Message from the Chief Commissioner

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Information regarding firearm licence holders overcharged licensing fees

Release date: Mon 3 April 2017

Last updated: Mon 3 April 2017

An internal review conducted by the Licensing and Regulation Division (LRD) has identified an error in the application of firearm licence fees for licence holders who hold a Category A or Category A/B licence at the same time as a Category C longarm licence.
The error has occurred since as early as 1997 and resulted in the overcharging and undercharging of licence holders with this combination of licences.

Under the Firearms Act 1996 and Firearms Regulations 2008 licence fees for new and renewal applications can be waived or discounted in a number of circumstances including when licences are issued for primary production reasons, or when a Category A, A/B or C licence holder is applying for a second licence in these categories.

Victoria Police will be engaging the services of an independent forensic accountant to examine the records of affected licence holders to identify who has been undercharged, who has been overcharged and what refunds affected licence holders may be entitled to.

LRD will be writing to all licence holders (current and former) who we believe may have been impacted by this error. If you have not received this letter by mid-April, it is unlikely that this issue has affected you.

As more information becomes available, we will update this webpage. 

  1. Why has this happened?
  2. Have LRD been overcharging all licence holders?
  3. I only hold a Category A or A/B licence or I hold a Category A or A/B licence with another licence. Will I be affected?
  4. I only hold a Category C licence or I hold a Category C licence with another licence. Will I be affected?
  5. How will I know if I have been affected?
  6. When will LRD be contacting affected licence holders?
  7. How/when will I know if I have been overcharged or undercharged?
  8. How much/when will I be reimbursed?
  9. Will people who are no longer licence holders be entitled to reimbursement?
  10. Will LRD be seeking retrospective payment from licence holders who have been undercharged?
  11. I believe that I have been overcharged but I have not been contacted by LRD, what can I do?
  12. Can I call LRD to check if I have been overcharged or undercharged?
  13. How do I contact LRD to discuss this issue?
  14. Will LRD continue to issue automatically generated payment notices?
  15. I would like to make a formal complaint. Who should I direct my complaint too?

 

  1. Why has this happened?
    This is a human error. The fee structures and fee waivers set out in the Firearms Act 1996 and Firearms Regulations 2008 are very complex and we have made an error in interpreting these structures.

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  1. Have LRD been overcharging all licence holders?
    No. Only licence holders who hold a Category A or Category A/B at the same time as a Category C licences have the potential to be affected.

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  1. I only hold a Category A or A/B licence or I hold a Category A or A/B licence with another licence. Will I be affected?
    No. If you only hold a Category A or A/B licence, or you hold a Category A or A/B licence at the same time as any other category of firearm licence that is not a Category C licence you will not be affected.

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  1. I only hold a Category C licence or I hold a Category C licence with another licence. Will I be affected?
    No. If you only hold a Category C licence, or you hold a Category C licence at the same time as any other category of firearm licence that is not a Category A or A/B licence you will not be affected.

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  1. How will I know if I have been affected?
    LRD will be sending letters to all licence holders we believe have been affected by this shortly. This will include licence holders who have been overcharged and those who have been undercharged.  If you do not receive a letter by mid-April, it is unlikely this error has affected you.

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  1. When will LRD be contacting affected licence holders?
    LRD will be sending letters to all licence holders we believe have been affected by this error shortly. If you do not receive a letter by mid-April, it is unlikely this error has affected you.  Following the forensic accountant's investigation, LRD will contact affected licence holders with the findings. We are unable to estimate when this will be.

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  1. How/when will I know if I have been overcharged or undercharged?
    An independent forensic accountant will examine the records of affected licence holders to identify who has been undercharged, who has been overcharged and what refunds affected licence holders may be entitled to. Following the forensic accountant's investigation, LRD will contact affected licence holders with the findings. We are unable to estimate when this will be.

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  1. How much/when will I be reimbursed?
    Reimbursement amounts will vary for each licence holder and will be calculated by the appointed forensic accountant.  LRD will contact affected licence holders after the appointed forensic accountant has examined our records. We are currently unable to estimate when this will be.

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  1. Will people who are no longer licence holders be entitled to reimbursement?
    Yes. All licence holders who have been overcharged will be entitled to reimbursement.
    If we identify a person is no longer the holder of a current Victorian firearm licence LRD will attempt to contact them using the last listed postal address we have on record.

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  1. Will LRD ask me to back pay licence fees?
    No, we will not, however, in future you will be issued a payment notice and need to pay the correct fee for your licence.

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  1. I believe that I have been overcharged but I have not been contacted by LRD, what can I do?
    LRD will be sending letters to all licence holders we believe have been affected by this error shortly. If you do not receive a letter by mid-April, it is unlikely this error will affect you.  If you have not received a letter from LRD but you think that you have been affected you are able to contact us in writing via post or email: lrdcommunications-mgr@police.vic.gov.au

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  1. Can I call LRD to check if I have been overcharged or undercharged?
    We will not be able to identify if affected licence holders have been overcharged or undercharged until the appointed forensic accountant has completed an examination of our records.  Following the examination, LRD will contact affected licence holders with the accountant's findings. We are unable to estimate when this will be.

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  1. I believe I may have been impacted, however, I have not received a letter from LRD.
    If you believe you have been affected by this error but have not received a letter from LRD by mid-April please contact us in writing via post or email: lrdcommunications-mgr@police.vic.gov.au  You can also call LRD on 1300 651 645, however, if you have not received a letter from us we will not be able to check if you have been impacted, or confirm any details until a forensic accountant has examined our records.

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  1. Will LRD continue to issue automatically generated payment notices?
    Yes. This error occurred because of human interpretation not a system error. Changes to the Licensing and Registration System will be made following the investigation of the appointed forensic accountant to ensure all fees and fee waivers are being applied appropriately.

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  1. I would like to make a formal complaint. Who should I direct my complaint too?
    Formal complaints can be made to Victoria Police by using the online Compliment and Complaint tool on the Victoria Police website. Please click here for more information.  Alternatively, you may wish to contact the Victorian Ombudsman. For more information about the Victorian Ombudsman please visit www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au

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