Gum­buya ex­pands

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - by Yvette Brand

Tourism and Ma­jor Events Min­is­ter John Eren (left) toured Gum­buya World on Thurs­day with own­ers in­clud­ing Ron Weinzierl who out­lined stage two and three of their $90 mil­lion project.

Hun­dreds of jobs will be cre­ated when Gum­buya World at Tynong em­barks on the next stage of its re­de­vel­op­ment project in Fe­bru­ary.

The $90 mil­lion project is set to cre­ate 485 jobs once the works are com­pleted.

A di­nosaur ex­pe­ri­ence and wave pool are fea­tures of the stage two re­de­vel­op­ment with ac­com­mo­da­tion, a cho­co­late fac­tory and mi­cro-brew­ery part of stage three plans.

Tourism and Ma­jor Events Min­is­ter John Eren toured Gum­buya World on Thurs­day where own­ers Ron Weinzierl and Gerry Ryan out­lined the next stages of re­de­vel­op­ment.

The trans­formed theme park re-opened in De­cem­ber with a mon­ster wa­ter park, re­de­vel­oped an­i­mal and wildlife en­clo­sures and new ad­ven­ture rides. The project is the brain­child of a con­sor­tium of sev­eral busi­ness peo­ple.

The min­is­ter said Gum­buya World had at­tracted up to 3000 visi­tors a day over the sum­mer months.

It is ex­pected stages two and three will be com­pleted by 2021, of­fer­ing 50 new at­trac­tions, in­clud­ing the wa­ter park, ad­ven­ture

rides, as well as a range of on­site ac­com­mo­da­tion, new cafes, shops, a cho­co­late fac­tory and a mi­cro­brew­ery.

Out­lin­ing the plans, Mr Ryan said the next stage of works would be­gin in Fe­bru­ary and would fo­cus on de­liv­er­ing In­dige­nous, di­nosaur and wool shed precincts for ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams. Fol­low­ing that, an ac­com­mo­da­tion precinct will be de­vel­oped in­clud­ing an 80room ho­tel, 50 glamp­ing sites and 100 cab­ins. He said bunkhouses would cater for school and ed­u­ca­tional groups.

He said they were keen to de­velop more at­trac­tions and make it an “all year round park.”

Mr Ryan said they ex­pected the di­nosaur ex­pe­ri­ence would be very pop­u­lar while the In­dige­nous precinct would of­fer an im­por­tant cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mr Ryan said the wa­ter park had been the big­gest fea­ture of the re­de­vel­oped park.

“But it’s sea­sonal so we need to bring peo­ple here in the other months.”

He said they were keen to pro­vide “na­ture based at­trac­tions” and ed­u­ca­tional ex­pe­ri­ences.

“Once we got in here we knew what we had, and we are half way through our in­vest­ment,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Eren said the $90 mil­lion in­vest­ment at Gum­buya World was an ex­am­ple of con­fi­dence in Vic­to­ria.

“This is great for the lo­cal econ­omy. The vis­i­tor econ­omy is so im­por­tant to our state. This is a great in­vest­ment and we are proud to be sup­port­ing this in ev­ery way we can,” he said.

By 2022, it is an­tic­i­pated Gum­buya World will at­tract 750,000 visi­tors each year.

The min­is­ter said tourism had been on the rise in Gipp­s­land, with 5.3 mil­lion visi­tors who spent an es­ti­mated $858 mil­lion in the

year end­ing March 2018 – a sig­nif­i­cant in­crease of 12.8 per cent and 12.3 per cent re­spec­tively since 2014.

“We’re sup­port­ing Gipp­s­land, cre­at­ing lo­cal jobs and grow­ing the re­gion’s econ­omy – the devel­op­ment of Gum­buya World is a prime ex­am­ple of that sup­port.

“This is a re­ally ex­cit­ing project. We want chil­dren to in­ter­act with the en­vi­ron­ment and take time out from their de­vices,” he said.

Mem­ber for Eastern Vic­to­ria Daniel Mulino said once the re­de­vel­op­ment was com­pleted Gum­buya World would join the ranks of the top theme parks in Aus­tralia, at­tract­ing visi­tors from far and wide and cre­at­ing jobs for lo­cals.”

“Gum­buya World is a lo­cal icon and thanks to this re­de­vel­op­ment, it’ll be big­ger and bet­ter than ever be­fore,” he said.

Car­dinia Shire mayor Colin Ross wel­comed the on­go­ing in­vest­ment at Gum­buya World and said coun­cil and plan­ning staff were work­ing closely with the own­ers.

He said the own­ers had trans­formed the park from an at­trac­tion that was down to 15 em­ploy­ees to a ma­jor em­ployer in the area. “This is ex­cit­ing for the com­mu­nity and lo­cal jobs,” he said.

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