For the first time in history, several underwater artworks have today been unveiled on the Great Barrier Reef as part of a million-dollar project to grow the Whitsundays tourism industry.
Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones said funding for the project had come from the joint $7 million Tourism Recovery Fund established after Tropical Cyclone Debbie.
“This is about delivering new tourism infrastructure that we know will attract thousands of extra tourists and support local jobs in the Whitsundays,” she said.
“The more people we can inspire to experience the beauty of the Whitsundays the better.
“These awesome sculptures by six Aussie artists will become iconic attractions in years to come.
“Tourism is vital for the Whitsundays economy. That’s why we’re focused on growing this industry to support local businesses.”
Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said the installation of the Whitsundays Public Artwork Project was a major win for the local tourism industry and would help bring more visitors into the region.
“We know the local tourism industry has taken a hit in the wake of Tropical Cyclone Debbie, which is why the Morrison Government backed this unique visitor experience to lure more tourists into the Whitsundays,” he said.
“Securing local jobs is the most important support we can give any local community. This $485,805 in funding through the Queensland Tourism Recovery Package will help to secure more tourism jobs across the Whitsundays into the future,” Minister Birmingham said.
Tourism Whitsundays chair Allen Grundy said today’s announcement was a coup for the Whitsunday region.
“To have a Great Barrier Reef Marine Park first in our backyard is a huge coup for the Whitsunday region. We believe this new tourism offering will be a great drawcard for visitors looking to experience something new,” she said.
“The success of this project is down to the strong collaboration at all levels of government a partnership between Federal, State and Local government as well as the incredible effort by Reef Ecologic. This collaboration has ensured this landmark project has been brought to fruition”.
The sculptures include:
A mauri wrasse at Blue Pearl Bay off Hayman Island (artist Adriaan Vanderlugt)
A manta ray with indigenous markings at Manta Ray Bay (artist Adriaan Vanderlugt)
A manta ray sculpture at Manta Ray Bay off Hook Island and a sculpture title Bywa depicting a Dreamtime story about the reef located at Horseshoe Bay (artist Brian Robinson)
A turtle at Langford Spit (artist Col Henry)
Anthozoa a 20,000 time size sculpture of a single coral polyp to be installed at Blue Pearl Bay (Whitsundays Art Based Collective Caitlin Reilly, Jessa Lloyds and Kate Ford)