The Victorian Government could effectively stop firing parties taking part in war remembrance services such as those for Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
Proposed fee changes under the current Firearms Regulation Review could result in volunteer groups that provide such services on important days paying huge bills.
Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, has told the Victorian Parliament that an increase in the populous place permit would increase from $0 to $400.
“These volunteer groups provide firing parties for some of out most important and reverent national days. Bills such as this would stop them being able to provide this service”, Mr Ramsay said.
“That would be a travesty, removing from these days the poignant reminders of what our Service men and women actually do and what they represent”.
The Geelong Military Re-Enactment Group would be among those impacted by the proposed changes.
They are a not-for-profit group of volunteers which currently pays an annual membership of $45 and provides its commemorative skills at no cost to organisations such as the RSL and Lions.
“Among its activities, for example, this group alone provides firing parties for the Anzac Day services at Torquay, Winchelsea and Modewarre and for Australia Day at Rippleside Park.
“Facing a $400 permit per event, the group tells me it will no longer be able to afford to provide the service”.
There is also an additional cost being proposed for licence fees for category D and E firearms. The proposals are coming through the Victoria Police licensing and regulation division
Mr Ramsay has asked the Minister for Police, Lisa Neville, who oversees the Department of Justice and Regulation, to waive the fees for volunteer organisations.
“These groups play an important role in re-enacting our history with respect to war events.
“The least she can do is respect they extraordinary role they play, and enable them to keep playing it”.