The Office of the Western Australian Auditor General has tabled its $415,000 report into Firearms Controls, finding significant weaknesses in WA Police’s regulatory controls and oversight of firearms for the fifth time since 2000.
Agricultural Region MLC Rick Mazza of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party said the report found that despite almost $9 million being spent since 2014, the Licencing and Registration (L&R) system does not allow Police to regulate firearms effectively.
“As per the report, staff have expressed a lack of confidence in the L&R system and prefer to use their own spreadsheets to manage licence applications, deceased estate firearms and inspections, which increases the risk of errors being made,” Mr Mazza said.
The Auditor General found it can take weeks to receive a report from the L&R system and even then the information received may not be accurate.
The system is also vulnerable to malicious access and changes to stored information. There is logging of access to the L&R application, however the log is not monitored, meaning Police may fail to detect unauthorised access.
“The report said a desktop review of the project management to establish the L&R system found the way it was developed and implemented likely contributed to the existing deficiencies, which proves the system was flawed from the start,” Mr Mazza said.
“The massive increase in application fees in recent years, imposed on WA firearm applicants, should translate to a modern platform including a single smartcard license, department portal applications, shorter processing times, consistent processing and record keeping and reduced cost recovery charges.
“Unfortunately, more investment in another IT upgrade to better serve the community is required.
“Many of the report’s findings have been raised as matters of concern in Parliament by me during the past five years.”
To read the Firearm Controls report visit: https://audit.wa.gov.au/wpcontent/uploads/2019/05/Firearm-Controls.pdf