AUSTRALIA’s governments have handed over more than $77 million to shooting clubs and lobby groups over the past five years, new data shows.
The figures collated by Gun Control Australia show the Queensland and NSW governments each spent more than $18 million on gun clubs and shooting complexes, while Victoria paid $16.8 million.
The bulk of the Queensland money was spent building the Belmont shooting complex in Brisbane for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The commonwealth government paid out $13.3 million in grants, entirely to Shooting Australia, the peak body for target shooting sports.
But GCA president Samantha Lee says the figure most alarming to her is the $1.7 million given to the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia to upgrade its gun clubs.
“While many sporting clubs hold sausage sizzles to keep afloat, the already cashed-up Sporting Shooters Association of Australia is flush with taxpayer funding,” she said in a statement on Saturday.
The GCA report quotes research from Sydney University gun policy expert Philip Alpers, who says the SSAA is the wealthiest sports shooting body in Australia, with more than double the assets held by Swimming Australia and annual income of about $20 million.
The 71-year-old organisation describes its aims as promoting shooting sports, including wildlife hunting, and protecting firearm owners’ interests.
It also says it works closely with the firearms industry to lobby politicians on gun issues.
“Although the participation rate in shooting sports is declining in Australia, the level of government funds remains high,” Ms Lee said.
“It’s no doubt a reflection of how effective the gun lobby’s backroom deals with politicians continue to be.”
Gun laws have been in the news recently, after an Al Jazeera undercover investigation showed One Nation officials travelling to the US to meet with and seek donations from the powerful National Rifle Association, and the party’s leader Pauline Hanson querying whether the Port Arthur massacre was a government conspiracy.
© AAP 2019