Australian Government Minister for Transport and Regional Services, Warren Truss, Leader of The Nationals in the Senate, Senator Ron Boswell, today announced Regional Partnerships program funding of $2.2 million to help construct an International Coal Centre in Blackwater to showcase the industry to tourists.
Mr Truss said the Australian Government funds would help BM Alliance Coal Operations purchase materials and cover labour costs for the construction of the new facility.
“The International Coal Centre will provide an important link between the coal industry and the growing tourism sector. It will become a major tourism feature for the region, creating new employment and business opportunities for residents,” he said.
Senator Boswell said the centre will also be a significant community resource that provides important recreational and commercial facilities.
“It will include a coal industry interpretive centre, an education and community centre, exhibition space, a theatre cinema and café merchandise outlet. It will also feature themed landscaping which will include the existing Japanese Garden,” he said.
Mr Truss congratulated the local community for working together to access Regional Partnerships program funding. “I would particularly like to thank the Central Queensland Area Consultative Committee for helping to bring this project to fruition.”
“I would also like to acknowledge the financial support provided to the project by the Allied Industries Contribution and Tourism Grant, Queensland Government, Wesfarmers Curragh, Duaringa Shire Council, Mitsubishi Development, Queensland Rail, Orica Australia, Jellinbah Resources, Macarthur Coal, Ensham Resources, Ergon Energy, Felix Resources, Anglo Coal Australia, Central Queensland Ports Authority, John Holland Group, Caterpillar of Australia, Hastings Deering (Australia) and BM Alliance Coal Operations,” he said.
Mr Truss also recognised Senator Boswell for his long-standing support of this Regional Partnerships project.
“Senator Boswell has followed this project with interest and has done a lot of work himself to bring the idea to fruition,” he said.
The Regional Partnerships program continues the Australian Government’s approach of working with local communities to support their ideas. A total of $360.9 million is available under the Regional Partnerships program from 2005–06 to 2008–09.
Senator Boswell said the Regional Partnerships program would deliver benefits to communities well into the future, not only from program funding, but from the higher levels of economic activity and improved social amenity which the program was generating.
“Since its inception in July 2003, the Regional Partnerships program has, on average, attracted a further three dollars from other sources for every dollar invested by the Australian Government,” he said.
Communities should contact their local Area Consultative Committee* if they wish to seek funding through the Regional Partnerships program.
*For further information go to www.regionalpartnerships.gov.au
Kylie Butler (Mr Truss’s office) 0417 652 488
Paul Leven (Senator Boswell’s office) 0428 714 779