The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - FRONT PAGE - PA­TRICK GEE

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.

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