Shooters Union Queensland President Graham Park has described today’s announcement that the Federal Government would spend hundreds of millions of dollars towards a national firearms registry as “tawdry political gameplaying at the expense of the taxpayer.”

Mr Park said that today’s announcement was purely about politics and that it was “far too much of a coincidence” that the announcement comes just days before the first anniversary of the horrific Wieambilla shootings in Queensland, and just as news breaks of the arrest of a man in the US alleged to have been connected to the incident.

“It strains belief to think that this is about anything more than Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wanting to score some favourable headlines after a series of embarrassments, and about Queensland Premier Annastasia Palaszczuk thinking that standing up in public next to grieving families might somehow boost her waning popularity,” he said.

While supportive of the idea of instant information accessibility between state firearms registries, Mr Park said there was no way it was going to only cost the $200m figured bandied about.

“We welcome the instant interchange of information between jurisdictions, and think it’s long overdue, but we still question the price tag – there’s no way it’s only going to be $200m, given the near-inevitability with which large scale government projects go over-budget,” he said.

“At a time when the cost of living crisis is hitting family budgets hard, housing is inaccessible for many, and infrastructure is falling apart, it is shameful that politicians are splashing huge amounts of money around just to try and distract people from those issues.”

In Queensland alone, the Labor Government has reportedly said it will spend $15 million to upgrade its largely paper-based firearm registry.

“If the government was serious about public safety, they would put that money into trying to address the issue that, as the latest report from the Queensland Audit Office shows, the Queensland Police Service is in chaos,” Mr Park said.

“Instead, Ms Palaszczuk and her Ministers seem to want us to believe that an additional layer of IT and administration is somehow going to fix QPS’ falling morale, inability to recruit and retain officers, and the overwhelming volume of callouts that an ever-shrinking number of officers are expected to handle each and every day.”

“The reality is that all police are trained to approach every situation as potentially dangerous, whether or not a list of legally owned guns says there may be a firearm present. But the more money that gets wasted on feel-good schemes, the less there is to go into actually training and supporting police,” said Mr Park.

“If a federal firearms registry is such a pressing matter of national importance, why is the timeframe for implementing it almost 2030?

“Clearly more information is needed, and we reiterate our concern this is being rushed through as part of an expensive exercise in being seen to “do something” rather than properly updating what should be a fairly basic element of firearms registry operations.”