Over the next four days (11-14th June 2012) the future of shooters still using ANZAC Rifle Range, Malabar will be decided in the supreme court.
What is at the centre of the case is the matter of compensation or relocation. In a license agreement signed by the Commonwealth in 2000, there was an undertaking to not close shooting at Malabar for the members of the NSW Rifle Association unless the Commonwealth provided a seamless relocation from Malabar to an alternative suitable facility within Sydney.
Now the Commonwealth wishes to compensate instead, which is contrary to the contract the Commonwealth made with NSWRA. Their rationale is that shooters, who will have nowhere to shoot would accept a fistful of money, with no likelihood of future relocation. It’s no use having money without a venue. It’s another way for Government and anti-gunners to strangle our sport.
In the lead up to this situation, other range users who did not have an ironclad (?) relocation contract were evicted with six months’ notice, as per the conditions of their lease agreements. Those shooting clubs were SSAA Sydney Branch and Drummoyne RSL Pistol Club along with the Malabar Horse Riding School and the Sydney Model Aero Club.
This all comes about because of pressure by a small band of greens known as the “Friends of Malabar Headland” (FOMH) who have fought a very protracted and underhand battle to exclude shooters form a historic military heritage site. This was where generations of servicemen and women trained prior to overseas deployment, while providing a world class fullbore and service shooting range for civilian clubs constituted under the Rifle Club Regulations of the old Defence Act.
FOMH would have it turned into another national park to preserve stands of coastal heath which exist everywhere up and down the Sydney shoreline. Up until now, it has been preserved while shooters have use of the site. Make no mistake, this is an idealogical battle ground in which shooters must prevail, if only to uphold the written promise our political masters made to us, but also to preserve a magnificent example of our defence and rifle shooting heritage as a working rifle range.