LABOR will spend $500,000 to improve public infrastructure in Mt Field National Park if successful at the next state election, says Opposition leader Rebecca White.
She promised the upgrades as one of the projects to be funded in response to the Tourism Industry Council of Tasmania’s $41 million Future Proofing Our Icons report.
It follows the State Government’s recent announcement of a $300,000 project to upgrade the Russell Falls track at Mt Field.
The Labor plan includes a more attractive camping hub, with standing camping platforms, enhanced water and waste management systems, new showers, toilets and cooking facilities, a mountain bike wash down station and a new booking system.
Rachel Power, owner of Waterfalls Cafe and Gallery at Mt Field, said Mt Field had the fastest growth in visitor numbers of any national park in Tasmania, and was in dire need of upgrades.
“It’s time to start forward planning because we’re not going to stop growing,” she said.
Mt Field had 189,000 visitors in the 2015/16 financial year, an increase of 88,000 in only three years from 2012/13, making it Tasmania’s third most visited national park.
“Often we have a camp ground in overflow and sewerage systems that can’t always keep up,” Ms Power said. “There have been times when the park camping facilities have had to be closed because there have been problems.”
Ms Power said limited camp sites and not being able to reserve a space had also caused tourists to be turned away.
Ms White said: “I think what we’ve heard very clearly from the people of Derwent Valley is that they feel like they’ve been left off the map.
“There are already a lot of exciting tourism businesses operating in the Derwent Valley. We want to make sure the public infrastructure supports visitors and we are doing what we can to support businesses.”
In the past 18 months the Liberal Government has announced the $300,000 Russell Falls track upgrade, $1.4 million in tenders for design and construction of new facilities at Mt Mawson, and approval of a new trees adventure park at Mt Field National Park, plus a $300,000 investment to repair infrastructure at nearby Eagles Eyrie, and a $120,000 investment to upgrade the RV campground in the next 12 months.