Birketts sell their Discovery Centre
THE award-winning Daintree Discovery Centre has been sold to an indigenous organisation, the Aboriginal Development Benefits Trust (ADBT), bringing to a close the 30-year ownership by its founders, Ron and Pam Birkett.
ADBT, which is based in the Lower Gulf, was established under the Gulf Communities Agreement negotiated between Century Mine, the Queensland Government and Gulf native title groups.
Its role is to administer funds from the Century Mine, primarily for business development and indigenous ownership/investment in business, while also helping to build economic empowerment for local indigenous Australians and their communities.
ADBT has been quick to say that it will be “business as usual” at the renowned tourist facility, with no operational changes on the ground.
“We are all very excited to continue working with the fabulous staff who have made the business a huge success,” saird the chairman of the ADBT, Peter Cameron when the news of the sale was released on Tuesday.
“The purchase of the Discovery Centre offers huge potential for ADBT to further develop its community, youth and entrepreneurship programs within the Lower Gulf,” Mr Cameron said.
“Established in 1989, the Discovery Centre is recognised as a leader in the field of ecotourism, and in particular, environmental conservation.
“Not only does it showcase the oldest rainforest on the planet in a sustainable and environmentally sensitive manner, but its work to preserve this fragile eco system through scientific research, revegetation programs and other carbon reduction initiatives goes way beyond just tree planting.”
ADBT also operates the Doomadgee Roadhouse and Accommodation Units and partners with another Normanton Aboriginal organisation to manage Normanton Traders in the Gulf.
For Pam and Ron Birkett there hasn’t been much the Discovery Centre hasn’t seen since it was officially opened in June 1989 and today’s announcement marked the next step in the business’ future.
“Ron and I have had 27 wonderful years designing and developing the Discovery Centre from scratch and it’s going to be hard to ‘cut the umbilical cord’, but we were particularly pleased when ADBT expressed an interest in purchasing the business. It couldn’t have been a better fit,” Mrs Birkett said.
“When we look back over the past three decades there is so much to celebrate, just being crazy (or smart) enough to build an environmental centre in a tropical wilderness in the 1980s was an outstanding achievement.
“We were just two ordinary working people who had a vision. We wanted to create something special and today the Discovery Centre is more than we could have hoped for.”
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