The $160m earmarked for a Federal Firearms Register has been slammed as an “obscenity” by one of Australia’s peak sporting organisations, who are calling for the funding to be immediately redirected to healthcare and social services.

The Commonwealth Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, has announced next month’s Federal budget will include $161.3m over the next four years for the Federal Firearms Register. Shooters Union Australia president Graham Park said the money was badly needed elsewhere and the Government should hang their heads in shame.

“We’ve got families living in tents in major cities because they can’t find anywhere affordable to live, we’ve got people going without medical treatment because they can’t get a GP appointment, and we’ve got a mental health crisis, especially among our younger Australians, which is getting worse by the day,” he said.

“Despite these very obvious and high-profile problems, the Commonwealth Government thinks torching $160m for a duplicate and flawed database of legally owned firearms is the best use of that considerable sum.

“It’s an obscenity and a slap in the face to every Australian doing it tough at the moment – which is pretty much everyone.”

Mr Park slammed the Federal Firearms Register as a cynical PR exercise undertaken by an ineffective government actively burying its head in the sand to avoid dealing with the very serious issues facing Australia.

“Our mental health system is not so much broken as shattered, and people are crying out for help which isn’t available,” he said.

“No-one wants to talk about it, but 3,249 people committed suicide in 2022 alone – which is almost certainly more people than have been killed by someone with a firearm in Australia in the entirety of the 21st Century.

“$160m would fund a lot of psychologists, and the resulting improvement in mental health outcomes would improve community safety and quality of life infinitely more than an inaccurate database which is duplicating already existing inaccurate databases.

“$160m would pay for a lot of GPs, especially in regional areas. It would pay for a useful quantity of affordable housing. It would fund rental support initiatives so we don’t have working families living in tents and caravans. There are countless areas where that money is genuinely needed, and a Federal Firearms Register is not one of them.”

Mr Park explained firearms are already registered at State level, and the databases are famously inaccurate and riddled with errors, which made the Federal Registry even less palatable. “Anyone with even a basic knowledge of computing knows a database is only as good as the information you put in it – and since the State registries are a mess, the Federal registry will be the same and probably worse, since nothing has ever become more accurate or efficient by adding more bureaucracy or Government involvement to it.”

Media Enquiries: media@shootersunion.com.au

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