Shooters and Fishers Party MLC Robert Borsak announced that at the resumption of the Legislative Council next week he will introduce a notice of motion for a Bill creating a Firearms Ombudsman for New South Wales. This will be a part of the review of the NSW¬†Firearms Regulation 2006, to be conducted later this year.
‚ÄúA Firearms Ombudsman for NSW will¬†go a long way to fixing the current system, which obviously isn‚Äôt working as it should. I‚Äôll also be calling on my Shooters and Fishers Party counterparts in other States and Territories to implement similar measures in their own¬†jurisdictions.‚Äù, said Mr Borsak.
Mr Borsak said he‚Äôs made representations to the NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Justice and Police, Troy Grant, outlining his proposal and highlighting examples of the appalling treatment of firearms owners by the NSW Firearms Registry.
‚ÄúI‚Äôve discussed with Minister Grant the large number of¬†complaints I have received about the Firearms Registry, including cases¬†alleging:
‚Ä¢ vexatious litigation against firearm owners through the NSW¬†Civil and AdministrativeTribunal (NCAT)
‚Ä¢ denial of natural justice by reversing the onus of proof and presumption of innocence,
‚Ä¢ abuse of power¬†and unjustified revocation of licences for spurious reasons, and
‚Ä¢ imposing additional arbitrary hurdles for licence applicants.‚Äù
‚ÄúThe ongoing abuse of power and lack of due process by the NSW Firearms Registry has to be stopped‚Äù, Mr Borsak said. ‚ÄúOften, firearms owners and licensed dealers with unblemished records, in some cases over¬†40 years, are being targeted by Police and the Registry as criminals.
‚ÄúThe Firearms Registry is also¬†not complying with the NSW¬†Government‚Äôs ‚ÄòModel Litigant Policy‚Äô. This means, among other things, that the State and its agencies have an obligation to act honestly and fairly without taking advantage of a¬†person who lacks the resources to fight the¬†Registry decisions in court.
‚ÄúIt takes substantial financial resources to pursue a¬†review of a¬†Firearms Registry decision through the NSW Civil¬†and Administrative Tribunal and this can leave an ordinary firearm owner financially and emotionally crippled.
‚ÄúThe Firearms Registry, on the other hand, has the virtually unlimited financial resources of the State and retains the services of commercial lawyers to represent the Commissioner at¬†NCAT. This is¬†simply wrong and unfair.‚Äù Mr Borsak said.
Under this proposal the Firearms Ombudsman would be given powers under the NSW Firearms Act to make decisions that are final and binding on¬†the Firearms Registry.