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Government commits $4.5 million for tourism projects in TNQ

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones has today announced $4.5 million in funding for four new tourism projects aimed at attracting visitors and creating jobs.

Ms Jones said today’s announcements meant the Palaszczuk Government had invested close to $400 million in tourism projects in Tropical North Queensland.

“A strong tourism industry is vital to growing the economy in Tropical North Queensland,” she said.

“We’re investing in new projects that we know will attract more visitors and create jobs for locals.

“This will benefit the entire industry and help to grow our share of the international tourism market.”

Funding announced today includes:

$1.1 million for the Cairns-based Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation (MYAC) for new cultural and eco-tourism experiences$560,000 to partner with Sunlover Reef Cruises to deliver marine tourism infrastructure$2.3 million to partner with the Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation (EAC) to build new tourism infrastructure and re-open the Talaroo historic hot springs near Georgetown$600,000 for the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council (YASC) to re-develop their arts and cultural precinct

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said the $4.5 million in tourism projects announced today would create more than 30 jobs for locals and attract thousands of extra visitors to Far North Queensland.

“We’re working with MYAC and Tourism Tropical North Queensland to capitalise on the strong demand from China for authentic cultural experiences,” he said.

“The government will work with Sunlover Reef Cruises to build new marine tourism infrastructure and create new opportunities for visitors to spend more time in Tropical North Queensland when they come to visit.

“Today we’re also announcing a new partnership with the Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation to reopen the Talaroo historic hot springs – they have a UNESCO registered geo-spring near Georgetown that has huge potential to attract people inland.

“These projects along with the Wangetti Trail and the government’s multi-million dollar investment in the Cairns convention centre and port are proof of our commitment to grow the tourism industry in Tropical North Queensland.”

Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Pip Close welcomed the government’s announce of new infrastructure as the next step in cementing Tropical North Queensland’s position as the best place to experience Australia’s Indigenous cultures.

“Indigenous tourism is one of the hero experiences of the tropical north as we have 83 Indigenous experiences with 57 of these owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” she said.

Mandingalbay Yidinji Aboriginal Corporation (MYAC)spokesman Dewayne Mundraby thanked the State Government for its support for the East Trinity Project.

“Work on this project is proposed to start this month and be completed by August 2020. MYAC anticipates the project will create 10 jobs and generate up to $10 million in increased visitation spending a year,” he said.

“We look forward to expanding our capacity to grow the tourist market to Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef and most importantly, deliver sustainable employment opportunities.”

Yarrabah Mayor Ross Andrews commended the Palaszczuk Government’s investment in new tourism infrastructure announced today.

“After recently completing YASC’s Economic Strategy 2017‑2022 and now excitingly embarking on a Tourism Strategy for Yarrabah, I welcome the investment for infrastructure growth to leverage off the Far North Queensland tourism market,” he said.

“Whilst there is still more work to do, small steps can go a long way towards our participation in the local economy and a step in the right direction.

“The Queensland Government funding for redevelopment works at the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct will provide a vital platform for building the foundation for growth for the Arts and Cultural Precinct as a vibrant self-sufficient community asset. 

“It will enhance professional artistic excellence and develop economic opportunities that will create pathways for Cultural Tourism, Small business, Employment and National and International artistic recognition.”

Sunlover group General Manager Sharon Sheldrake said funding announced today would support a number of projects in North Queensland including construction of an extended pontoon at the outer reef location of Arlington Reef off Cairns and a purpose built semi-submersible vessel to provide non-swimmers the opportunity for a reef experience.

“In the Whitsunday region, the Long Island jetty, pontoon and gangway will be upgraded to allow for all year access to the northern part of the island,” she said.

“This infrastructure will provide a deep water access to the Happy Bay area and will allow day tourists to experience the many beautiful walks and trails on the island.

“Sunlover expects these projects will support six construction jobs and 16 operational jobs with expected completion by late 2020.”

The company expected these projects would attract an extra 11,800 visitors a year and contribute up to $500,000 in new visitor expenditure each year to the regions.

“Once operational, these projects will provide the company with the opportunity to expand its experiences to tourists over several pristine locations,” Ms Sheldrake said.

Funding for the Talaroo project will be used to build 60 new short-stay camping and caravan/RV sites, five glamping sites, a swimming pool and camp ground amenities.

The infrastructure will also include access upgrades including a two-lane access road, a carpark, boardwalks, picnic shelters and landscaping.

Ewamian Aboriginal Corporation Chairman David Hudson said the Talaroo Hot Springs were a world-class natural and cultural asset and the works will provide up to 15 construction jobs and seven operational jobs when it opens in 2020.

“Their re-opening will significantly add to the existing tourism offerings within the Etheridge Shire and the region,” he said.

“We expect the springs will generate $1.7 million a year, attracting about 7000 visitors a year during the peak season of April to September.”

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones - the Ministerial Champion for Yarrabah - said the government’s funding support would be used to work with the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council to redevelop the Yarrabah Arts and Cultural Precinct.

“This work will help locals host new art exhibitions and provide an area for open air shows” she said.

“It’s about showcasing Yarrabah’s unique cultural identity and history to visitors and creating jobs and new opportunities for small businesses.”

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