Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 10 Hansard (23 September) . . Page.. 3549 ..
MR WOOD (continuing):
at the City Police Station and it was supported by an amnesty for the possession of such pistols as well as any illegally held firearms.
The ACT, together with Queensland, was the first jurisdiction to commence its buyback and thereby meet the date specified by COAG. The amnesty and buyback will end on 31 December this year, so we are nearly at the halfway point. For the information of members, some 340 prohibited pistols and 425 associated parts and accessories have been surrendered so far and approximately $346,000 has been paid in compensation.
A further provision allows competition shooters who are no longer able or willing to continue with their sport to exit the sport and surrender all their pistols for compensation, provided they do so for a minimum of five years. Eight shooters have so far done so. The act requires, among other things, that the regulations specify provisions for the payment of compensation for the surrender and for related parts during the buyback period. This is to ensure that payment of such compensation is on just terms.
On 28 July 2003, the Chief Minister entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Prime Minister concerning the accountability and administrative procedures for the buyback. The states have all entered into similar agreements. This agreement sets out the broad terms. It is funded from two sources. Firstly, the residue of funds which are obtained through a special Medicare levy and allocated by the Commonwealth for the 1996 buyback of firearms. These funds have been apportioned to each jurisdiction on a per population basis. The allocation for the ACT is approximately $245,000. Secondly, cost shared funds, two-thirds of which are provided by the Commonwealth and one-third by the ACT. The ACT government appropriated $425,000 in the current budget for this purpose.
The intergovernmental agreement includes a comprehensive list of pistols, including their defining features, which was very necessary. The values are different for individual shooters and for firearm dealers. The national valuation list underpins the compensation schemes in all jurisdictions, the list being developed by the Victoria Police, which utilised its extensive weapons identification system.
The Commonwealth has also developed through Crimtrack an electronic system, the national handgun buyback support system, for valuation for payment of compensation. The AFP firearms registry, located in the City Police Station, uses the Crimtrack system. On presentation, a prohibited pistol is valued in accordance with the national list and, if this value is acceptable to the owner, a surrender is signed and compensation paid.
A capacity to do on-the-spot check payments, which is used in some jurisdictions, is not available here. If the pistol is not listed or the owner disputes the value, it is held in safe storage until the matter is determined by a valuation panel. No pistols are permitted to be taken away from the buyback centre by the owner, irrespective of any disputed value. Historical pistols are offered to the Australian War Memorial or the National Museum. The regulations are in place and I encourage members to read those regulations, which are well expressed.
I am sympathetic to those competition shooters who are now precluded from using high-calibre pistols for their sport and need to replace these with permissible calibre pistols-that is, up to 0.38 of an inch-and also to those collectors of antique percussion pistols,