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Federal Government commits to funding Sovereign Hill redevelopment
Major Victorian tourist attraction Sovereign Hill has welcomed a $10.1 million government funding commitment from both the Federal Government and Opposition to help redevelop facilities and exhibitions ahead of its 50th anniversary next year.
The funding, made through the Federal Government's Tourism Icons package, would pay for a masterplan and the first stage of a redevelopment, including improvements to the Gold Museum, an upgrade the entrance building, improved signage as well as enhancing the popular ‘digging area and educational facilities, while also creating a centre of excellence for rare trades.
Federal Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the funding boost for Sovereign Hill would help enhance the visitor experience at one of Australia's famous historical and cultural tourist attractions.
Thousands of school children visit Sovereign Hill each year, and Minister Birmingham said the funding had been allocated towards upgrading exhibits to make them more educational and interactive.
"For almost 50 years it has educated and wooed tens of millions of visitors from around Australia and the world, and this funding boost will help ensure its rich history continues to be shared with future generations," he said.
"Sovereign Hill brings to life Australia's gold rush era through its famous main street, costumed characters and stunning sound-and-light show, and we want to further enhance the visitor experience."
The Federal Opposition has said it would match the funding commitment if elected.
"Sovereign Hill is a major local employer and a major tourism drawcard both nationally and internationally," said Ballarat Labor MP Catherine King.
"Whether it's schoolkids on an excursion, families on holidays, international tourists visiting our city, or locals having a day out - we all love Sovereign Hill and the entertainment and education that it provides.
"Sovereign Hill shows of our local history to the world, and that is why Shorten Labor Government will provide $10 million to upgrade Sovereign Hill's exhibits ahead of its 50th birthday next year."
Sovereign Hill Chief Executive Sara Quon welcomed the funding saying it was an exciting development for the much-loved tourist attraction that would help enhance facilities for visitors ahead of the centre’s 50th anniversary.
"This is an exciting phase of renewal for Sovereign Hill in so many ways with Aura, our new evening experience, just launched to such positive feedback and a robust strategic and master planning process about to start.
"Sovereign Hill is a proud regional non-profit business and continues to focus on evolving our offer for the visitor. This $10.1m investment will be the cornerstone of our next phase and cement our economic and social contribution to Ballarat and Victoria for years to come. We hope that this investment will encourage even more of the Ballarat community to become members and join us on the journey ahead," added Quon.
News of the funding came as Victoria’s tourism minister, Martin Pakula, released figures showing there were 25.7 million domestic visitors to Victoria last year, the highest figure to date. In 2014, Victoria had 19.8 million visitors from within Australia.
The $205 million expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre had helped drive some of the visitor growth by increasing the number of large conferences staged in Victoria.
“More people than ever before are travelling to and around Victoria,” Minister Pakula said.
Sovereign Hill attracted more than 760,000 visitors last year. Last year also saw Sovereign Hill launch its masterplan Sovereign Hill: Beyond 50 project to reshape the attraction for its golden anniversary.
"A long-standing priority for Victorian Tourism Industry Council, the Sovereign Hill: Beyond 50 project will deliver a suite of new and exciting infrastructure to enhance the visitor experience at one of our state's most treasured tourism icons - increasing overnight stay and expenditure throughout the region," said Victorian Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Felicia Mariani.
Image: An artist's impression of what Sovereign Hill will look like after the $10 million upgrade courtesy of Sovereign Hill.
27th March 2019 - Sovereign Hill launches new sound and light show
17th February 2019 - Sovereign Hill has opened its new Play Space
7th November 2018 - New Chief Executive named for Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill
7th June 2017 - VTIC highlights challenges for tourism in regional Victoria
6th April 2017 - Visitor attractions hit by stolen credit card scam
10th December 2013 - New strategy to stimulate tourism to Regional Victoria
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