THE condition and accessibility of the headquarters of the Victorian Rifle Association at Wellsford will be improved with upgrades worth nearly $550,000.
The association has been granted $439,000 under a state government funding program dedicated to shooting sports, to which it is adding $110,000 of its own money to undertake the improvements.
Treasurer Ken Reither said the upgrades would include the construction of disabled toilet facilities about halfway along the range and improved access to existing toilet facilities.
The rifle range’s pavilion will be fitted out with a kitchen to cater for events, there will better equipment storage spaces and there will be facilities for shooters to calibrate the scopes and sights of their rifles.
Mr Reither said the range’s powder storage facilities would also be enlarged, which would mean the association would be able to order larger quantities of powder and guarantee more regular deliveries.
He said the upgrades would put the range in a better position to not only attract new events, but “better facilitate the events were already have”.
The range hosts state championship events and the shooting events of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games were held there.
Mr Reither said such events attracted hundreds of competitors and spectators who put money into the local economy, and the improvements themselves would be a boon, with most of the money going into the works to be spent locally.
It also acts as a firearms training facility for other organisations, such as Victoria Police and Parks Victoria.
Mr Reither said it was also hoped the improvements would encourage more people to use the range.
As well as being the headquarters of the VRA, the range is home to four local clubs and shooting occurs there about four days a week.
The sport was accessible to people of all ages, he said, and was friendly to many people with a disability.
“It’s one of the few sports where essentially all family members can compete,” Mr Reither said.
“A lot of families are in our sport.”
The association plans to complete the work within the next two years.
Much of the planning work that has already been done has been driven by members of the volunteer-run organisation, which has been in existence since 1860.
The club is one of three across the state sharing in $1.9 million of grants under the program.
“We want our clubs to offer safe, modern facilities to the thousands of Victorians that use them every week,” member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said.