THE long-awaited Corella shooting range took a long-awaited step forward yesterday after Gympie MP David Gibson called for clarity on the issue.
In a significant breakthrough, acting mayor Tony Perrett said the council had appointed the consulting organisation which would start the process of establishing the facility.
It would carry out the land use study insisted on by National Parks Minister Steve Dickson as a condition of land being made available for the project.
The consultant would meet with the council tomorrow and start work "immediately," Cr Perrett said.
After years of delays, he said he could understand the frustrations of sporting shooters, especially under previous Labor governments.
But he said the council had processes it had to go through to meet Newman Government conditions.
He said Mr Dickson had insisted the council take into account the concerns of forestry officials about access to timber resources in the area and the concerns of the Cooloola Trail Care Association, which also wants to use the area for recreational trail walking and riding.
Mr Gibson this week called for Gympie Regional Council to "come clean" and state its position on the proposed Cooloola Range Complex.
He said the council claimed to support the shooting range but had recently released a draft Tracks and Trails plan, which appeared to support the alternative and conflicting uses desired by the Trail Care group.
But Cr Perrett denied the council was hedging its bets.
"These are what the Minister requires and that's in black and white," he said.
He said native title concerns would also have to be considered.
"We want to put all that together as quickly as we can," he said.
"I recognise the economic importance of getting this matter finalised because no doubt facilities such as this will have a positive economic impact on the region," Cr Perrett said.
Mr Gibson said Gympie region desperately needed the economic benefits a shooting range would bring to the area. Trail opportunities existed in many other parts of the region, he said.