March 31, 2017

LITTLE PENGUINS TO BRING THOUSANDS OF HAPPY FEET TO BALLARAT

Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard represented the Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford to announce support to establish a Little Penguins attraction at the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

The new exhibit supported by a $162,000 grant from the $103 million Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund will create nine new jobs and attract new tourists to Ballarat.

Mr Howard said that the project will not only capitalise on the rapidly growing interest in nature tourism but will play an important role in the conservation effort to protect this species of penguin.

“This exhibit will help to attract more international, interstate and local visitors to the Park and the region,” Mr Howard said.

“With more people coming to the see the Little Penguins, the project will increase employment opportunities in Ballarat’s cafes, hotels and retail shops.

“The enclosure that will be home to a colony of the world’s smallest penguin will include an underwater viewing panel to give visitors an eye-to-eye experience and an insight into the penguin’s underwater activities.

“Little Penguins face a number of threats in the wild, and this exhibit will allow Ballarat Wildlife Park to contribute to the conservation of this iconic species and help maintain a breeding population.”

The Ballarat Wildlife Park currently receives 80,000 visitors annually, which is expected to increase to 140,000 within five years of the penguin enclosure opening

The Minister for Agriculture and Regional Development Jaala Pulford said the visitor economy is crucial to the future economic development of regional and rural Victoria with the sector contributing $11.5 billion to the regional economy and generating 114,400 jobs annually.

“We’re accelerating the delivery of investment ready, high impact tourism projects that will help drive visitation to regional Victoria, create jobs and boost the economy,” Ms Pulford concluded.