and appropriate to do so. The objective of the program will be to avoid the use of poisoning programs wherever possible and ensure government lands are not used to provide uncontrolled breeding areas for disease-carrying feral pests.
The Authority will also reestablish and manage licensed duck and quail seasons in all states where applicable and avoid government-funded culling if volunteer networks can be more cost-effectively utilised. It will also support a wild venison industry and export of wild game products while promoting fish and wildlife tourism and establishing recreational-only fishing areas.
The second initiative will see the KAP sponsor amendments to the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) aimed at refocusing licensing efforts in line with community expectations. The KAP will commit to table the requested amendments in the appropriate forums and lobby for national agreement and adoption.
The highlights of the amendments are that there will be no changes to restrictions on firearms central to community concerns at the time of drafting the original NFA. There will also be national efficiency savings for police administration, freeing more than 200,000 policing hours nationally and allowing police to focus on areas of current community concern. There would be a real-time firearm licence verification system, allowing licensed firearm owners, who are already in possession of firearms, to purchase subsequent firearms without delay, while providing real-time identification of ‘people of concern’, along with recategorisation of Category C firearms to allow access by sporting shooters. These include low-capacity semi-automatic .22s, low-capacity pump shotguns and low-capacity semi-automatic shotguns. We also support the scrapping of registration requirements for low-powered air rifles and BB guns.
Finally, the KAP also wants to shift police resources away from administering licensed firearm owners and focus resources on improved detection and intervention capabilities targeting illicit firearms distribution. A special taskforce will be established within the Federal Police to ensure all efficiencies gained by the police are retained and reallocated within the department in line with a more proactive policy of detection and intervention of illicit firearm activities, drug-related violence and organised crime.