Federal Government sets aside $161 million for national gun register

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Katina Curtis
The Nightly
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says the register means police will know where Australia’s firearms are.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus says the register means police will know where Australia’s firearms are. Credit: JAMES ROSS/AAPIMAGE

The final piece of national gun law reform outstanding for nearly three decades will finally be put in place with the Federal Government funding a new whole-of-country firearms register.

Next month’s Budget will include $161.3 million over the next four years to set up the register and back extensive reform of state and territory firearms management systems.

The new register will give frontline police officers near-real-time information on guns and owners and link that information with other relevant police and government databases such as the National Criminal Intelligence System.

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“Once established, police will know where firearms are, who owns them, and what other risks to the community and police may exist,” Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus said.

“The Australian Government is committed to protecting the Australian community and ensuring Australia’s firearms laws remain amongst the most effective in the world.”

The national register was an outstanding reform from those recommended after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre.

Queensland and NSW led a renewed push for it after two police officers and a neighbour were killed at Wieambilla in December 2022.

National Cabinet agreed last December to establish the register with state data connecting to a central hub, allowing it to be shared across jurisdictions.

The Federal funding will help the States and Territories overhaul their systems so they can all integrate.

It’s understood at least one jurisdiction has a register that is barely digitised, which is why four years have been allowed for the final version to be in place.

The WA Government is also pushing ahead with new gun laws that cap the number of firearms a person can own at 10 and introduce stricter licensing and storage requirements as well as compulsory training and health checks.

It recently held a gun buyback with more than 5200 firearms surrendered in a month.

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