QuestionsOnNotice

Questions Without Notice No 499
Answered
Council
59 Parliament First Session
Question
Asked: 6 April 2022

Firearms dealers licences

MR QUILTY — To ask the Minister for Training and Skills (for the Minister for Police): 

 

A written response was ordered for both the substantive and supplementary questions.

 

Substantive Question

My question is for the minister representing the Minister for Police. Over the last few weeks I have asked questions about Victoria’s police firearms database. The government tells me that the reason the licensing and regulation division have lost track of over 100 000 firearms is that records were incomplete in 1996 when the new database system was implemented. This means that LRD’s senior officers have not properly maintained their firearms database since 1996 and they have no idea how accurate it is. Surely this has been a failure of leadership.

Previous firearms amnesties have not issued receipts for surrendered firearms and dealers are now being pursued over not being able to produce firearms that were surrendered to police years ago, but Victoria Police is also a firearms dealer—they buy and sell firearms too. Why does the dealer get chased over a handful of firearms discrepancies when police can lose track of over 100 000 without consequences? Minister, does Victoria Police hold a firearms dealers licence, and do the same rules apply to them as apply to other firearms dealers?

Supplementary QuestionIt is alarming that so many firearms were surrendered to police without records or receipts. Without amnesties, firearms would still be where records indicate—they would be in the hands of the owners in most cases. Now we have thousands of firearms that cannot be traced. We do not know where they went and will not be able to track them down. People gave their firearms to police in good faith, and the firearms have just disappeared. Were they destroyed, sold on the black market, kept by police? Because LRD officers have unaccountable access to firearms, we should also expect that they are subject to strict integrity measures to reduce the potential for corruption. IBAC argues that moving or rotating people, particularly in specialist squads such as drug squads, reduces the risk of corruption and misconduct by preventing stagnation and the development of inappropriate relationships. Minister, what is the tenure of senior officers in LRD? The rest of VicPol have a policy of limited tenure and rotation to combat corruption, but it appears that LRD is exempt.

Ms Pulford: On a point of order, President, by my count the member asked five questions in his supplementary. I would remind members of our standing orders and multiple rulings over the years from the Chair: it is one question plus one supplementary. We would encourage you, President, to perhaps—

A member: Pick one.

Ms Pulford: Yes, maybe pick one or remind members of that rule.

The PRESIDENT: Mr Quilty, you know the standing orders. I will ask you to rephrase your supplementary, please, with one question.

Mr QUILTY: Thank you, President. The actual question was quite clear. The rest was just build-up to it—the use of a question as a rhetorical device in building the case. The actual question was: Minister, what is the tenure of senior officers in LRD?

Answer
Answered: 6 April 2022

Verbal answer given in the House to the substantive question:

I thank the member for his question and indeed his consistency in providing a whole heap of allegations—and then finally he gets to a question right at the end that is not necessarily connected to a conflated set of issues. Leaving that to one side, I will refer it to the Minister for Police for her response as per the standing orders.

Verbal answer given in the House to the supplementary question:

I thank the member for his question. His explanation that his posturing, his allegations and his assertions are now a rhetorical frame—very interesting proposition, Mr Quilty. Regardless of that, I will refer the supplementary to the Minister for Police.

                                                                       

The President ordered a written response for both questions (response due 8 April 2022).


Answer
Answered: 6 May 2022
Firearms dealers licences

A written response was ordered for both the substantive and supplementary questions. Written response received:

Response to substantive question:

 

In accordance with the Firearms Act 1996, Victoria Police provides oversight of Licensed Firearms Dealers (LFDs) to ensure legislative requirements and correct practice and procedure are followed. LFDs receive enquiries on historical firearm transactions as part of District Firearms Officer operational activities, and audits undertaken by sworn members and the Regulation Support Branch within the Licensing and Regulation Division of Victoria Police.

 

Following the identification of data errors within the current firearms registry, Victoria Police commenced Operation Ravelings to review and reconfirm approximately 100,000 lines of firearm data contained within the registry holdings. It is important to note that while there is a significant number of firearm records on the reconfirmation list, each data record does not equate to a firearm in the community. To date, Operation Ravelings has reviewed more than 60,000 firearm records and LFDs have assisted with queries emerging from Operation Ravelings.

 

Victoria Police does hold a firearms dealers licence and is required to meet its licence requirements in accordance with the Firearms Act 1996.

 

Response to Supplementary Question:

 

Assistant Commissioners are classified as Executives, and they have a maximum five-year tenure on their contracts. This is the same as Victorian Public Service Executives. An extension can be granted by the Deployment Panel in exceptional circumstances.

 

Victoria Police use the rotation of Inspectors and Superintendents as a guideline for how they manage senior officers. Officers (Inspectors and above) generally have tenure in a position to a maximum of five years and a minimum of two years. Inspectors can elect to nominate to rotate from the two-year mark.

 

The Hon Gayle Tierney MP

Minister for Training and Skills

Minister for Higher Education

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