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Question Status:  Answered

Session: 59 Parliament First Session Sitting: 2020 House: LC
QP Reference No: NP 56 Question Number: 1863

Asked By: Hayes Clifford Party: Sustainable Australia Addressed To: Police and Emergency Services
Asked Date: Mar 17, 2020

Question Preview:

MR HAYES — To ask the Minister for Training and Skills (for the Minister for Police and Emergency Services):

In relation to the Firearm Safety Code:
(1) Why are hunters allowed to discharge a shotgun within 250 meters of private and public boundaries when the range for a shotgun may be 250 to 750 meters and can actually cross over into private land.
(2) Why are designated hunting zones not classified as firearms ranges with the same stringent conduct and regulation requirements as target shooting ranges.


The Firearm Safety Code is produced by the Firearm Safety Foundation and is a guide to all hunters about the fundamental principles of firearms safety.

The Firearm Safety Code does not absolve any firearm owner from obeying firearm laws, including those relating to using a firearm in a dangerous manner or discharging a shot across or onto private property without consent.

Hunting is a dispersed activity, involving isolated or intermittent shooting that typically occurs in remote areas well away from other people and dwellings. Hunters and primary producers may shoot on their own land or with the permission of the property owner in accordance with the conditions of their licence. They are expected to conduct their shooting activities in a lawful manner, having assessed all risk, demonstrating awareness of surroundings and safety principles. 

The Game Management Authority (GMA) regulates hunting on public land and provides extensive advice to hunters for the carriage and use of firearms in designated hunting zones, hunting practices and guidelines. Further, in order to obtain a game licence (an additional requirement to a firearm licence) the applicant must successfully complete a knowledge test. Maps and guides are readily available from the GMA website and authorised officers monitor hunting activities throughout the state. 

Sport target shooters may conduct target shooting on private property only in accordance with Regulation 8 under Part 3 of the Firearms Regulations 2018. They must also be appropriately licensed, and their licence must be endorsed for sport/target shooting which requires the holder to hold a membership to an approved sport/target shooting club. 

Schedule 2 of the Firearms Act 1996 outlines the special conditions for licences issued under Part 2 of the Act. Category C longarms may only be used for the suppression of pest animals by those who hold a valid licence endorsed for the genuine need of Primary Production.  In order to be authorised to conduct pest animal suppression on their own primary production property or the property of another primary producer, licence holders must be able to do so in accordance with Regulation 9.  The Licensing and Regulation Division of Victoria Police regulates shooting ranges. Ranges are approved according to the location, municipal zoning and approvals, the type of shooting intended to be conducted and firearms to be used. Approved range officers monitor shoots and competitions and ranges are established according to a vastly different set of considerations. It is appropriate that hunting zones on public land are managed by DELWP and the GMA. 

It would be impractical to establish similar provisions for hunting zones. Hunters on public land not only must adhere to the conditions of their licence and the Firearms Act 1996, they must also be able to adhere to the requirements under the Wildlife Act 1975. Further, the GMA has its own powers under the GMA Act 2014 to perform regulatory, investigative and disciplinary functions. The establishment of hunting zones must take into consideration a vastly different set of circumstances, including understanding the environmental and ecological factors that would allow or disallow hunting in that area. 

Victoria's firearms laws are designed to protect the community from dangerous and unsafe use of firearms. Significant penalties and possible jail terms apply for anyone who fails to use firearms in a safe and lawful manner, including the possession, carriage and use of firearms on private property. The Government is committed to the safe use of firearms and Victoria Police actively prosecute breaches of firearms law. 

Answer Published Date: