July 21st, 2012

Australian Shooters Win Lawsuit to Preserve Famed ANZAC Range

Malabar Headland NSW ANZAC Range NSWRAScore one for Australian shooters. After a lengthy legal battle, the New South Wales Rifle Association (NSWRA) has preserved its rights to use the historic ANZAC Range on the outskirts of Sydney.

Last week, the New South Wales Supreme Court ruled that the Commonwealth Government could not shut down NSWRA shooting operations at ANZAC Range (and sell the 100-hectare Range site) because the Commonwealth had not provided a suitable alternative facility. The Court held that, under the terms of a 2000 License Agreement, NSWRA could not be evicted from the ANZAC Range until such time as a suitable new range was provided for use by the NSWRA and affiliated shooting clubs.

The ANZAC Range, the largest rifle range in the southern hemisphere, is located on the Malabar Headland, south of Sydney. The ANZAC Range has been a revered venue for Australian marksmen for more than a century and a half. It is headquarters to the New South Wales Rifle Association (NSWRA), and hosts the annual NSW Queen’s Prize. The range is shared among various shooting associations and clubs with the Sporting Shooters Association of Australia (SSAA) occupying the “southern” end of the complex. The range is also extensively used by clubs affiliated with the SSAA and NSWRA. The ANZAC range is steeped in history. It has been used for recreational shooting since the 1860s. The term “ANZAC” comes from the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. The early Australian Defense Corps trained at the Malabar Range, and Allied troops trained there during World War II.

Malabar Headland NSW ANZAC Range NSWRA

In recent decades, the New South Wales Rifle Association has been embroiled in a court case against the Commonwealth Government over the Malabar Headland, the land on which the ANZAC Rifle Range is located. In July 1986 the Commonwealth Government resolved to sell the ANZAC Rifle Range. Since that time the NSW Rifle Association and the dozens of gun clubs that regularly use the ANZAC Rifle Range have been facing closure. There were a series of eviction notices and legal proceedings, culminating in a year 2000 License Agreement under which the NSWRA was allowed ongoing use of the ANZAC Rifle Range at Malabar until an alternative site became available. There were plans to open a new public range for the NSWRA at the Holsworthy Army Base. However, those plans were scrapped and the Commonwealth never acquired and built a new facility. (Under the terms of the License Agreement, the Commonwealth was to give the NSWRA part of the Holsworthy Barracks and $9 million to help it relocate there.)

Malabar Headland NSW ANZAC Range NSWRACommonwealth officials assert the ANZAC Range would be converted to a National Park once shooting activities were terminated. The Range property would be deeded to the NSW State Government for Park use.

Though there were a number of lesser issues involved in the ANZAC Range litigation (including asbestos abatement and structure maintenance), the NSW Supreme Court’s decision turned on the failure of the Commonwealth to provide an alternative facility: “The Commonwealth has not given a Relocation Notice. Apparently it was decided that it was not appropriate that the Holsworthy Army Base be made available to provide a range for private shooting clubs. Although other potential rifle ranges have been identified, so far as appears, no steps have been taken, other than the carrying out of studies, to relocate the ANZAC Rifle Range.”

Under the terms of the Court’s ruling, the NSWRA can continue to use the ANZAC Range (but not necessarily forever). The Supreme Court’s ruling specifically blocks the Commonwealth from evicting the NSWRA from the ANZAC Range… for now. And likewise the Commonwealth is enjoined from selling or transferring the range property on the Malabar Headland. A range closure is still possible in the years ahead, but the Commonwealth must first provide a suitable replacement range complex.

Aussie Shooters Celebrate Legal Victory
Australian shooters are hailing this court decision as a major victory. The editor of Shooting.com.au, a leading Australian shooting sports website, tells us: “The NSWRA has won its case against the Government, thereby establishing [an important] precedent for shooters in Australia. Where previously we were trod upon without care, we now have a strong precedent with which to challenge, and hopefully prevail over, future legislative changes and government actions. It’s been a long time since Australian shooters had anything to celebrate about.” For more information, visit www.saveanzacrange.com.

READ the NSW Supreme Court Ruling
CLICK HERE for Transcript of New South Wales Supreme Court Judgment and Order in NSW Rifle Association Inc. v. The Commonwealth of Australia.

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April 4th, 2011

Olympic Quotas Earned and Team USA Strikes Gold in Sydney

The 2011 ISSF Combined World Cup shooting competitions were held in Sydney, Australia on March 21-31. In Sydney, the world’s top shooters vied for coveted Olympic “Quotas” that would secure eligibility to compete at the 2012 London Olympic Games. 34 Olympic Quotas were awarded during the course of the 15 ISSF pistol, rifle and shotgun events in Sydney. Lead by its shotgunners, Team USA performed superbly in Australia, finishing with 8 total medals, including 3 Golds, more than any other country. China finished second in the medal count.

American Medal Winners:
Gold: Jamie Beyerle (Lebanon, PA), Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position
Gold: Kim Rhode (El Monte, CA), Women’s Skeet
Gold: Jon Michael McGrath (Tulsa, OK), Men’s Skeet
Silver: Matt Emmons (Browns Mills, NJ), Men’s 50m Rifle Three Position
Silver: Amy Sowash (Richmond, KY), Women’s 50m Rifle Three Position
Silver: SFC Eric Uptagrafft (Phenix City, AL), Men’s 50m Rifle Prone
Silver: Staff Sergeant Joshua Richmond (Hillsgrove, PA), Men’s Double Trap
Silver: Caitlin Connor (Winnfield, LA), Women’s Skeet

John McGrathYoung Americans Win Gold
The United States fielded one of the youngest teams in Australia. But the young shooters more than held their own. Team USA rifle shooter Jamie Beyerle dominated the Women’s 50m three-position event, to win Gold with a total of 685.3 points. Beyerle’s fellow American Amy Sowash finished second. Beyerle shot great in windy conditions that bothered many of her rivals. You can watch Jamie shoot in the first video linked below.

Another gold-medal performance was turned in by 18-year-old skeet shooter John McGrath, the current ISSF Junior World Champion. McGrath qualified for the Men’s Skeet Final by hitting 124 of 125 targets, and then “cleaned” all his 25 Final targets. In an exciting finish, McGrath took the Skeet Gold Medal by beating 2007 World Champion Georgios Achilleos of Cyprus in a shoot-off.

Highlights of the 2011 ISSF Shooting World are now available on the ISSF’s YouTube Channel. Linked below are videos of the Women’s 50m 3-Position Highlights and Men’s Prone 50m Air Rifle event. You can also visit www.ISSF-Shooting.org for the complete tournament results, interviews with shooters, and the latest international shooting news.

Women’s 50m 3-Position (Featuring Jamie Beyerle)
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Men’s 50m Prone
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Thanks to JoeF for sourcing this story.
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