New data reveals huge taxpayer spend on gun clubs

Media release: New data reveals huge taxpayer spend on gun clubs

According to a new report released by Gun Control Australia, a minimum of $77,467,237 has been allocated via government grants schemes to fund improvements to gun clubs and build and renovate shooting complexes over a five-year period (2014/15 to 2018/2019). Click to see fun report: Click to view full report.

Key points:

  • For the period 2014/15 to 2018/2019 a minimum of $77,467,237 was allocated to improve gun clubs and build or improve shooting complexes through the various Commonwealth and State grant schemes.
  • Queensland allocated $16,500,000 to upgrading shooting complexes - the most of any jurisdiction - followed closely by New South Wales who allocated $15,043,000.[1]  Commonwealth funding has exceeded $13,344,000.
  • The Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) received a large piece of the funding pie, receiving over $1,692,000 for its various gun clubs across Australia.
  • Although the rate of participation in shooting sports is declining, the level of government funds to the sport remains high.
  • New South Wales and Victoria established specific grant schemes just for shooting sports. The New South Wales scheme is the oldest and has been operating since 1998. The New South Wales scheme has allocated over $25 million dollars since its inception.[2]

For the period 2014/15 to 2018/2019, various grants were allocated to the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA). The SSAA received over $1,692,000 for improvement to gun clubs. This figure may be an underestimation of grants allocated to the SSAA, because the Victorian Government does not publish a break-down of grant recipients in the Shooting Sports Facilities Program.[3]  In the SSAA Victoria 2017/2018 Annual Report it states the organisation received $502,942 (2018) and $751,000 (2017) in government grants. These government grants are for a range of SSAA projects, including for the Shooting Sports Facilities Program[4].

The SSAA is the largest and oldest gun advocate and sports shooting body in Australia. The organisation’s website lists the National Rifle Association (NRA) as one of its affiliations and close relationships. It has offices in each state and territory as well as a national office. The Association also has 400 SSAA shooting clubs with a national membership of 180,000 gun owners.[5]

The figures were collated from Commonwealth and State Budget Papers, Annual Reports and media releases, providing a picture of the funds allocated by each jurisdiction over a period of time.

Total funds granted

Comments from Samantha Lee, President of GCA

 “While many sporting clubs hold sausage sizzles to keep afloat, the already cashed-up Sporting Shooters Association of Australia is flush with taxpayer funding.”

“There are few sporting sectors that have their own specific government grants scheme, but shooting is one of them. In New South Wales the Government-run ‘Safe Shooting Scheme’ has been operating for over 20 years and has allocated more than $25 million in funds to shooting bodies.”

“Although the participation rate in shooting sports is declining in Australia, the level of government funds remains high. It’s no doubt a reflection of how effective the gun lobby’s backroom deals with politicians continue to be.”


Recent relevant research

Recent research from the Australia Institute has shed light on the political strategies of the Australian gun lobby, and has revealed that the gun lobby in Australia is as large, per capita, as the NRA in the US.  This research has also found that the number of guns per gun-owner in Australia has increased dramatically, despite a drop in the number of people engaged in sport shootingoverall.


Community support for strong gun laws

March 2019 polling conducted by Essential reveals that 37 per cent of people in NSW think current gun laws are “too weak”.  This is an increase from 26 per cent when the poll was last conducted in March 2018.

The proportion of people who think gun laws are “about right” declined from 65 per cent to 52 per cent. The proportion of people who believe that laws are “too strict” has remained very low at 5 per cent, close to the previous figure of 6 per cent in 2018.


About Gun Control Australia

Gun Control Australia is the representative body for the majority of Australians who support uniform, effective and sensible firearms legislation and policy.  While we recognise that there is a place for firearms for certain purposes, we believe our community deserves to live without fear of gun violence, and we need to be vigilant to ensure Australia’s gun laws remain current and effective.


[1]NSW Government 2017-2018, Local Sport Grant Program Recipients, Office of Sport Annual Reports 2015/16, 2016/17, 2017/18.


[3]The Victorian allocation of grants figures to the SSAA has been collated from SSAA media releases and annual reports.

[4]Sporting Shooters’ Association of Victoria, Annual Report 2017/2018, pg 12.

[5]Philip Alpers, 4 December 2016, ‘Australian gun laws may seed their own destruction: Laws are providing a multi-million income stream for Australia’s pro gun lobby’, GunPolicy,org.