Gun owners ‘done over’ by bureaucrats, COVID is the excuse
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett has again hit at at extraordinary delays facing gun owners applying for licences, and says there is no end in sight to the situation.
"I asked the Police Minister a Question on Notice about when the department will resume full business hours for phone contact and staff return to work from the office.
"I regularly deal with a stream of complaints about the lack of progress and amount of time it's taking on what should be a relatively straightforward process.
"The Minister's response indicates there's no intention to pick up the pace.
"In the same week he responded police escorts were provided to escort protestors march in Brisbane, but Weapons Licensing remains closed to those who pay for its service.
"The Minister passed the buck saying he has no say in it and it's up to the Police Commissioner.
"It's a pathetic response from a Minister who is not in control of his Department.
"The same Minister requires representations to go through him and not directly to the Department, and then says he has no control over what the bureaucracy is doing.
"The State Government has been manufacturing delays and excuses which make dealing with Weapons Licensing a nightmare for law abiding firearm owners.
"Applicants are being done over by a bureaucracy that doesn't want to make things easy.
Covid-19 is the excuse to go slow on processing applications, for restricted contact times, and weapons licensing staff working from home.
"They can't handle applications in a timely manner.
"You pay a fee for the service which presumably was to cover the cost, so it should be adequately resourced.
"It doesn't matter if you are already a firearm owner or have a licence the delays on getting a licence, renewing a licence, or obtaining a Permit to Acquire are ridiculous.
"Last month an applicant for a Permit to Acquire and a new licence was told by Weapons Licensing to wait 15 to 20 weeks, four or five months, before his application is dealt with.
"Because he applied 17 weeks ago (April 30) that makes it somewhere between a 27 and 32 weeks, or eight-month turnaround.
"When I made representations to the Minister on his behalf and received a response with three contradictory answers saying they needed further information, that they already had the information, and that the application was being processed.
"No wonder people are frustrated.
"Even a 15 to 20-week turnaround to process paperwork is unacceptable.
"COVID-19 is not a legitimate reason to make decent hardworking law-abiding firearm owners wait four or five months to deal with their application.
"Anyone applying today, will be lucky if it's dealt with before 2021 let alone Christmas.
"What does the Government think is a reasonable service within a reasonable time frame?
"This problem is not new, they can't keep blaming Covid-19 for not delivering a service.
"The Police Minister is more interested in regulating toy guns than managing his department.
"Last month toys firing water-based pellets, gel blasters, were declared a restricted item under the Weapons Act.
"Users have to lock them up, can't use them on private property and backyards, must be a member of an association, and only use it at the club.
"In March the Police Minister and Agriculture Minister couldn't close gun shops quick enough.
"They used the cloak of COVID-19 to unilaterally close licensed dealers and armourers with no notice to farmers, primary producers, or affected businesses, and no explanation to the industry.
"The Agriculture Minister didn't seem to know that people in the agriculture and pest control industries need guns to manage their properties and operate their own business."