SHOOTING clubs could soon access a share of funds to expand or upgrade their facilities, purchase equipment or host events and tournaments.
The Nationals candidate for Ripon, Scott Turner has welcomed a recent announcement by Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan and Minister for Sport Damian Drum that the Victorian Liberal National Coalition Government would establish the $12.5 million Shooting Sports Facilities Program.
Mr Turner said shooting was popular throughout the electorate of Ripon, with a number of strong shooting clubs in Stawell, Ararat, Maryborough and St Arnaud.
"These grants will encourage more people to get more active in an environment that promotes safe and responsible firearms ownership," he said.
"Whether it is the St Arnaud Gun Club, the Maryborough Rifle and Pistol Club, the Ararat Pistol Club or the Stawell Shooting Complex, this fund will improve our local facilities and encourage more Western Victorians to participate in the sport of shooting.
"Western Victoria has produced many high quality shooters, at state, national and international level, with Olympic great Russell Mark starting out in Ballarat.
"Through this investment the Coalition Government is supporting our local clubs to unearth our next Russell Mark."
Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said the funding could be used to purchase land for the expansion of existing facilities or to secure tenure over existing facilities in order to improve the long term viability of the sport locally.
Mr Ryan said it could also be used for capital improvements at existing facilities, or to purchase major equipment to enable a local facility to host major events and increase participation.
"Minor projects will be able to receive up to $100,000 from the fund, with the Coalition Government offering $2 for every $1 put in by the club or another contributor, for example a local council," he said.
"There is no cap on funding invested by the Coalition Government into a major project, but the investment will need to be matched dollar-for-dollar by the club or another contributor."
Minister for Sport Damian Drum said the Shooting Sports Facilities Program would assist shooting clubs and associations to increase participation and help participants from grass roots to the elite level.
"More than 20,000 Victorians participate in competitive shooting events each year and we have a proud history of producing Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic Games medallists, with Russell and Lauryn Mark, Adam Vella and Peter Tait all flying the flag," he said.
Mr Turner said an advisory committee, chaired by Mr David Hawker AO, would be established to assess project applications and provide specialist advice on the sport's specific and strategic needs.
Details of the program will be finalised following the establishment of the advisory committee.