The Palaszczuk Government will include almost $2.4 million in next week’s State Budget to fund a series of public mooring infrastructure along the Great Barrier Reef to create internationally recognised ‘scenic drives by the sea’ and boost local tourism along the Queensland coastline.
The project is one of the first to be announced through the Government’s $180 million Significant Regional Infrastructure Projects Program (SRIPP) – a key program of the State Infrastructure Plan which will deliver regionally significant projects across the state to address an economic or social need, and support local jobs.
Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for the Great Barrier Reef and National Parks Dr Steven Miles said the funding would extend the public mooring network along the Reef, boosting local tourism opportunities for marine operators.
“This project will not only open up more opportunities for marine tourism operators to help people explore the reef, but is an important investment in protecting one of Queensland’s most important and iconic assets,” Dr Miles said.
“The new mooring infrastructure, to be installed at popular anchorage spots within the Whitsundays, Cairns, Capricorn and Townsville regions, will facilitate increased access to the marine park, in a way which is both safe and sustainable.
“It will reduce anchoring impacts on coral ecosystems, improve boater safety, address visitor congestion and help grow the Great Barrier Reef tourism industry.
“This exciting project means both economic and social benefits for Queensland, and clearly delivers on our Government’s commitments within the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan by ensuring the protection and sustainable use of the reef’s most popular dive and snorkelling destinations.”
There are 128 public moorings situated throughout the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, with the $2.4 million expected to fund 100 new moorings, as well as an additional 150 reef protection markers – which could be installed in “high priority’ locations in the short term.
Local Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper welcomed the investment, which was expected to support more than 280 jobs at the peak of the project.
“Not only will this project provide a welcomed boost to tourism in towns and cities along the reef, but is also a significant opportunity to unlock jobs for North Queensland,” Mr Harper said.
“At the peak of the project, we expect more than 280 jobs will be supported and our government will ensure local workers and contractors are employed through this project where possible.”
Deputy Premier and Minister for Infrastructure Jackie Trad said $180 million SRIPP was a cornerstone initiative of the Government’s State Infrastructure Plan, designed to bring forward key economic and social infrastructure projects in regional centres to unlock jobs and increase business confidence.
“Investment in infrastructure is essential for healthy regional economies. Through the SRIPP the Palaszczuk Government is prioritising projects that deliver jobs, and improve productivity and liveability,” Ms Trad said.
For more information on the State Infrastructure Plan visit dilgp.qld.gov.au/SIP