Processing times decline despite Weapons Licensing disarray
Processing times for new licence applications and permits to acquire at Queensland’s Weapons Licensing Branch (WLB) are edging towards being the lowest in almost a year but the battle necessary to fix WLB’s woes is far from over warns Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.
The WLB are reporting that new licence applications are taking approximately 18.1 weeks to process whilst permits to acquire (PTAs) are taking approximately 21 days. Although the delays are still significant, these wait times have almost halved what they were earlier in 2023 when new license applications were taking more than 35 weeks and PTAs took approximately 46 days.
The Hinchinbrook MP said it was pleasing to see the wait times dropping after the large volume of complaints and grievances raised with his office over delays and other internal problems at the WLB.
“I’ll give credit where credit is due, wait times have reduced significantly and that should be celebrated but, we’re a long way off from where we want to land this shot,” Mr Dametto said.
“It’s taken a lot of industry and political pressure just to force Weapons Licencing to merely align with its own legislative timeframes under the Weapons Act.
“I must applaud those who have fought for the fairer treatment of licensed firearm owners, the Government now seems to be moving with some urgency to get their books in order before they must report to a National Firearm Register, I have no doubt this is the reason we’re seeing a dramatic fall in processing times.
“Like I said, the fight is far from over, now is not the time to get complacent. We are still hearing about serious issues with the current Queensland firearms register with weapons going missing off the register and licence applicants being denied legal representation and therefore procedural fairness during QCAT hearings.
“I’ve even heard of a 17-and-a-half-year-old who applied for a minor weapons licence but it was not processed by the time the applicant turned 18 (some 6 months later) and was therefore rejected on the basis that an adult licence application was required.
“Just recently, the WLB have decided to not allow PTAs to be submitted at the same time as a new weapons licence application, meaning the reduced wait times for PTAs could potentially have little effect for those waiting for their first firearm.
“The issues continue to mount, and I plan to raise these and other problems with the Police Minister in the coming week of Parliament.”
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