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Shooters Party newsletter - funding for shooting clubs

by John Tingle MLC
The Shooters Party
Parliament House, Sydney
22 June 2001

The Minister for Sport and Recreation, John Watkins, has announced the latest round of funding for shooting clubs, under the Shooting Facility Development Programme, and the cheques for these amounts are going out now.

Sixteen projects, in all, have been given $517,726 for all sorts of things, such as general upgrading of facilities, safety fencing, turning targets, shooting benches, and so on. There is also money for the preliminary work on re-opening the old Emmaville Rifle Range. This has lain dormant for many years but, the Government agreed to my request to allow the Three Rivers Big Game Hunting Club, based on Inverell, Glen Innes, and surrounding districts to take over the land and re-open the range.

A substantial proportion of the money is earmarked for the Hunter Valley Regional Shooting Complex at Cessnock, but this is from an allocation separate from the Sport and Rec grants.

As you know, the Government also announced a grant of an extra $1million for shooting clubs, in the recent state budget. So there are actually two sources of money involved: the money provided under the Shooting Facility Development Programme; and the one-offs announced occasionally in the budget.

It should be said that one or two anti-gun oriented media persons have grumbled about “so much” money being given to shooting. Let them grumble! I have lobbied the Government very hard for this funding, and I apologise to nobody for getting it.

All the money for shooting clubs is paid out in the name of the Department of Sport and Recreation, which holds the funds. But these days, the Ministerial Advisory Council on Shooting Clubs, which I persuaded the Premier to set up in 1997, has the final analysis of the applications from clubs for funding, and the final recommendations come from the Council. The Council consists of 6 ministers, Rob Boutcher, Secretary of the NSW Shooting Sports Council, and myself. It will also recommend spending of the extra $1million.

Sport and Rec has some $4million to distribute amongst all sporting bodies in the state, and the demand is heavy. Approximately $100,000 is tagged each year for shooting clubs. I’d like it to be more, but we try to place it where it will do the most good. The fact that we’ve managed to persuade the Government to allocate well over $2.5million extra in the last 3 years, in addition to the standard Sport and Rec grants makes up for the shortfall, I believe!

The next round of applications will close in August or September, for money to be paid out next year.

Clubs interested in seeking funding, can contact my office at Parliament House in the first instance. We will arrange for the necessary application forms to be sent out, and then, if the clubs return the completed forms to me, I will attempt to nurse them through the assessment process.

It is in order to send them direct to the local Sport and Rec office, but this is not essential in the first instance. The local office is always asked to comment on applications, but this comes later. I prefer to see them in the first place, so if there are any gaps in the applications we can fix them up before I submit them – and, moreover, if I know they’re going in, I can keep an eye on them.

With the limited funding from Sport and Rec grants, there is a firm policy that money will be provided only to projects that directly allow more people to take part in shooting, or make the shooting more accessible. Things like club houses, roads, water supplies etc are seldom funded, because they are seen as not necessarily advancing the actual shooting activity itself.

If in doubt, ring my office at Parliament House, on 9230 2573, and we can usually advise you on what is likely to be funded and what is not. Mrs Jackie Silsbey, my Researcher, works on MACOSC with me, and knows the ropes.

Most of all, understand that it takes time. A period of twelve months or more may elapse before you receive the cheque. If you have put in an application, please don’t ring us up repeatedly asking how it’s going. These things move very slowly – that’s just how Government is, but with shooting now getting more funding than ever before, we don’t complain too much.

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