Ministers for the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities The Hon Michael McCormack MP Deputy Prime MinisterMinister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie Minister for Regional ServicesMinister for SportMinister for Local Government and Decentralisation The Hon Alan Tudge MP Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population The Hon Sussan Ley MP Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories The Hon Andrew Broad MP Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Scott Buchholz MP Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport The Hon Barnaby Joyce MPFormer Deputy Prime MinisterFormer Minister for Infrastructure and Transport The Hon Dr John McVeigh MPFormer Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government The Hon Keith Pitt MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister The Hon Damian Drum MPFormer Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister Senator the Hon Fiona Nash Former Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Darren Chester MP Former Minister for Infrastructure and TransportFormer A/g Minister for Regional DevelopmentFormer A/g Minister for Local Government and Territories The Hon Warren Truss MP Former Deputy Prime Minister Former Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development The Hon Paul Fletcher MP Former Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities The Hon Jamie Briggs MP Former Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development

Sapphire Wetlands a new jewel in The Gemfields Crown

Media Release

JM089/2018

26 April 2018

Joint release with:

Megan Daniels

Councillor for Central Highlands Regional Council

Ken O'Dowd

Federal Member for Flynn

  • New wetlands reserve at The Gemfields, Central Queensland now open
  • Reserve will be a green tourist attraction for the Central Highlands
  • The Coalition Government invested $109,636 in the project

Tourists and nature enthusiasts will now be able to wander through 98 hectares of pristine bushland and seasonal wetlands following the opening of the Sapphire Wetland Reserve at The Gemfields, Queensland.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the reserve will become a highlight for visitors to the Central Highlands.

“The wetlands provide an opportunity for tourists and locals alike to get up close to their outstanding natural environment while minimising their impact,” Dr McVeigh said.

“This is a beautiful part of the world, and we hope that tourists will not only choose to come here but stay longer, supporting economic development in the region.”

Federal Member for Flynn Ken O'Dowd said visitors would be able to experience the wetlands as they walk along the 3.5 kilometres of walking trail around the wetlands.

“In order to give the 56,000 expected visitors a more complete experience, we have also built new wetland viewing areas, boardwalks, educational signs and a bird hide,” Mr O'Dowd said.

“This project supported 15 jobs during construction which boosted the local economy and we also expect the reserve to create opportunities for environmental research and educational field trips.”

Councillor for Central Highlands Regional Council Megan Daniels said the reserve was an important natural attraction for the region as the home to a range of local flora and fauna.

“The aim of this project was to enhance the recreational and educational use of the area for both visitors and locals,” Cr Daniels said.

“We also wanted to tap into the developing trend for nature-based tourism, providing economic benefits to the Gemfields and the Highlands while paying tribute to the region's rich heritage by restoring a piece of fossicking history.”

The Coalition Government invested $109,636 in the project and Central Highlands Regional Council $157,861.