The review into the NSW Firearms Registry has been welcomed by the Shooters and Fishers Party and the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia.
The political party and shooter representative organisation were at a round table discussion with the NSW FAR and other peak hunting bodies, sporting shooter organisations and firearms retailers this week to discuss the FAR and concerns about how it was running.
SFP MLC Robert Borsak said that the current system was run on “antiquated computers and software” and had led to firearms owner details put at risk.
“We called for this review at the end of last year because it was clear that the registry was not coping with the growing interest in our sport,” Mr Borsak said.
“There are 220,000 licence and permit holders in NSW and the registry has to deal with up to 800 phone calls a day.
“We want to see a system that’s brought up to modern standards and believe that the registry can be streamlined to provide better service to firearms owners and secure firearm owner details.”
The process being carried out by auditors Deloitte is expected to take a couple of months with public submissions invited between November 1 and 22.
Police Minister Michael Gallacher said the review is expected to look at a range of issues including the possibility of introducing a “smart card”.
“This review will also consider a proposed ‘smart card’ firearms licensing regime to better secure personal information and streamline the process for acquiring firearms and ammunition by legitimate firearm users,” he said.
The SSAA NSW branch did not speculate on the current system, which has seen a number of its ranges closed under to sort out compliance issues, but in a prepared statement said it was pleased to be a part of the process for bringing in reform.
“SSAA NSW was very pleased to be a part of the meeting organised by the Shooters and Fishers Party which brought together representatives of the NSW Firearms Registry and the various shooting bodies in NSW,” said Diana Melham, Executive Director, SSAA NSW.
“The meeting was a good opportunity for all attending to share information and discuss common areas of concern.
“The discussions were constructive and informative and SSAA NSW looks forward to being part of the working groups that were established to address the issues of ranges, legislation and communication.
“The shooting sports can only benefit from such a proactive and collaborative approach between the peak shooting bodies and the Registry.
“SSAA NSW would like to thank SFP MLC Robert Borsak and Bluey Lyons, General Manager of the NSW Firearms Registry, for this initiative.”
Meanwhile, Mr Borsak said he hoped to see significant improvement in the administration of the FAR.
“I hope they will come out from this review with a new organisational map and budget to implement better process,” he said. “They need to be taken out of the 90s and brought up to the 21st century.”