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Forestry Department holds up long-promised shooting facility

GYMPIE'S long promised regional shooting sports facility is being delayed by Forestry Department resistance, despite support at state Cabinet level.

Documents obtained by The Gympie Times reveal Forestry Department concerns about the loss of accessible timber areas, identified for the shooting facility.

The department, headed by Forestry Minister John McVeigh, is shown in the documents to be at odds with the views of Recreation Minister Steve Dickson.

The shooting range facility, a potentially major sporting tourism drawcard, has been planned for Corella, at the Gympie end of the Curra State Forest for about 15 years.

But nothing has happened.

It is understood the facility, which would provide central facilities for all the shooting sports in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, would also be a major tourist drawcard for sports shooting enthusiasts from all over Australia and even the world.

However, it is understood Forestry Department officials are concerned at the possible loss of the productive and accessible timber resource in the area proposed for the range and has offered, in the alternative, an inaccessible area described by Gympie Region councillors and shooting sportspeople as totally unsuitable.

The area has terrain which Gympie infrastructure councillor Larry Friske has described as "vertical."

"We're holding out for the southern area," social wellbeing councillor Rae Gate said.

Gympie shooting advocate Ron Owen yesterday expressed frustration at delays in a project which everyone claims to have agreed to, but which no one ever seems able to make happen.

"Everyone wants it to happen and it's been on the go for a very long time," MP David Gibson said at a meeting with Mr Dickson, Mr Owen and Mayor Ron Dyne.

"I'm comfortable with it. I wanted it 'yesterday'," Mr Dickson told the meeting.

Gympie Times

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