New tourism project set to drive economic recovery in Bundaberg region

Published Monday, 18 October, 2021 at 06:19 PM


Premier and Minister for the Olympics
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development
Mr Michael Healy

A multi-million-dollar snorkelling and diving attraction delivered in partnership with the Palaszczuk Government has today opened in the Bundaberg region.

Tourism infrastructure projects are an important part of the state’s Economic Recovery Plan – helping to create jobs and revenue that will see Queensland rebuild and recovery in coming months.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Lady Musgrave Island Pontoon had been supported by the government through the state’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

“We made a deliberate decision to invest in infrastructure because we know that in the long-term, this is vital to supporting tourism jobs in regional Queensland,” the Premier said.

“Thanks to the government’s investment, we’re seeing a number of projects come online at a time operators need them most.

“This will help our tourism industry to rebuild and recover in the months and years to come.”

Today, Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development Michael Healy officially opened and inspected the new $3.6 million Lady Musgrave Island Pontoon at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, more than 90 kilometres north of Bundaberg.

Mr Healy said the new three level 35 metre by 12 metre structure would be a gamechanger for the operator, Lady Musgrave Experience, and the Bundaberg region.

“Not only will visitors be offered memorable snorkelling and diving experiences, they will also have the opportunity to sleep on the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“Everyone needs to visit our internationally renowned natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef.

“And this new pontoon, situated at Lady Musgrave Island, offers patrons multiple new experiences to savour.

“The government, through the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, provided $1.6 million to Lady Musgrave Experience to build this pontoon,’ he said.

“Apart from being able to cater for up to 350-day visitors to the reef, the pontoon also boasts an underwater observatory and upper deck sleeping accommodation.

“The underwater element offers up to 20 people king-size bunk style berths while the upper deck offers eight queen size glamping tents providing comfort for up to 16 people.

“This pontoon has all the modern conveniences.

“The two open air levels will host a bar/kiosk area, undercover seating and tables, showers and toilet amenities, snorkelling and diving stations with large in water access via platform areas.

“The pontoon is environmentally-friendly, powered by a 52-kilowatt battery bank which is kept charged by wind generators and solar panels.”

Prior to the COVD-19 global pandemic, this new attraction was forecast to deliver an extra 16,000 visitors and pump $1.84 million a year into the region.

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the Lady Musgrave Island Pontoon would be a drawcard for the local tourism industry.

“We understand that infrastructure means jobs. That’s why we’re backing projects like this – to help drive our economic recovery into the future,” he said.

“Tourism is a cornerstone of our local economy.

“As restrictions ease in the future, having new attractions that will entice more tourists to Bundaberg is extremely important.

“This project is world class. I encourage all Queenslanders to come to the best destination in Queensland and experience everything the Bundaberg region has to offer.”

Lady Musgrave Experience’s Director, Brett Lakey said initial bookings have been great with two to three months of forward bookings keeping the office staff busy.

“It’s amazing to see the level of support we’ve had from the local community and Queenslanders wanting to discover their own backyard,” Mr Lakey said.

”The pontoon was built across two years in 2020/2021 and provided six construction jobs and was expected to provide up to 14 operational full-time jobs with many more possibilities ahead.”