After many years of campaigning by the AUPBA, Victorian Paintball operators and the general public, the Victorian Department of Justice has today notified the AUPBA that the Justice Legislation Amendment (Firearms and Other Matters) Bill 2014 was introduced to Parliament in 25th June 2014 and is set to be debated by the Legislative Assembly next week or the first week in September.
Alexandra Briggs, the Senior Legal Policy Officer of the Department of Justice, has been working with the AUPBA and other operators to table these important changes for over five years. “Along with other measures, The Bill proposes to amend the Firearms Act to lower the minimum age for paintball to 16 years, and to remove the requirement for paintball field employees to have a fingerprint check before employment”, said Ms Briggs in a conversation with Mr Bubenicek, the AUPBA president. “After the bill is passed, it will be signed off by the Governor General and then a date for the reduction in age will be set”.
This is a great result for the Victorian Paintball Industry and is the culmination of tireless efforts by many in the Paintball fraternity. A special mention goes to Glenn Etheridge of Melbourne Indoor Paintball and Seamus Fraser of Delta Force Paintball for their efforts in collating all the information and working with other operators and stakeholders to assist the Department of Justice.
The departure of the previous Police Minister Peter Ryan, did result in some delays with the process as the Department needed to re-brief the current police minister.
“It certainly has been a result of stakeholders saying that this is appropriate, the Department of Justice seeing what is happening in other jurisdictions and ensuring that there have been no other injuries coming from those jurisdictions. It’s a real positive change”, said Ms Briggs
Steven Cauchi, a Paintball operator from Geelong also spearheaded the introduction of an amendment that removes the onerous administration of fingerprint checks for casual Paintball staff. Ms Briggs added, “This change is part of this (Victorian) Government’s attempts to try and reduce red tape”.
This is very exciting news for the Victorian Paintball industry and those who will soon be able to experience Paintball for the first time in Victoria. The AUPBA would like to publicly thank all those involved, particularly Alexandra Briggs of the Department of Justice and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, The Hon. Kim Wells MP, for all their their efforts.
Information on the Justice Legislation Amendment (Firearms and Other Matters) Bill 2014 can be found at www.legislation.vic.gov.au
The AUPBA will continue to monitor the passing of this Bill and will make an announcement on the changes when the Bill is approved and ready for implementation.