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Australian hunting and shooting contributes $2.4 billion a year



The Economic and Social Impacts of Recreational Hunting and Shooting report, commissioned by former Federal Sports Minister Bridget McKenzie, now Minister for Agriculture, and successfully lobbied for by the Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia, has highlighted the benefits of the recreation to the Australian nation.

Its economy is $335m and 3,300 jobs larger as a result of the contribution of recreational hunting and sports shooting.

The report found that there are 640,000 recreational hunters and shooters in Australia. This includes those who hunt game and pest animals with firearms, bows or knives, and those who participate in target or sports shooting with firearms. It does not include farmers who shoot pest animals on their properties.

Hunters and shooters generate economic activity through the purchase of goods and services while they are on a hunting trip, such as fuel, groceries, ammunition, meals and accommodation, as well the purchase of equipment such as firearms, bows and ammunition.

The gross contribution to GDP, or the economic footprint, from recreational hunting and sport shooting activity in Australia in 2018 was estimated to be $2.4 billion, comprising $0.8 billion directly and $1.6 billion as a result of flow-on economic activity.

The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia has welcomed the findings of a national survey into recreational hunting and shooting, which found Australia’s recreational shooters and hunters are happier, healthier and fitter than non-shooters.

SSAA National CEO, Tim Bannister, said the survey shows how important recreational hunting and shooting is in Australia.

“The economic footprint of shooters and hunters in Australia is five times that delivered by the Melbourne Cup each year – that’s a significant financial contribution,” he said. “It can’t be denied that shooting delivers tangible economic and health benefits to Australia.”

The gross contribution does not tell us the benefits of hunting and shooting for the Australian economy, or conversely, the impact on the economy of the (hypothetical) situation where hunting and shooting were prohibited.

If hunting and shooting were prohibited, hunters and shooters would redirect their expenditure to other goods and services, and in many cases to similar outdoor activities such as camping, fishing, four-wheel driving and so on. The ‘net’ contribution to the economy, considering the substitution of expenditure to other activities is estimated to be $335m, or 0.02 per cent of Australia’s GDP.

The states where the highest amount of economic activity occurred were New South Wales and Victoria. These states have relatively large populations of hunters and shooters and also hunters and shooters from other states to travel there to hunt and shoot.

Hunting and shooting provides an opportunity for participants to engage in physical activity and they are more likely to be active than the general population. It also provides pathways to higher well- being for participants through nature connection, self-efficacy, social networks, physical activity and nutrition; again, hunters and shooters have higher levels of wellbeing than the general population.

“The economic benefit is more than five times that delivered by the Melbourne Cup each year and helps fight the monetary cost to Australia of $3.7 billion in poor health and inactivity,” added SSAA president Geoff Jones.

“Now that winter has well and truly passed, the football is over, ‘Bathurst’ has been run and the cricket hasn’t really started, what a great opportunity to head outdoors as a recreational shooter and venture into the countryside, bush or to your local SSAA range.

“I encourage all shooters to continue to play their part in this great sport which is now officially recognised as what all Australians could and should aspire to.”

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