The hours for centrefire rifle use at the Cobaw Range situated at Lancefield have been extended thanks to a common sense ruling by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
SSAA Victoria lodged an application two years ago to have the range hours for centrefire rifles extended from noon to 2pm out to 9am to 5pm (6pm during daylight savings) to match the current permitted rimfire and shotgun hours.
The Macedon Ranges Shire Council approved the application late last year, but an appeal was lodged with VCAT which then upheld council’s decision.
The range is managed by the Kyneton Branch and its President Andrew Marcianiak said the VCAT decision was a good result for all hunters and shooters in the Kyneton area.
“It’s great news for the people who live here and want to make more use of the fantastic facility we have,” he said.
“It’s also a win for common sense. Having centrefire rifles only able to shoot for a couple of hours each day was very restrictive for people wanting to test ammunition or sight in their rifles for hunting, so this now opens the range up for everyone.”
While the ruling allows for the extended time, the Kyneton Branch will open the range to centrefire rifles on its regular hours of 10am to 4pm on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.
SSAA Victoria Facilities Manager Shaun Doyle said the extended hours reflected the growing interest in the branch’s activities.
“It was unfortunate that it took two years from our first application to have the range hours extended, thanks to the council application process and a subsequent appeal against council’s decision.
“But we were prepared for that eventuality having gone through it since we applied for a gun range to be built at the current site.”
The first application for a gun range at the Croziers Track site in the Cobaw State Forest was lodged in 2003 but was rejected by the Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
A subsequent VCAT hearing overturned the decision with the condition that centrefire use would be restricted to a two-hour period on each day of the range opening after the appropriate baffling to meet Victorian Police certification requirements was installed.
In 2013 the range was open to rimfire shooting, then baffling works were completed and approved in 2016.
“The growing interest in centrefire shooting at the range, including the opportunity to hold competitions there, prompted us to revisit the centrefire restrictions,” Shaun said.
“We weren’t surprised by the opposition to it, but we were able to obtain acoustic and environmental reports which showed minimal impact would be caused.
“Happily common sense prevailed and the Kyneton Branch can now offer an extended service to members and the public.”
In his ruling on the matter, VCAT member Michael Deidun said, “shooting ranges are a legitimate form of recreation and that the planning system should provide for their continued presence and operation in this State.
“The review site provides a near ideal location for such a shooting range, given that it is a significantly sized parcel of land, of which the actual shooting range takes up a very small proportion, and is surrounded on all sides by State forest.”