The NSW Rifle Association is looking forward to a cessation of hostilities after months of what chairman John Fitzgerald described as harassment from the federal Labor government.
Mr Fitzgerald said he was hoping that the recent change of government will mean that the association will be able to stay at the Anzac Rifle Range at Malabar in Sydney’s south without constant notices of breaches of its lease agreements.
“The Commonwealth through the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DOFAD) is still continuing to follow what can only be identified as continued harassment with issuing of remedy notices of alleged breaches of our Licence in claiming we have not maintained our buildings to a standard of safety and compliance,” he said in his message to competitors at the recent Open Championships and Queen’s Prize.
“We do not accept their assertions and continue to challenge their bullying tactics even it if means returning to court once again to defend our rights.”
The Commonwealth had challenged the NSWRA’s right to stay at the range with DOFAD issuing an eviction notice in October 2011 ordering the association off the land. This was in direct breach of an agreement between the Commonwealth and NWSRA that would maintain the land as a rifle range until another suitable site was established for a seamless changeover.
DOFAD’s eviction notice would have effectively booted NSWRA off the range with nowhere to go.
NSWRA took the matter to the Supreme Court where it won a reprieve and the Commonwealth was directed to pay the $420,000 court costs. The Commonwealth also dropped a planned appeal against the decision and instead appears to have taken to harassment of the NSWRA.
“Unfortunately the battle is not over yet,” Mr Fitzgerald continued. “But I am quietly confident that with a change of government resulting from (the Federal) elections, the outlook for an amicable and consultative approach with DOFAD’s new masters can only be considered in our best interests and maybe justice will prevail.”