20 July 2017

$1.6m tourism boost for Geelong, Wye River, Marengo and Forrest

I was delighted to join Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Steven Ciobo to announce today more than $1.6m in funding for four exciting projects to boost tourism in the Corangamite electorate.

Under the Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program, $1.64m of federal funds will be provided to help fund a new chocolate café in Forrest, a winery in Fyansford, a wild life sanctuary west of Apollo Bay and the expansion of the Wye Beach Hotel.

The tourism industry is a vital part of the local economy directly employing 3,731 people in Corangamite.

In the year ending March 2017, international visitation to the Great Ocean Road tourism region increased by 16 per cent on the previous year, attracting 218,000 visitors who spent $103m, an increase of 29 per cent on the previous year.

Matching funding provided by the grant recipients will increase the overall investment to $3.8m. The TDDI funding will be distributed as follows:

Platypi Chocolate Project 

$300,000 has been awarded to Mandy Bishop to help fund the construction of a new chocolate café in Forrest. The facility will include an 80 seat licenced café, retail outlet and a chocolate production area. Private investment of over $700,000 will bring the total project investment to more than $1m. The project is expected to create a mixture of eight permanent and casual jobs after three months of operation.

Wildlife Wonders Project

The Wildlife Wonders project, driven by Lizzie Corke of the Cape Otway Conservation Ecology Centre, will receive $557,962 to undertake planning, design and the development of a business case for a new Australian wildlife ecotourism experience on a spectacular 20 hectare property along the Great Ocean Road, just west of Apollo Bay.

Matching funding will be provided by private investors through the Cape Otway Conservation Ecology Centre. The proposed facility will house Australian wildlife in a natural setting and be designed to educate visitors and support conservation efforts for Australian wildlife. It is being designed by Brian Massey, the art director behind the film The Hobbit; in New Zealand the film set has been turned into Hobbiton and has become one of the country’s pre-eminent tourist attractions. So the potential for Wildlife Wonders is incredibly exciting.

Should the business case for Wildlife Wonders be positive, additional private investment of $6.4m will bring the total project investment to over $7.4m. The project is expected to generate approximately 44 jobs during construction and 30 full time positions in ecotourism and conservation.

Provenance Wines at Old Paper Mills, Fyansford

Scott Ireland has received $332,000 for the Provenance Cellar Door project which will see the construction of a working winery and cellar door at the heritage listed Fyansford Paper Mill. The Provenance Wines project will create at least 20 direct jobs and 13 indirect jobs. Private investment of $465,000 will bring the total project investment to $797,000.

The heritage listed Fyansford Paper Mill was established in the 1870’s and remains as one of the most complete industrial complexes of its kind. It had a significant role in the development of the Australian paper making industry and is a rare example of a surviving paper mill.

Wye Beach Hotel

The Wye Beach Hotel – run by Paul Greene, will receive $450,000 to expand the existing hotel so as to enable weddings, conferences and other events. Private investment of $450,000 will bring the total investment to $900,000.

The hotel endured significant financial hardship following a drop in tourism numbers due to the 2015 Christmas day bushfire and 2016 landslides which led to extended closures of the Great Ocean Road.

This investment in our tourism industry means more growth in our economy and more jobs for locals.

I am proud to represent one of the most beautiful electorates in Australia and am keen for more people to experience all that our region has to offer.

The Tourism Demand Driver Infrastructure programme will invest $43.1m over four years, including $7.2m in Victoria, to drive demand, improve quality and increase tourism expenditure to assist the tourism industry in meeting Tourism 2020 targets.

20 July 2017