The Cowarra State Forest Tourism precinct, now officially named Guulabaa (Place of Koala), has been given another boost of funding to deliver a hub that will be the "heart of the precinct".
The $3 million in funding through Stage Two of the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund will enable sealed roads, additional carparking, a water tank mural, café and seating area, an amphitheatre and elevated boardwalk to be constructed in the precinct.
Federal Member for Lyne, Dr David Gillespie, and State Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams, said the funding will enable this important project to deliver infrastructure improvements and community outcomes.
Dr Gillespie said the site is one a lot of people will enjoy visiting once it is established.
"Creating this nature-based tourism precinct will draw people to the region, support primary industries, create jobs and enhance economic and social recovery," he said.
"No one will forget the bushfires in late 2019 and early 2020 and the devastation that they brought to this area. This announcement is just one part of the recovery journey as we continue to rebuild."
Part of the project will include the development of a 'net park' tree canopy experience by Wildnets Adventure. The site will also promote sustainability including the importance of sustainable forest management and timber grown and produced in the local region.
The facility will also become important for the rehabilitation and breeding of wild koalas and will showcase local Biripi culture supporting Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council run businesses.
Works on creating road access and the installation of the tree canopy experience is expected to begin in the coming months.
Mrs Williams said she believes the establishment of the tourism precinct in the Cowarra State Forest is one of the most exciting projects underway in the electorate.
"It's such a collaborative project and there are a number of people and organisations who have come on board," she said.
"This funding will ensure that the creative vision of the partners developing the precinct can be realised. This includes the design by world renowned Architect Professor Ken McBryde for a public space in the heart of the precinct."
The additional $3 million in funding announced on Thursday, July 29, builds on the $2.1 million from the NSW Government's Regional Growth - Environment and Tourism Fund for the project that was announced last year.
"This project is so unique and will showcase our iconic koalas and Indigenous culture and will have something for everyone," Mrs Williams said.
Senior manager of Stewardship Forestry Corporation of NSW, Kathy Lyons, said the upgrades will allow the development of the precinct into a world-class tourism asset for the local community while supporting local koala care.
"The precinct will provide the opportunity for locals and visitors to learn about old and new land management practices including the use of traditional Aboriginal management practices such as cultural burning in a contemporary setting and how Forestry Corporation manages State forests.
"Our aspirations for this tourism precinct keep getting bigger and better and now we have a plan for a hub that will be the heart of the precinct," she said.
"We have future aspirations to hopefully include a gallery and a function centre here as well."
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