G'day fellas. This is my first post on the F.L. forums. Thought I might throw a bit more light on the situation here on the west side of Oz.
The rules are pretty much the same as in eastern states but they are handled a little differently. To obtain any firearm in West Australia you have to either be a member of a rifle/gun club or produce a letter from the owner of a suitable property on which you wish to shoot- unless you are in a club, inwhich case you can't use the darn thing anywhere else without that letter!
Obviously, the property must be of a suitable size for your chosen firearm. Just to make life nice and sweet, you have to produce a new letter every time you wish to add any B-class firearm to your collection. The police these days can quickly check the extent and some details of the property via Google Earth and a phone call to the owner.
If you say you want to hunt, say, foxes on the property and you apply for the likes of a .338 WM you'll pretty much be laughed out of the cop shop!
Things do get a bit easier if you've owned firearms for a large part of a longish life and kept your nose clean (like me - well more or less). But newbies are put through the grinder a bit if they want to go to centrefire first up. There doesn't seem to be a course to sit here. You get given a book to go home and study and sit the test a while later.
A review of the Firearms Act last year in West oz proposed among other things to have hunters renew their letters of approval every 5 years. That threw a bucket of gas on the fire among shooters...and the police as it turned out, when they realised how much extra work that lot would entail. Don't know for sure if it'll come about but looks like we might not be inflicted with that one.
There have been efforts by some to restrict shooters to the property specified but in W.Oz it hasn't happened...yet!
I believe there is something of a dilemma of outlooks amidst the halls of power in Oz. The problem is that although we have always suffered from the Powers' old Brit attitude of paranoia against the citizenry about firearms, especially in W.A. (toughest laws for years until the move to nationwide standardisation), the country has a huge and ever-growing problem of introduced feral animals.
Almost all of our hunting species are feral. Only kangaroos and emus are in some circumstances allowed to be culled where they have bred up in rural districts to unmanageable numbers. In both cases, a permit is required to cull those native species in the West.
I know there has been a hue and cry about us Aussies knocking off our 'iconic' native species from some in the States. But you have to spend time here to understand just how out of control those critters' numbers can go quick time.
To make a long story a bit shorter, we have rabbits, foxes, pigs, camels, wild dogs (not including dingoes here!), deer (mainly in the eastern states), and Asiatic water buffalo to choose from, all trying darn hard to swamp farmers and other humans out of this wide brown land.
Unfortunately, the fairly widespread negative attitude to hunting just makes the problem that much bigger.