Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Jenny Gal­braith

WESTERN Syd­ney will be home to a $36 mil­lion, cage­free zoo hous­ing lions, ele­phants, gi­raffes and more.

It will gen­er­ate more than 200 jobs in the Western Syd­ney Park­lands.

LIONS, ele­phants and gi­raffes will be among an­i­mals that will be fea­tured at a zoo in Syd­ney’s west, at­tract­ing tourists from around the world.

El­e­vated walk­ways will give visi­tors a tree­top view of African an­i­mals such as chee­tahs, ele­phants, ze­bras, gi­raffes and rhi­noc­eros when it opens near Rooty Hill in late 2017.

There will also be un­der­wa­ter glass view­ing ar­eas of hip­popota­mus, crocodiles and other aquatic life.

The $36 mil­lion, cage-free zoo will be built at the Bun­gar­ribee Su­per Park at Western Syd­ney Park­lands.

It will be run by Syd­ney Zoo, whose founder John Burgess also set up Syd­ney Aquar­ium.

The 16.4ha site will fea­ture more than 30 ex­hibits.

It is ex­pected to gen­er­ate more than 200 jobs once it is up and run­ning.

The part­ner­ship be­tween Syd­ney Zoo, Western Syd­ney Park­lands Trust and Black­town Coun­cil is ex­pected to bring 745,000 peo­ple a year to the re­gion, as well as a $45 mil­lion boost to the NSW econ­omy. Black­town Mayor Stephen Bali said the zoo would make Syd­ney’s west a must-visit des­ti­na­tion.

“It will be a cage-free zoo with lim­it­less hori­zons which brings visi­tors safely face to face with an­i­mals, mak­ing it a hugely suc­cess­ful at­trac­tion,” he said.

Syd­ney Zoo man­ag­ing di- rec­tor Jake Burgess said the pro­grams would in­crease aware­ness about poach­ing and habi­tat de­struc­tion.

“Our high-ca­pac­ity fa­cil­ity will fea­ture sig­nif­i­cant en­clo­sure space, which is ideal for breed­ing pro­grams,” he said. “We will have ex­ten­sive vet­eri­nary ca­pa­bil­i­ties in-house as well as an an­i­mal res­cue pro- gram, to give our na­tive an­i­mals the best chance of sur­vival.”

Syd­ney Zoo is pre­par­ing a State Sig­nif­i­cant De­vel­op­ment Ap­pli­ca­tion, which will be lodged with the State Gov­ern­ment.

Chi­fley fed­eral La­bor MP Ed Hu­sic said: “We need the Baird Gov­ern­ment to ... guar­an­tee that this de­ci­sion will not im­pact on lo­cal busi­nesses and job gen­er­a­tors such as Featherdale...”

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