Curran to press for shooting range
GYMPIE region Mayor Mick Curran says he will do his best to remove the invisible handbrake which has held up the Corella shooting range sports tourism project.
"We have State Government agreement in principle until November," he said.
The agreement he refers to is for access to Curra State Forest land north of Gympie.
State and council representatives all say they support the project, but for more than 20 years, nothing has actually happened.
The cause of the hold-up seems to be almost impossible to identify, let alone resolve.
While governments at various levels spend up big on the $16.5 million Belmont shooting venue upgrade in Brisbane, for the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the Forestry Department is now demanding a five-for-one land swap for a facility near Gympie.
"We will obviously negotiate to have that condition waived on the historical fact that shooting ranges have previously been taken back by the state, including near Gympie North rail station."
It is hard to find nice words for the shifty way governments at various levels appear to have treated Gympie region sporting shooters, as they battle to give Wide Bay an international sports tourism asset potentially worth millions of dollars a year.
Over 24 years they have been promised land and support for a world-standard multi-discipline shooting range, which they would develop at no public cost, only to have the rules changed again and again.
In the latest "now you see it, now you don't" episode, Environment Minister Steve Miles appears to have reneged on the "Agreement in Principle" achieved under the Newman Government, now claiming the Curra forestry land will only be available with a five-to-one land swap or equivalent, an impossible condition.
Cooloola Range Complex Association president Ron Owen has asked Mr Miles why the condition was introduced and on what basis it is claimed there are "concerns" among established gun clubs, even though almost all of them are involved.
Notably, departmental objections specifically back the rival land use claims of mountain-bike riders, who appear to enjoy favoured status, despite already have plenty of public land access.