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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2366

(Question No. 4556)

Mr McArthur asked the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 8 October 1986:

(1) What consultation has there been between his Department and the Victorian Rifle Association on the issues of (a) compensation and (b) relocation in relation to the sale of the Merrett Rifle Range, Williamstown, Victoria.

(2) If there have been no discussions, when does he envisage they will occur.

(3) Will rifle shooters in Victoria be materially disadvantaged by the Government's proposals, in view of the compensation and rehabilitation proposed.

Mr Beazley —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) The Victorian Rifle Association of Australia has recently placed with my Department a proposal for Commonwealth assistance to relocate its headquarters and range facilities from the Merrett Rifle Range.

(2) The proposal is presently under consideration.

(3) The Victorian Rifle Association has for many years enjoyed a unique benefit in being permitted to have its headquarters on Commonwealth land. The decision to sell the Merrett Rifle Range was not taken lightly or with lack of appreciation of the utilisation of the facility, but it was one of the difficult decisions that the Government had to make in the economic climate in the light of its overall responsibilities.