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Firearms compensation about to end

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The Ho n . D aryl W illiams a m qc mp

18 S eptem ber 1997 338


I have today w ritten to the Q ueensland Police M inister, M r R ussell C ooper, reaffirm ing that there w ill be no extension to the buyback period.

If a firearm has not been handed in before 30 Septem ber 1997 then, regardless of w hether an application for a licence has been m ade before that date, any com pensation paid by the State in respect o f that firearm cannot, under the C om m onw ealth legislation, be reim bursed by the C om m onw ealth.

A ll A ustralians w ho w ish to apply for a category C and D firearm s licence m ust and should hand in their firearm s before 30 Septem ber, to be eligible for com pensation funded by the C om m onw ealth G overnm ent.

A ll A ustralian Police M inisters, including M r Cooper, have been aw are o f this situation fo r m any m onths.

N ew South W ales and V ictoria have acted to ensure that firearm s ow ners are aw are o f the need to surrender their firearm s before 30 Septem ber pending determ ination o f their licence applications. I have urged M r C ooper to follow that sam e path.

Since 10 M ay 1996, each State and T erritory in A ustralia has instituted the m ost com prehensive reform o f firearm s law s in A ustralia’s history and now 12 m onths later, A ustralia is a safer place for all A ustralians.

T he A ustralasian Police M inisters’ C ouncil m ade the historic 1996 N ationw ide A greem ent on Firearm s and set us on a path to better firearm s regulation after decades o f failed attem pts to im plem ent uniform and effective national law s.

As at the close o f business yesterday, A ustralians have handed in 551,751 prohibited firearm s and been paid $277,391,961 in com pensation.

T he rem oval o f dangerous firearm s from our com m unities and the establishm ent o f uniform registration and licensing together w ith the introduction o f com prehensive conditions for firearm s ow nership m arks a significant turning point in our n ation’s approach to firearm s.

M edia contact: B rett Bayly (02) 6277 7300