Mine revamp to boost tourism

Open for business: Bass MLA Ken Smith cuts the ribbon opening the new facilities at the State Coal Mine in Wonthaggi alongside State Coal Mine operations manager Braxton Laine, volunteer Jack Blundell and Parks Victoria chief ranger Roger Fenwick.

PARKS Victoria aims to attract around 30,000 more visitors a year to the State Coal Mine following a $3 million upgrade.
The attraction now features a new skip and winder vehicle, which safely transports up to 18 passengers out of the underground tour, as well as a new visitor’s centre, theatrette cafe, retail store and improvements to the interpretive trails, landscaping and picnic and barbecue area.
At the official opening of the revamped attraction, and the reopening of the underground tours, Bass MLA Ken Smith, who unveiled the major improvements, said he hoped up to 50,000 people would visit over the next 12 months.
With around one million tourists visiting Phillip Island every year, Mr Smith said the mine should aim to attract at least five per cent of those tourists, rather than the current two per cent.
“The State Coal Mine in Wonthaggi is a historically significant site that showcases an important part of Victoria’s cultural heritage,” he said.
““I encourage past and new visitors to come and explore this historic Gippsland attraction which will provide a fun day out for the whole family.”
Parks Victoria staff and Friends of the State Coal Mine volunteers were thrilled to have the underground tours reopened after new safety requirements forced them to shut the gates in 2004.
Funding from both the Federal and State Governments enabled Parks Victoria to upgrade the facilities to meet the current standards.
Parks Victoria regional manager Andrew Marshall gave credit to the volunteers, whose work was behind getting the tours back up and running.
“Government and agencies can only do so much, and we can only do the work if we have good people who are dedicated and passionate about the cause,” he said.
“The work our volunteers do here is the equivalent to having six full time staff on every year.”
Mr Smith also thanked the dedicated volunteers, who work more than 1500 hours each year, including undertaking mine maintenance once a week.
He also congratulated the State Coal Mine operations manager Braxton Laine, without whom he said, the whole project would have “fallen over”.
Bass Coast Council mayor, Cr Veronica Dowman said the reopening of the underground tours would benefit the region’s tourism.
“It will be a boom to our local economy and tourism; it will attract more people and it’s the only operating mine I know of that people can go into and see for themselves,” she said.
“The work they have done has been worth the wait. It is a beautiful facility and something we can be proud of.”

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=3217

Posted by on Apr 11 2012. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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