SSAA Illawarra - Presidents Report
In March of 2016 after only holding a Firearms licence for a few months i made a decision that would change my outlook on everything i knew about shooting. I made the decision to ask to join the committee of SSAA Illawarra branch, at the time i had absolute zero idea to what to expect, when i told a few of my friends some had fits of laughter and some just said i was completely mad, those who know me best know that i enjoy a challenge, i have always wanted to make a difference and have always enjoyed a challenge.
Once i joined the committee i made friends that one would consider friends for life, genuine, honest people these were people of everyday life coming together to try and make a difference for a sport they loved and enjoyed.
I can say that the last few weeks since the AGM have been a very busy time for SSAA Illawarra, lots of things are being planned and i will briefly touch on them shortly. We have been steadily increasing our membership and now have a membership base of almost 1700 members and counting, the shoots at the Hill Top shooting range have been steady over the last few months and it is hoped that further competitions will increase these numbers. There has also been increased volume in members becoming active in hunting.
Political lobbying this year is going to be more focussed on with the National Firearms Agreement (NFA) being a contentious issue. The Committee and myself will be meeting with State and Federal members of parliament for the Illawarra to discuss these matters as a matter of importance, one of these issues that we will be raising is the overreaching of the government relating to what some have now become to know as the "Ammo Bill". As President I will not be standing by idly as our rights are further eroded away.
The committee will be also seeking clarification on a number of other issues including the Adler reclassification, the NRC Report into Deer being reclassified as a pest and invasive pest species and also the issue relating to suppressors.
I will personally be speaking with Paul McNabb and Diana Melham from SSAA NSW regarding these issues and be making representations on behalf of the branch to make known the discontent of the members of the Illawarra Branch. I will be also speaking with other branches in NSW to shore up support regarding these issues.
The committee will also be lobbying for funds for an appropriate SSAA range here in the Illawarra, there have been several locations that have been looked at over the last twelve months with none being a viable location, there are several other options being looked at by the committee at the moment and the members will be kept to date on these matters as they evolve.
In regards to target shooting there are several option being discussed at the moment with the NSW Department of Sport & Recreation taking over the Hill Top range, the allowable days has not changed significantly with SSAA Illawarra being allowed one Sunday a Month, this is unfortunate as there is keen interest from our members who wish to participate.
The Branch has also been advised that the new 500 metre range behind the current 800 metre range is now before the NSW planning commission with a decision to be made later in the year regarding it's proposed development. Submissions regarding the range have now closed and are currently being assessed.
This can only be seen as a step forward for the branch as new concrete benches and modern facilities were proposed for the new range, also discussed was the possibility of having metal silhouette targets. Several members of the committee including myself will be attending ranges to asses the viability and functionality of the new target designs with a report to be tabled to the committee later in the year.
In regards to hunting, Hunting will be more focussed upon this year with a large proportion of the membership base appearing to be hunters, I can say that the committee has heard loud and clear what the members are wanting / needing.
There is going to be more "R" Licence courses to be run more frequently throughout the year, there is also going to be more hunting education courses starting from novices to the more experienced hunters. I can also say that there is going to be more product demonstrations relating to hunting equipment with a butchering and capering course to be run in the middle of the year with a BBQ for the members after the demonstration.
It is still abundantly clear that there a lot of the membership only hold there SSAA membership as a genuine reason and do not participate in SSAA Illawarra events, this is unfortunate as the club continues to offer a great services to it's members, it is hoped that this year more engagement from members will see a turn around in this. More members being part of the SSAA Illawarra Facebook group would also assist in promoting the brach and the great work that is being done.
The club has many new and exciting this year and looks forward to being able to assist you in the future, I have to give credit where credit is due, SSAA Illawarra could not function without it's tireless volunteers who give up there time so we can all enjoy our sport, I ask you to all spread the word that shooting is a safe, enjoyable and pleasurable sport to all.
The committee invites all those that have feedback relating to Target / Hunting event to email the club at firstname.lastname@example.org
SSAA (NSW) Illawarra Branch President