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Palaszczuk Govt delivers multi-million-dollar lifeline for Far North tourism sector

Published: 31st August 2020

JOINT STATEMENT

Premier and Minister for Trade The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation The Honourable Kate Jones

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk will today announce an $11.3 million package to boost Far North Queensland tourism as part of the government’s economic recovery strategy to assist businesses to make it through COVID-19.

The Premier said the multi-million-dollar package announced today included:

  • $6.5 million for 4 shovel-ready projects creating 127 construction jobs and more than 50 ongoing jobs
  • $3 million to help attract major events to the regions
  • $1.8M to assist Reef Fleet operators

“Tourism will be vital to rebuilding our economy in the months and years ahead,” the Premier said.

“This is an industry that supported one in 10 Queensland jobs before the Coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re investing more in tourism than any government in Queensland’s history because we understand how crucial it is to safeguard these jobs for the future.”

The package includes $3 million to secure major events for Far North Queensland and is in addition to $3.8 million announced by the Palaszczuk Government in February to assist Far Northern tourism businesses through the initial stages of the Covid-19 crisis.

“Major events drive domestic tourism, pumping cash into local businesses and supporting local jobs - this funding will help us secure events that will stimulate the Cairns and Far North economy,” the Premier said.

“Thousands of businesses particularly in our regions have relied heavily on international tourists.

“Today’s funding will deliver events that help to keep businesses afloat along with grants to support businesses to focus more heavily on domestic markets.”

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said four Tropical North Queensland tourism projects will receive more than a quarter of the COVID-19 Economic Recovery $25 million Growing Tourism Infrastructure fund.

Ms Jones said the four projects would share in $6.5 million.

“This support will be vital in these challenging COVID-19 times,” Ms Jones said.

“The pandemic has hit the state’s tourism industry hard but the government is carefully lifting restrictions to allow for intrastate travel for Queenslanders and opening up to other travellers when possible.

“The government is partnering with these project proponents to deliver new tourism infrastructure and experiences that will boost the region’s economy.

“These projects are estimated to support 127 construction jobs and collectively generate 56 on-going roles.”

The four projects offered support are:

  • $500,000 towards Wildlife Habitat's new CrocArena at Port Douglas, including enclosures for three  iconic male crocodiles, a presentation platform, stadium seating and the ability for guests to "Snorkel with the Salties”
  • $2 million towards an additional 40 van sites, amenities block and other supporting infrastructure for Paronella Park at Mena Creek.
  • $3 million towards the construction of Dreamtime Island for Reef Magic Cruises in Cairns. This will be a large floating activity platform on the northern Great Barrier Reef showcasing the reef, indigenous culture and sustainable scientific reef research.
  • $1 million towards the construction of up to 21 air-conditioned, en-suite accommodation units to support the Undara Experience including the famous Lava Tubes at Mount Surprise

Member for Cairns Michael Healy said he welcomed today’s announcement.

“COVID-19 is the biggest challenge we’ve ever had to face. It’s taken a heavy toll on our tourism industry. But we’re working hard to get this industry back on its feet,” he said.

“The rescue package delivered by the government today is a good win for the Far North.

“For decades we’ve relied on international tourism and in their absence I’m confident these measures will help until we see a return of our international visitors.

“We’ll continue to work closely with local businesses to help them make it through this ongoing crisis.”

Media contact:

Premier: Chris Taylor – 0400 990 162

Minister Jones: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447

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