Monday, June 17, 2024

Firearm buyback to support historic Cook Government reform: Cook, Papalia

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The Hon. Roger Cook, Premier of Western Australia, The Hon. Paul Papalia, Minister for Police (WA), Joint Media Release, 14 February 2024

Western Australia’s firearm buyback compensation scheme will commence on Wednesday, 21 February 2024 as the Cook Government introduces the toughest firearm laws in the country to the WA Parliament.

The new legislation elevates public safety as the key consideration, and will see tens of thousands of unnecessary firearms removed from WA.

All WA individual firearm licence holders are eligible to receive compensation for surrendered firearms regardless of whether legislative changes impact their licence. The voluntary scheme will remain open until Saturday, 31 August 2024, or until the $64.3 million fund is exhausted.

A payment schedule based on current retail baseline valuations, similar to those used in the 1996/97 Commonwealth buyback, has been developed in conjunction with industry stakeholders.

The schedule outlines the amount payable following surrender of a firearm, dependant on type, style, calibre, and initial registration date.

Firearms can be surrendered at any WA Police station. Unlicensed firearms may be surrendered without penalty and without fear of prosecution, however, they will not qualify for the buyback scheme.

The Cook Government’s new firearms laws have been developed following years of extensive consultation with licence holders, the Primary Producers Firearms Advisory Board, industry stakeholders, and the community.

New legislation will see WA become the first state in Australia to introduce a limit on the number of firearms an individual can own. Other key changes include enhanced storage requirements, mandatory firearms training, compulsory health checks, new licence types, reform of the written authority system, and the introduction of mandatory disqualifying offences.

Comments attributed to Premier Roger Cook:

“My Government’s new laws strike a balance between the legitimate and responsible use of firearms and public safety.

“The changes will see WA introduce the most robust management of firearms in the country. This will also mean the State will be ready and equipped to participate in a national firearms registry.

“The crackdown will also modernise the way police record, monitor, and enforce our firearm legislation.

“There are more than 360,000 licensed firearms owned by fewer than 90,000 Western Australians, and the new legislation will impact all of them in a responsible way.

“That’s why we are giving all individual firearms licence holders the opportunity to take part in the $64.3 million voluntary buyback scheme.”

Comments attributed to Police Minister Paul Papalia:

“All firearms owners should seriously consider taking part in the voluntary buyback.

“Law changes will make it harder to obtain a firearm licence, there will be stricter regulation surrounding where you can use and store firearms, and many Western Australians who purchased a property letter online as a reason to get a licence may struggle to get a new written authority.

“The $64.3 million buyback will remove tens of thousands of unnecessary firearms from the community, and see the Cook Government establish WA as the first State in Australia to place limits on the number of firearms a person can own. 

“Unfortunately, a number of high-profile firearm incidents have compromised the safety of regular, law-abiding Western Australians in recent years.

“If there are fewer firearms in the community, there will fewer opportunities for them to be used inappropriately.”

Commentary: Trading shots over WA firearms reforms

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