Cradle upgrade funding sought

Private investors in a planned upgrade of Cradle Mountain’s tired tourism facilities are growing impatient with a federal government delay in releasing pledged funds, a Tasmanian tourism industry leader says.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin said highly motivated investors wanted the funds made available to provide greater certainty.

Private investors want the federal government to release funding pledged to an upgrade of Cradle Mountain's facilities, Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin says.

Private investors want the federal government to release funding pledged to an upgrade of Cradle Mountain's facilities, Tourism Industry Council Tasmania chief executive Luke Martin says.

“All stakeholders want to know what’s the place, what’s the time, what’s the date,” he said.

“They want to know where it’s going.

“We know there are private investors knocking on the door, we just need to get on with it.”

There was a need for a process by which private investors would know when they would be engaged regarding the project, Mr Martin said.

Stakeholders were lined up to begin the project, including the Cradle Coast Authority, Mr Martin said.

The Coalition pledged $1 million in funding for the Cradle Mountain facilities revamp before it was re-elected in July. 

This was far short of the $30 million the tourism industry had been hoping for, and $15 million that Labor pledged if it was elected.

Tourism Minister Steven Ciobo said the upgrade project was a priority for the government, although he did not specify a timeline for funding delivery.

No one from the private sector had approached him about the urgency of federal funding, he said.

Since the election he had spoken to Tasmanian Liberal senator Eric Abetz about the state’s needs, Mr Ciobo said.

In relation to funding levels, he said the Coalition would keep to the amount it had pledged. 

“The Coalition has taken a more prudent approach, one that recognises we’re running multimillion dollar deficits.”

Industry leaders have hailed Cradle Mountain Master Plan as a tourism game-changer for the state.

The project, based on the master plan, is reliant on private and public funding.

An Alpine wilderness village centre on a disused air strip at Cradle Mountain forms a key part of the master plan.

Research has shown the tourist market share to the mountain is declining.

Deloitte Access Economics research forecasts the Cradle Mountain redevelopment would have an economic impact to the region of up to $29 million per year, based on attracting 59,000 more visitors translating to 102,000 more visitor nights.

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