Originally published in the Sunday Telegraph
Sporting shooters will get a "world-class" rifle facility in Western Sydney after reaching a historic deal with the federal government to close the Anzac Rifle Range at Malabar.
Moving the NSW Rifle Association's headquarters to the Sydney International Shooting Centre will involve an estimated $15 million upgrade of the existing Cecil Park facility. The agreement will also free up 177ha of coastal green space in Sydney's south, owned by the state and federal governments and worth an estimated $3 billion.
Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm, who struck the agreement with Finance Minister Mathias Cormann on October 15, said the move would allow Western Sydney to host international shooting tournaments.
"There are 60,000 sports shooters in Sydney. They have been threatened for years that they would be evicted from Malabar," he said.
Former Labor minister Peter Garrett tried and failed to evict the shooters and establish a national park in 2012.
Randwick Council has also supported moves to keep it as green space to complete the coastal walkway from South Head to Botany Bay.