Rob Nioa, the managing director of Brisbane-based firearms dealer, NIOA, hopes that being named as a Queensland finalist in the medium business section of the Telstra Business Awards will help his business be seen as part of the mainstream business world.
NIOA, best known as the company that imported a pair of seven-shot Adler shotguns in 2015 for testing at its Brisbane facility, putting it at the centre of Australia’s confrontational firearms debate, is our biggest importer of firearms.
The company began in regional Queensland in 1973 when Bill Nioa was frustrated by the service he received as a competitive clay target shooter and hunter, sending him to explore the possibility of establishing his own ammunition distribution business.
The NIOA firearms outfit has now grown into the country's largest privately owned supplier of arms, ammunition and associated accessories, supplying customers across the military, law enforcement and sporting sectors.
Managing director, Rob Nioa, said it was an extreme honour to have been named.
“We're proud of the active ways in which we make our country safer and better everyday,” he said.
“We’ve always maintained that we provide an essential service.
“Guns are tools of the trade for our customers – they stop the spread of disease, and help with crop and livestock protection – but that’s just not widely accepted.
“Commentators tend to get confused and not look at the practical side of what we do.”
Rob described the Adler as a terrific firearm for feral pest destruction, but because of the huge amount of debate about whether it should hold five or seven shots, a rational discussion about firearm use wasn’t possible.
“Our products are on the front line in the fight to protect our farmers' crops and to humanely destroy feral pests that are damaging our nation's native flora and fauna including near extinct animals such as the Julia Creek Dunnart.
“We enable and inspire our next generation of Commonwealth and Olympic Game hopefuls every time they go to the shooting range.
“Front line police officers, tactical teams, terrorist response units and border protection personnel go to work everyday trusting in the products and services we supply to help them protect the Australian community and safely return to their families at night.”
The government side is 50 per cent of the business of the organisation and Rob expects that to double in the next two years, driven by long-term contracts being negotiated now.
“There are other active tenders for ammunition and weapons for our armed vehicles,” Rob said.
The Queensland winners will be announced at a gala dinner in Brisbane this Friday.