In May 1996, the Australasian Police Ministers’ Council (APMC) agreed to a number of resolutions in order to bring about uniform, national firearms laws and training. It was agreed that all jurisdictions would require first time licence applicants to complete an accredited course in firearms safety training. The accreditation was to be by an appropriate authority and there was also to be a system of accredited trainers to bring prospective licensees to the required standard. The course was to focus on firearms law, firearms safety and firearms competency.
In December 1996, the Queensland Police Service accredited the Weapons Act Safety Course. In January 1997, the Weapons Act 1990 (the Act) was amended to make completion of ‘a course approved by the Commissioner of Police’ a requirement for firearms licensing in Queensland. The Commissioner approved the Weapons Act Safety Course as the course approved under the Act for weapons licensing in Queensland.
Subsequently, further national discussions led to the development of Minimum National Standards for Firearms Safety Training in Australian States and Territories. These standards were endorsed by the APMC in December 2000 and provided the basis for the development of the course: 30195QLD Course in Firearms Safety (approved for firearms licensing in Queensland). The development of 30195QLD in 2001, conformed to all requirements for developing and documenting vocational education and training (VET) courses leading to an Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Statement of Attainment.
The course development committee that was convened in 2001 to provide input into the development of 30195QLD. The committee comprised representatives from Registered Training Organisations (RTO) approved to deliver the former Weapons Act Safety Course. It has continued to meet each six months to review implementation issues associated with the course.
In June 2005, the Act and subordinate weapons legislation were amended principally to include crossbows as Category M weapons and to streamline some licensing procedures. In response to these changes, the committee’s membership was expanded to include representatives of relevant crossbow agencies and associations.
Information from this committee has been considered in this revision of the course. In February 2007 due to the requirements of accredited course registration renewal the course was amended and registered as 30989QLD Course in Firearms Safety (approved for firearms licensing in Queensland).
Input has also been sought from Weapons Licensing. Officers monitor:
- changes to relevant legislation
- reports arising from incidents involving firearms and other specified weapons
- coroners’ reports where firearms and other specified weapons have been involved.
At the National level, the working party overseeing firearms safety training for licensing purposes has monitored course development and implementation across all jurisdictions. In 2004, an outcome of this monitoring was the development of revised Minimum National Standards for Firearms Safety Training in Australian States and Territories that detail the minimum framework for all State and Territory firearms safety training for licence applicants. These revised standards were endorsed by the Queensland Minister for Police and Corrective Services in March 2005 and have been addressed in this revision of the course.
As part of their licence application, all persons seeking Weapons Act licences in Queensland are required to provide evidence of having successfully completed this course at a RTO approved by the Queensland Commissioner of Police.
On the commencement of the Weapons Act 1990, persons seeking to obtain a Security Licence (Guard) were required to undertake and successfully complete a course of training in the safe handling and use of weapons as may be prescribed. The course was to focus on firearms law, firearms safety and firearms competency.
In May 1997 the Queensland Police Service had accredited a short course, the Weapons Act Security Guard Licensing Course. The Commissioner approved the Weapons Act Security Guard Licensing Course as the course approved under the Act for security industry weapons licensing in Queensland. This short course was subject to review and amendment on 24 November 1998.
During 1997 and 1998 Property Services Training Australian (PSTA) developed the National Training Package for Asset Security (PRS98), which was endorsed by the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) in December 1998. The package was modified in 2002 with the addition of units relating to firearms and defensive tactics.
Effective from 1 July 2003, Units of competence from the PRS98 package, assessed against the non-endorsed approved formal assessment instruments, were approved by the Commissioner as the training course for the purposes of section 10A(2)(a) and 124 of the Act, for security guard licensing.
PSTA redeveloped the PRS98 package subsequently introducing the Asset Security Training Package (PRS03) in its place. PRS03 has been endorsed by ANTA. The implementation phase of the transition from the PRS98 to the PRS03 commenced in July 2003.
Consultation with industry has resulted in support for the adoption of the competency standards contained in the PRS98 and PRS03 as the mandatory (minimum) requirement for licensing purposes. It was identified during the consultation that there is a continuing need for a standard set of assessment instruments to be used. These assessment instruments have been approved as non-endorsed ‘formal assessment instruments’ and are to be utilised for licensing purposes in Queensland.
The assessment instruments that are available as Support Materials for the Use of Firearms & Defensive Tactics - PRS98 can be located in the PRS98 training package. A mapping exercise was conducted identifying the equivalent units of competence in both the PRS98 and the PRS03 training packages and deficiencies within the current assessment materials. These deficiencies will be addressed in the near future.
On 22 March 2004 the Commissioner approved the amended training requirements for the issue of a ‘security licence (guard)’ under sections 10A(2)(a) and 124 of the Act. The amended training requirements were effective from 1 February 2004 to coincide with changes to the Security Providers Act Training requirements.
During 2006 and 2007 the PRS03 Asset Security Training Package was reviewed and incorporated in the CPP07 Property Services Training Package released in May 2007. The Construction and Property Services Industry Training Skills Council developed a series of non-endorsed Formal Assessment Tools in consultation with representatives of the security industry and licensing authorities from each jurisdiction including the Weapons Licensing Branch (QPS).
On 15 June 2009 the Commissioner approved the specific units of competence from CPP07 Property Services Training Package in 2007 as the requirements for the issue of a 'security licence (guard)' under sections 10A(2)(a) and 124 of the Act.