TOURISM BOOST: Leanne Donaldson with a life-size loggerhead replica at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre.
TOURISM BOOST: Leanne Donaldson with a life-size loggerhead replica at the Mon Repos Turtle Centre. Eliza Goetze

$10m for Mon Repos to be turtle-y revamped

IT BRINGS in 30,000 visitors between December and March, and now the State Government wants to boost that figure all year round with the announcement of $10 million to expand the Mon Repos Turtle Centre.

Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson was at the centre to announce the "world class" upgrade from the 2016 State Budget.

"I'm thrilled this project has been recognised front and centre in this year's budget," Ms Donaldson said.

"Other than the roof over the amphitheatre, this building hasn't had any work done to it since (its construction in) 1994.

"It will be a fantastic redevelopment that will allow more people to enjoy and learn about turtles, and also enhance the research capabilities."

The plan is now in the concept stage but the existing centre is set to be transformed into a bigger facility with additions including a cafe.

"The money it will bring from tourism will help local hospitality and accommodation providers and hopefully it will encourage people to stay that extra couple of days to enjoy our other facilities.

"All of our other attractions will benefit here from tourist numbers."

The building will be sustainable, Ms Donaldson said, ensuring minimal lighting in line with turtle safety guidelines.

The Department of Environment and Heritage Protection will work with the Planning Department on the design.

Ms Donaldson said she would not reveal any other budget announcements ahead of next week, saying "I'm very hopeful and very positive".

"We've already seen significant funding for domestic violence and other services."

The Mon Repos upgrade has been in the pipeline for years, with community workshops held and an artist's impression produced in 2014.

This year, Flight Centre billed Bundaberg as No. 6 in its Australia's top ten destinations, saying "more Aussies are taking advantage of Bundaberg's laidback appeal and easy access to the country's largest concentration of nesting marine turtles".



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