'We will celebrate when we get a bulldozer on the ground'
GYMPIE MP Tony Perrett has dangled a juicy election carrot for the region's shooters, pledging a $150,000 funding injection to get the Curra State Forest shooting facility up and running after 25 years of hurdles and red tape.
Shadow Minister for Environment and National Parks, Dr Christian Rowan, made the announcement, with Mr Perrett in Gympie yesterday.
MR Perrett said the LNP would grant a lease of the land in the Curra State Forest and provide cash needed to build the state of the art facility.
If completed, the range would be a draw card for multi-disciplined shooters Australia wide.
"A lease to the Gympie Regional Council in favour of the shooting facility will be expedited within the first 12 months of an LNP government,” Dr Rowan said.
"We will also provide a $150,000 grant to the Cooloola Range Complex Association Inc to progress the home for the facility.
"We are putting the money on the table because it is time to get this up and going.”
Member for Gympie Tony Perrett, said the Gympie Regional Council was the principal proponent of the facility and had made the application to the State Government on behalf of the Cooloola Range Complex Association.
"This has been frustrating for all involved including legitimate shooters, and the residents of Gympie who look forward to the shooting activities being moved to the Curra site,” Mr Perrett said.
Gympie Firearms advocate and president of the Firearm Owners Association of Australia, Ron Owen shares Mr Perrett's frustration, but is remaining sceptical of the LNP's ability to deliver.
"The only problem is that we have had these (promises) before,” Mr Owen said.
"The thing is we don't think it will happen if they don't get elected.
"Most of the shooters will not vote for them (LNP) anyway.
"If the LNP do get elected we will be there with bells on to make sure they produce from their promise, but as I said it hasn't happened in the past.
"We have had paper commitments before and we have had agreements in principle before.
"We will only really celebrate when we get a bulldozer on the ground,” Mr Owen said.
Mr Perrett said delivery of the range was an election commitment.
"We need to deliver it, and we will deliver it,” Mr Perrett said.
"I have crossed the floor on the issue with respect to law-abiding weapons licence holders less than a month ago because I understand the importance of it.
"That's why I also encouraged the LNP to commit dollars to the process,” Mr Perrett said.