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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5642 ..

Firearms Amendment Bill 2010

Mr Corbell, pursuant to notice, presented the bill, its explanatory statement and a Human Rights Act compatibility statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (10.37): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

The Firearms Amendment Bill 2010 will amend the Firearms Act 1996. The amendment will allow the ACT to achieve consistency with other Australian jurisdictions, allowing for the interchange of management practices and eliminating some of the obstacles that currently exist when dealing with vertebrate pest animal control.

Presently the act does not allow for the recognition of interstate category D firearm licences. These amendments will allow interstate professional shooters to operate in the ACT where the use of category D firearms is necessary. Category D firearms, such as certain self-loading rifles and pump action shotguns, require ministerial authorisation and can only be possessed where a person can show a genuine need to possess and use the firearm for the purpose of pest animal control.

Although Territory and Municipal Services, TAMS, as the agency with land management and disease control responsibility for the ACT, is currently able to contract professional shooters who hold an ACT category D licence, the shortage of this skill in the territory means that contract shooters from outside the ACT may in future be required. As a result, TAMS’ ability to undertake aerial shooting in accordance with the national codes of best practice for humane pest animal control is restricted in the ACT.

The amendments will alleviate this problem by allowing the temporary recognition of interstate licences of professional shooters contracted to TAMS to use category D firearms in the territory. Safeguards are built into the bill and provide that the authorisation of interstate licences would be subject to similar restrictions to those placed on ACT category D licence holders.

This includes the requirement that the licensee is appropriately qualified and accredited, that the licensee is either employed or contracted by an ACT government agency for the purpose of vertebrate pest animal control and that the licensee can satisfy the Registrar of Firearms that there is a genuine need to possess and use the firearm for the purpose of pest animal control. The interstate recognition would require ministerial authorisation, which is limited to a period of up to six months.

This bill is consistent with the current stringent controls on the possession and use of high-powered firearms and will ensure that TAMS is able to fulfil its land

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