Gar­dens’ $1.4m

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

THE pro­posed Moss­man Botanic Gar­den is one step closer to re­al­ity, re­ceiv­ing a fund­ing com­mit­ment of $1.4 mil­lion to help get it off the ground, if a Coali­tion govern­ment is elected.

In re­cent weeks, Lib­eral National Mem­ber for Le­ich­hardt War­ren Entsch MP at­tended a Moss­man Botanic Gar­den com­mit­tee pre­sen­ta­tion night and threw his whole hearted sup­port be­hind the pro­ject.

The com­mit­tee’s of­fi­cial tar­get is $5 mil­lion and this sup­port is a huge step in the right di­rec­tion.

The gar­den is pro­posed to be the only botanic gar­den fo­cused on pub­licly show­cas­ing unique plants from Aus­tralia’s Wet Trop­ics World Her­itage area.

The gar­den will fea­ture a Wet Trop­ics ar­bore­tum, themed gar­dens, an in­ter­pre­ta­tion cen­tre, a re­search fa­cil­ity, en­ter­tain­ment ar­eas, com­mu­nity fa­cil­i­ties, and the Betty Hin­ton Art Cen­tre.

Mr Entsch has been a key sup­porter through­out, help­ing the foun­da­tion com­mit­tee join forces with the world-renowned lo­cal artist Betty Hin­ton to cre­ate a one-of-a-kind botan­i­cal art gallery within the grounds.

Mr Entsch said due to its unique­ness, it will also be a ma­jor tourism drawcard for the 100,000-plus vis­i­tors to the re­gion to spend ex­tended time and money in Moss­man it­self, and the ben­e­fits will ex­tend far be­yond Moss­man to Cairns and Port Dou­glas.

‘‘There’s no ar­gu­ing that this pro­ject will cre­ate a whole range of fresh op­por­tu­ni­ties for the area from greater eco­nomic in­vest­ment and em­ploy­ment, to part­ner­ships across the Wet Trop­ics re­gion, to sup­port­ing In­dige­nous cul­tural knowl­edge and sto­ries of rain­for­est ecosys­tems,’’ Mr Entsch said.

‘‘The pro­posal put to me was for de­vel­op­ment over a five-year pe­riod but the crit­i­cal com­po­nent at this stage was the ac­qui­si­tion of the land - and that’s ex­actly what we have fa­cil­i­tated.

‘‘The $1.4 mil­lion will en­able the com­mit­tee to buy the site in cen­tral Moss­man, and the ad­di­tional funds over and above the cost of pur­chas­ing the land means they can fi­nalise plans and de­signs and start the De­vel­op­ment Ap­provals process.

‘‘It also doesn’t pre­vent them from putting in fund­ing ap­pli­ca­tions through other sources, whether state, fed­eral or lo­cal govern­ment, for the next stages of the pro­ject.’’

The an­nounce­ment was made on Tues­day af­ter­noon by War­ren Entsch along with Scott Mor­ri­son MP.

MBG com­mit­tee mem­ber Alan Carle said the com­mit­tee was ec­static to hear the news.

‘‘War­ren Entsch has been a keen sup­porter of the pro­ject since 2010,’’ he said.

‘‘Of course, this pledge is con­di­tional on the LNP win­ning the fed­eral elec­tion. Other key re­gional civic and po­lit­i­cal lead­ers have also given their sup­port.

‘‘The pledged $1.4m will be used to pur­chase the first prop­erty for the gar­den and for plan­ning, de­sign, fundrais­ing and other re­quire­ments in 2014.’’

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