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Police Ministers Council opening remarks

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP


SUBJECTS: Police Ministers Council; National Firearms Register; Wieambilla murders.

COMMONWEALTH ATTORNEY-GENERAL MARK DREYFUS: Thanks very much and thank all of you for coming here today. I want to start by remembering the two brave officers who lost their lives in the line of duty at Wieambilla in December, Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow. This tragic incident reminds us of the risks that police officers take every day to protect our community and it's the fact that this extraordinary meeting was prompted, in a sense by that terrible event. Following the events at Wieambilla in Queensland last December our First Ministers showed leadership by meeting immediately, seeking to improve national information sharing arrangements about firearms. National Cabinet has tasked us, the Police Ministers, to report back in mid-2023 with options to implement a National Firearms Register, which is why we're meeting here today. Today's meeting will seek agreement on the purpose and capabilities of a National Firearms Register. That's going to enable the development of more detailed options for National Cabinet to consider in mid-2023. I can say that the Albanese Government is committed to working closely with all jurisdictions on a National Firearms Register which is vital to preserve the safety of the community and of police. We have here an opportunity to make meaningful and lasting change to prevent events like the one we witnessed in Queensland from ever occurring again and I'm very pleased to be joined here today by my fellow Police Ministers. I look forward to working with all of you on this important initiative and I was just going to invite the Queensland Police Minister, Mark Ryan to make a few remarks.

QUEENSLAND MINISTER FOR POLICE AND CORRECTIVE SERVICES MARK RYAN:  Thanks very much, Mark. Hello everyone. Can I firstly thank you all for reaching out to Queensland when we had that very terrible tragedy and Mark, thank you for starting off by remembering Rachel and Matt, two outstanding Australians, two outstanding people, and will be forever remembered by us in Queensland. That day, the 12th of December at Wieambilla, will be forever remembered as one of the darkest days in Queensland and Australian history. It was a day when terror struck, when monsters caused great grief and tragedy on our community. And if there is anything that could ever come positive, out of that monstrous terrible day, to keep the community safer, to make the community slightly safer, then I think that is a good way of remembering Rachel and Matt. And so to all of you, thank you for your leadership and also your commitment to keeping your community safe but also to working together on an important initiative like a National Firearms Register. We fundamentally believe that this will better protect police and better protect our community. So, to all of you, thank you and we look forward to working together on this very important national initiative.