Building Better Regions Fund delivers Cairns Reef and Rainforest education centre

Media Release

FN130/2017

03 August 2017

Joint release with:

Warren Entsch

Federal Member for Leichhardt

  • A reef and rainforest research education centre to be built at the Cairns Aquarium under Coalition's Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF)
  • Coalition Government is investing almost $1 million under the BBRF
  • Research centre will boost visitor numbers to Cairns and surrounding region

The Coalition Government's new Building Better Regions Fund will deliver a new reef and rainforest education centre at the Cairns Aquarium.

Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch joined Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash in Cairns for the announcement today.

Mr Entsch said the project would help bring more tourists and jobs to the region and teach visitors about the Great Barrier Reef—one of the seven natural wonders of the world. 

“The new education centre will generate significant economic benefits by attracting more domestic and international visitors to the Cairns region, and diversifying their experience while they are here,” Mr Entsch said.

“The Cairns Aquarium and Reef Research Centre is also going to be a major new employer in our city with the construction phase of this project estimated to create 72 jobs, with 35 ongoing positions to be filled once the new facilities are completed.”

“My heartfelt congratulations to the Centre for its success under the BBRF—the team are demonstrating a real commitment to our city through their major investment in this new infrastructure and their co-contribution to the BBRF grant."

Minister Nash said the new public education centre would provide the region with another valuable tourist drawcard.

“Providing the aquarium with an education centre, where visitors can interact with rainforest and reef ecosystem simulations, will increase understanding of this unique environment and provide a welcome lift for the local and regional economies,” Minister Nash said.

“I congratulate the Cairns community on their successful application under the Building Better Regions Fund—with more than 500 applications, this project has beaten literally hundreds of others to win funding.

“I aim to help build the kinds of regional communities our children and grandchildren either want to stay in or come back to, and establishing this sort of major public entertainment and educational facility does just that.”

The project is being jointly funded with the Coalition Government contributing $995,000 under the BBRF and the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre contributing $1 million.

“After a competitive merit-based selection process, there are always those who were not successful and are naturally disappointed. We've got dedicated staff in the Department of Industry to give tailored feedback to each unsuccessful applicant to help improve those applications for next time. They can be contacted on bbrffeedback@industry.gov.au,” Minister Nash said.

 Minister Nash said she expected to open another round of BBRF before the end of the year. 

More information about the Building Better Regions Fund is available at: business.gov.au/bbrf.