Discussions between WAFarmers and the State's Police Minister around the creation of a new firearms licence for WA's primary producers appear to have stalled, with the group's president saying he does not believe that the premise for changing the State's firearm laws is correct.
WAFarmers is part of the Primary Producers Advisory Board which also includes the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA and was formed by Police Minister Paul Papalia to advise on the creation of a new primary producers firearm licence as part of the State government's re-write of its Firearms Act 1973.
In an email sent out to the advisory board in early August, its members were requested to provide a formal response as to whether they agreed with six elements for a primary producers' licence.
These elements included the 'Authority to the licence holder to possess and use a maximum of 10 firearms on this licence' and 'Authority to any nominated person on the licence (employee/family etc) to use those firearms on his property (or properties) for primary production purposes'.
Farm Weekly understands the email stated the licence holder would also be entitled to obtain an individual licence for competition purposes which would be separate to the number of firearms authorised under the primary producers licence.
While WAFarmers president John Hassell said the group had initially indicated their support for the new licence type, in a subsequent email he said he had expressed to Mr Papalia that the group did not support the premise on which the primary producers firearm licence is being created.
"We had initially agreed to the list that they had given us because, for farmers, they probably don't need any more than 10 firearms...but nethertheless the premise for changing the laws is incorrect," Mr Hassell said.
"It doesn't matter how many guns you have, you can only use one at a time, so on that basis I really struggle agreeing with these changes... also because I don't think we've got a problem with firearms in Australia or WA in the first place.
"The legislation itself might be out of date, but the laws themselves are not - we have the toughest gun laws in the country...so that was my response to Minister Papalia and I stand by it.
"The government set out to wedge us (members of the agricultural industry) on these gun laws, I think he's succeeded and I'm not happy that he's done so."
In regards to the Shooting Industry Foundation of Australia (SIFA) chief executive James Walsh's recent criticisms on the WA government's proposal to limit the number of firearms its licenced firearm owners can own, Mr Hassell said he agreed the changes would hinder potential future Federal frameworks for the nation's licensed firearm owners.
Mr Walsh said an example of this was the creation of a national firearms registry for Australia's licensed firearm owners.
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