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Regional Growth Fund promotes indigenous tourism in Bendigo

Wednesday, 22 January 2014
The Victorian Coalition Government is supporting the growth of Indigenous tourism in Central Victoria by investing almost $30,000 from the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund to investigate new tourism opportunities.
 
Representing Deputy Premier Peter Ryan in Bendigo, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Jeanette Powell today announced the Coalition Government’s Regional Growth Fund investment of $29,400 towards the $39,200 the Central Victoria Indigenous Tourism Feasibility Study.
 
This funding compliments the Native Title Settlement Agreement and the Victorian government’s commitment to ensuring the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation’s ongoing financial sustainability.
 
Mrs Powell said the study would be carried out by Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and its subsidiary business, Dja Dja Wurrung Enterprises Pty Ltd, in partnership with Bendigo Coachlines and Bendigo Regional Tourism Board.
 
“Indigenous tourism is growing and in demand among international visitors to Australia,” Mrs Powell said.
 
“The Dja Dja Wurrung clan has a long connection with central Victoria but there are no dedicated tourism services to showcase their cultural heritage to local, interstate or international visitors to the region.
 
“The Dja Dja Wurrung clan see this project as a way to protect their culture and promote job opportunities for the indigenous community.”
 
Mrs Powell was joined in Bendigo for the announcement by members for Northern Victoria, Damian Drum, Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development,and Amanda Millar. 
 
Mrs Powell said the landscape of central Victoria had a number of sites of cultural significance to the Dja Dja Wurrung people.
 
“Mount Alexander, Mount Tarrengower and Mount Kooyoora hosted Aboriginal meetings and ceremonies, while Lake Boort has one of the largest concentrations of scar trees in South East Australia,” Mrs Powell said.
 
“There are many stories and intriguing insights into indigenous culture in Central Victoria that complement these scenic areas and this project will seek to identify these opportunities.
 
“This may include coach tour packages which showcase the region’s Aboriginal cultural heritage and in doing so provide new economic and employment opportunities for local indigenous people.”
 
Mrs Powell said in addition to the Coalition Government’s $29,400 Regional Growth Fund investment, project partners Dja Dja Wurrung Enterprises Pty Ltd contributed $1,800, Bendigo Coachlines $1,500 and Bendigo Regional Tourism $6,500.
 
Mrs Powell said the Central Victoria Indigenous Tourism Feasibility Study would be completed by May.
 
Mr Ryan said the Coalition Government’s support was another example of the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund supporting local initiatives that create jobs and investment in regional and rural Victoria.
 
“Since it was established in early 2011, the Regional Growth Fund has provided more than $365 million to support almost 1250 projects across regional and rural Victoria, leveraging around $1.5 billion in total investment,” Mr Ryan said. 
 
Mr Ryan said in the City of Greater Bendigo the Regional Growth Fund had provided more than $13 million toward 20 projects, leveraging almost $55 million in total investment. Those projects included:
  • $3 million for the $25.8 million Sandhurst Theatre Complex;
  • $2 million for the $9.12 million Bendigo Library/Community Hub; and
  • $200,000 for the $756,000 Safe Transport Space.

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