Firearm tourism too hard
Saturday, 20th October, 2018
By Craig Brealey
Inviting shooters onto your station for extra income in the drought might work if you could get a clear shot through the bureaucracy, a couple of West Darling graziers said yesterday.
The ABC’s Landline program recently reported on a cattle farming family in Western Australia which was struggling until they built a 2.7-kilometre rifle range for people to come and shoot high-calibre rifles.
The Aylmore family had to supervise the shoot but the income from the tourists allowed them to redevelop the station, south of Carnarvon, for cattle, Landline reported last weekend.
However, the family said it had taken two years to get government permission to open their rifle range as a tourism business.
In the West Darling the graziers were flat out trying to get through the drought to bother with more bureaucracy, said Lachlan Gall of Langawirra Station, east of Broken Hill
“On a Western Lease you would have to apply for a change of purpose,” said Mr Gall, who is the President of the Pastoralists’ Association of the West Darling.
“That would be an additional complication on top of what approvals would have to be sought,” he said.
“But it’s not outside the realms of possibility.”
Terry Smith, of Scarsdale Station, via the Menindee road, said he was too sick of shooting to want to open a rifle range.
Mr Smith said he was having to destroy dying animals every day and also had to attend shoots with the Menindee Gun Club in order to maintain his firearms licence.
“If you have people turning up at random you would have to have someone on site,” he said.
“At the moment I haven’t got the time to watch a bunch of tourists shooting at tins cans.”
A rifle range wasn’t a bad idea, said Mr Smith, but it would take some work.
“It’s certainly feasible but you would want the right land formation for it,” he said.
“You would have the get the range inspected every three years. All sorts of safety measures would have to be in place. It would be a fairly arduous process.”
Mr Smith said he would also not want to take people away from the established shooting clubs.
“In Broken Hill they have a regular outdoor shoot for the big bore stuff and you wouldn’t want to go into competition with them,” he said.
“But anything that brings in extra cash would be good at the moment.”