Upgrades for Tassie parks
$4m allocated for 34 projects
MORE than 30 projects in national parks and reserves will be funded by a $4 million budget allocation this financial year, Environment Minister Matthew Groom says.
Upgrades to facilities at Freycinet, Bruny Island, Mt Field, The Nut and Fortescue Bay are among the 34 infrastructure projects to be undertaken in 2017-18.
The Hodgman Government allocated $8 million to parks upgrades over two years in the May Budget.
Projects to be funded this year range from master plans for some of the state’s most visited areas to toilets and barbecues. Tasmania’s record tourist numbers have put unprecedented pressure on popular national parks, but boosted regional economies.
“It does put pressure on infrastructure and it is therefore important that you’re demonstrating a commitment to investing in that infrastructure,” Mr Groom said.
A further 12 projects have been identified for the second instalment of $4 million in 2018-19.
The money has been welcomed by the Tourism Industry Council Tasmania, which is keen to see worldclass facilities at iconic destinations like Cradle Mountain.
“It’s fair to say they’ve probably been a bit under-invested in by governments over a long period of time and, to correct that, it’s going to take a lot of time and take smart investments like this,” TICT chief Luke Martin said.
Included in this year’s funding is a new walking track to Wineglass Bay, due to reopen this month, upgrades to the Bruny Island Neck lookout, a shelter at Mt Mawson and a track upgrade at Russell Falls.
Major plans are being developed to manage booming visitor numbers and traffic concerns at Freycinet National Park and Cockle Creek.
The Opposition announced a $50 million, 10-year regional tourism infrastructure package last year. Opposition tourism spokesman Scott Bacon said grassroots projects such as an upgrade for Richmond’s streetscape and Strahan’s waterfront needed to be considered alongside major investment.
Meanwhile, the RACT has renewed its lease on Freycinet Lodge, which will undergo a refurbishment.