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    Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Palaszczuk Government commits extra $3.75M to Mon Repos Turtle Centre

    Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Thursday, January 18, 2018

    Palaszczuk Government commits extra $3.75M to Mon Repos Turtle Centre

    The Palaszczuk Government today (Thursday) confirmed an additional $3.75 million funding to strengthen the position of Mon Repos Conservation Park as a globally iconic, year-round ecotourism destination.

    Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said the funding is on top of an already announced $12.4 million first stage commitment to redevelop the existing Turtle Centre, which is currently being reimagined by Richard Kirk, the president-elect of the Institute of Architects Australia.

    Ms Enoch said the government is working with Bundaberg Regional Council – who are contributing $1.5 million to stage one – to attract more tourists to the centre outside of the turtle nesting season.

    “We want to continue raising the profile of Mon Repos, and to do this we’ve committed an extra $3.75 million for stage two of the redevelopment project,” Ms Enoch said.

    “After funding 90 per cent of stage one works – which includes new interpretive material and a theatrette to enhance the visitor experience during and outside the summer turtle nesting season – our further investment will help bring more exciting interactive content to the centre.

    “Our government has pledged $3.75 million to be used by the Bundaberg Regional Council to apply for a Commonwealth grant program. If the application is successful, an additional $3.75 million will be received to go towards Mon Repos.

    “Now, we’re calling on the federal government to approve the application, invest in Mon Repos, and help us generate more employment opportunities for Queenslanders.

    “However if the application is not successful, our pledged $3.75 million will still be used in stage two of the redevelopment – so it’s a win-win for Mon Repos and Bundaberg.”

    Ms Enoch said the second stage development would complement the new Turtle Centre and – if the grant application is successful – make the conservation park more accessible through new visitor facilities and interpretive materials outside the centre.

    “It’s a project that will allow for new tourism opportunities, including the potential involvement of Traditional Owners, and will be a boost for the Bundaberg economy while helping generate increased public support for turtle research and conservation efforts,” she said.

    Bundaberg Regional Council Mayor Jack Dempsey has welcomed the extended financial support from the state government, and said the site and building improvements will create many new jobs for the city.

    “Through partnerships and support like this from the Queensland Government, we are able to deliver fantastic infrastructure that stimulates employment and is a direct driver for the local economy,” Mr Dempsey said.

    “The Turtle Centre will showcase our turtle population to local, national and international visitors, who will enjoy an unforgettable experience in a facility that befits the iconic status of the Mon Repos turtles.

    “The Bundaberg region certainly appreciates the vision of the state government in providing this partnership support. It will ensure this unique ecotourism experience will captivate visitors for generations to come.”

    Mon Repos supports the largest concentration of nesting marine turtles on the eastern Australian mainland and has the most significant loggerhead turtle nesting population in the South Pacific region.

    The success of nesting and hatching turtles at Mon Repos is critical for the survival of the endangered loggerhead turtle.

    Ms Enoch said Queensland Parks and Wildlife staff and volunteers at the centre had so far seen good turtle numbers during the 2017-18 season.

    “Rangers, researchers and volunteers at Mon Repos continue to do a tremendous job,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Since the seasonal tours started in November last year, rangers have had more than 12,000 visitors come to Mon Repos Turtle Centre to take part in the unique ecotourism experience.”

    The annual breeding season is now into its third month, and so far we’ve seen 350 loggerheads, seven flatbacks and six green turtles come to lay their eggs at beaches on the Woongarra Coast since late October.

    “Of course, this is not the total number of turtles using the area for nesting, as new turtles are still arriving each night.

    “While good numbers of marine turtles are still coming to the beach to lay their eggs, hatchling season has only just started,” she said.

    “We’re seeing a small number of clutches of flatback, loggerhead and green turtles hatch, but expect to see many more hatchlings scurrying to the waters’ edge over the next few months.

    The Department of Environment and Science is engaging with organisations such as Bundaberg North Burnett Tourism Association and Gidarjil Development Corporation to maximise future tourism potential at Mon Repos Conservation Park.

    The turtle tours will continue during construction and any disruption will be minimised.

    More details about Mon Repos turtle tours can be found here: npsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mon-repos/turtle-centre.html

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    MEDIA: Ben Doyle 0437 859 987