Work to start on Gateway
“I’ve told them to have faith in the project, and now we’re starting to see the results. “It’s happening.” A job expo at the Mossman Gorge community on Tuesday attracted around 120 locals keen to be involved in the project. “That was eye-opening,” Mr Gibson said. “It was incredible to see so many indigenous people show up to met the construction manager, and put their hands up for jobs.”
ILC chairperson Shirley McPherson described the long-awaited visitors’ centre as “a shot in the arm” for the regional economy.
“This major project is important for the regional tourism industry and will deliver badly-needed jobs and increased demand for locally-sourced goods and services,” Ms McPherson said.
“This project is a multi-million dollar investment in the future of the North Queensland tourism industry.
“The project will generate up to 40 new local jobs immediately when the Mossman Gorge visitor centre opens for business and up to 70 new jobs in the peak tourism season.”
FKG’s construction manager Heather Gardner said preliminary work on site would begin next week, with major construction beginning early next year.
“The job expo was amazing,” Ms Gardner said.
“We met so many people who were interested in getting involved in the project.”
One of the terms of the contract ensures at least eight indigenous jobs in the construction phase.
Mr Gibson, who started the first tourism venture at the Gorge in 1987, operating walking tours out of a tin shed, said training would become a higher priority now that light could be seen at the end of the tunnel.
“Over the next 12 months, we need to focus on training people up,” he said.
“Apart from the trainees who are coming into the project, we have another 20 staff currently working who need extra training in all areas of the tourism business.”
The Gateway precinct is expected to be completed by late next year.
The Gateway will divert tourist traffic to the new modern visitor centre, which will provide parking for 200 vehicles, specialised bays for tourist coaches, a café, art gallery and gift shop and cultural displays.
The Centre will use low-emission shuttle buses to safely take visitors into the heart of the World Heritage listed rainforest area.