Protecting Wilderness and National Parks

10 square kilometre shooting range deal would be bad for conservation

“Minister Sandra Nori has introduced legislation into Parliament to excise ten square kilometres of pristine bushland from a water supply catchment for the so-called ‘Sydney International Shooting Centre’.  Minister Tourism, Sport and Recreation, Sandra Nori says her proposal is good for nature conservation (ABC Illawarra 3 March 2006) but this is totally wrong”, said Keith Muir director of the Colong Foundation for Wilderness.

“The Environment Protection Authority declared a former shotgun range near Batemans Bay a remediation site (Declaration Number 21029).  Society has banned lead in paint and petrol, and banned use of lead shotgun pellets from waterways.  Yet Minister Nori goes and puts her proposed ‘Sydney International Shooting Centre’ so that it will rain lead onto Sydney’s main water supply catchment and says its good for conservation.  The legislation to excise the Bargo State Conservation Area sets a bad precedent undermining the permanent protection of these reserves and should be withdrawn”, said Mr Muir.

“No shooting facility, even a monster one, could need 10 square kilometres of a conservation reserve, and such schemes are not good for conservation.  If the shooting range location needs such a huge area, even as a buffer, then the proposed site is inappropriate.  Excising and bulldozing bushland in Sydney’s main water catchment to then pollute it with toxic lead is a damaging unnecessary scheme,” Mr Muir said.

“National Parks Wildlife has a policy that requires excision of reserves only as a last resort.  Minister Nori has said nothing about examination of alternative sites or the National Parks’ revocation policy.  The Minister verbals the National Parks knowing full well that public servants must support her legislative land grab,” he said.

“Alternative sites should be investigated that do not require a hole in a conservation reserve and that protects catchment areas from potential lead contamination.  If shooting facilities are to be relocated, then consider placing them into one of the extensive pine forests of the Southern Highlands”, Mr Muir said.

For more information contact: Keith Muir, (02) 9299 7341 (wk) or 9550 3615 (ah)