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Thursday, 21 June 1906

Mr HENRY WILLIS (Robertson) . - I wish to direct the attention of the Minister representing the Minister of Defence to the difficulty which is experienced in obtaining rifle ranges in my electorate. I can get no satisfaction out of the Department.

Mr Ewing - Will the honorable member send! me a note upon the subject?

Mr HENRY WILLIS - It is of no use writing to the Department.

Mr Ewing - Then write to me.

Mr HENRY WILLIS - It is of no use writing to the Minister. It is about time that Parliament paid some attention to the wants of rifle clubs. In various places there are men who desire to band themselves together as members of rifle clubs, in order to practice rifle shooting, but no effort is made to provide them with a range. In two or three places in my electorate the riflemen cannot obtain a range, because the Department will do nothing in the matter. An inspector was sent round the country, and sites were pointed out to him, but nothing further was done. I should like to read a letter which bears on the subject. It reads as follows : -

I am directed to inform you that in all cases where it is desired to form rifle clubs, and no' rifle range exists in the neighbourhood, it is necessary for the persons who wish to form the club to make all the requisite arrangements for the range, and then, if the site is approved of, a grant of ^20 will be made.

In the case to which I refer, at Rylstone, the riflemen are unable to make any arrangement for a range, because the land will first have to be purchased. If it is desired to encourage rifle clubs, and to train riflemen, some effort should be made to provide ranges.

Mr Deakin - Hear, hear.

Mr HENRY WILLIS - If the Prime Minister will endeavour to see that these men are provided with a range, I shall be satisfied. I might refer to two or three other cases which are not quite so bad as the one I have mentioned. A rifle range is also required at Hill End.

Sir John Forrest - What would be the cost of providing a rifle range?

Mr HENRY WILLIS - I do not think that any money would be required if some energy were used by the Department. If they sent an officer to the district they might be able to procure the land for nothing, whereas the local residents would have to pav for it.

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