The Northern Territory Government has passed legislation to extend the duration of five-year firearms licences to 10 years and one- or three-year licences to five years. The change is set to reduce red tape and make it easier for law-abiding, licensed shooters to get on with their lives while also saving the government money and reducing administrative work for police departments.
The SSAA welcomes this commonsense law-making driven by an understanding of firearms and support for the community. Adam Giles, Chief Minister of the Northern Territory and Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services, said: “It’s an example of the government operating efficiently, improving business productivity and strengthening service delivery.”
The change in laws has been made possible through extensive consultation with stakeholders culminating in a broad consensus being reached. SSAA NT President Rob Kittle was there for every step of the process and says before this change, there was a lot of red tape involved in obtaining a licence in the first place, even before having to turn up each year to take the same photograph and pay the same fee. “At the end of the day, a lot of these people have been doing this for 30 years or more, so it just seems wasteful,” said Rob.
Previously in the NT, licences could not be renewed and each licence required a fresh application. “For pastoral families that have been in the Territory for a long time, they have to keep going back, including for their employees, and repeating the same process,” said Rob.
Northern Territory Police is supportive of the change and said that advancements in technology mean the amendments pose no risk to the community. All other requirements for acquiring, usage and storage of firearms are still in effect.
While this amendment has passed, other changes to the Firearms and Weapons Control Amendment Bill 2016 legislation are still being considered by the government. With the Northern Territory election coming up in August, the SSAA hopes the government continues moving forward with its initiatives to expand hunting areas and provide better access with improved infrastructure.