The Queensland Government will contribute $4.5 million to fund four new tourism and cultural projects in Tropical North Queensland.
The projects aim to attract international and domestic visitors to the region and create more local jobs.
Announced this week by Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones, the funding will provide:
- $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; and
- $600,000 for the Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council to re-develop their arts and cultural precinct.
Jones said the additional funding brings the state government’s total investment in the region’s tourism projects to $400 million.
“A strong tourism industry is vital to growing the economy in Tropical North Queensland,” she said.
Industry welcomes the news
Tourism TNQ CEO Pip Close welcomed the government’s announcement, and said it is the next step in cementing the region 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.
MYAC spokesman Dewayne Mundraby thanked the government for its support of the East Trinity Project.
“Work on this project is proposed to start this month and be completed by August 2020,” he said. “MYAC anticipates the project will create 10 jobs and generate up to $10 million in increased visitation spending a year.”
How the funds will be used
Sunlover Group will use the funds to support several projects including the construction of an extended pontoon at Arlington Reef. The group will also build a semi-submersible vessel to provide non-swimmers the opportunity to experience the reef.
“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,” said Sunlover Group general manager Sharon Sheldrake.
“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.”
Funding for the Talaroo Hot Springs project will help build 60 new short-stay sites, five glamping sites and amenities.
The project 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,” said EAC chairman David Hudson.
“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.”