Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development Launches Two New Tourism Products in Bundaberg Region

Two multi-million dollar tourism infrastructure projects were launched in Bundaberg this week to drive strong visitation to the destination as part of the tourism industry's economic recovery from Covid-19.

Lady Musgrave HQ pontoon and Macadamias Australia's new tourism experience and cafe received combined funding of over $2.5million from the Queensland Government's Growing Tourism Infrastructure Program and will support 34 new jobs for the region.

Tourism infrastructure projects are an important part of the state’s Economic Recovery Plan – helping to create jobs and revenue that will see Queensland rebuild and recovery in coming months.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said “We made a deliberate decision to invest in infrastructure because we know that in the long-term, this is vital to supporting tourism jobs in regional Queensland,” the Premier said.

“Thanks to the government’s investment, we’re seeing a number of projects come online at a time operators need them most.

“This will help our tourism industry to rebuild and recover in the months and years to come.”

LMHQ Official Launch
Nicola Scurr (GAPDL), Gus Stedman (GAPDL), Katherine Reid (BT), Brett Lakey (LME), Assistant Minister Healy & Sally Trestail (TEQ) on the Lady Musgrave HQ Pontoon

Lady Musgrave HQ Pontoon

On Monday 18 October, Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development Michael Healy officially opened and inspected the new $3.6 million Lady Musgrave HQ Pontoon at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, more than 90 kilometres north of Bundaberg.

Mr Healy said the new three level 35 metre by 12 metre structure would be a gamechanger for the operator, Lady Musgrave Experience, and the Bundaberg region. "Not only will visitors be offered memorable snorkelling and diving experiences, they will also have the opportunity to sleep on the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone needs to visit our internationally renowned natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef. And this new pontoon, situated at Lady Musgrave Island, offers patrons multiple new experiences to savour.

“The government, through the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund, provided $1.6 million to Lady Musgrave Experience to build this pontoon,’ he said. “Apart from being able to cater for up to 350-day visitors to the reef, the pontoon also boasts an underwater observatory and upper deck sleeping accommodation. “The underwater element offers up to 20 people king-size bunk style berths while the upper deck offers eight queen size glamping tents providing comfort for up to 16 people.

“This pontoon has all the modern conveniences. “The two open air levels will host a bar/kiosk area, undercover seating and tables, showers and toilet amenities, snorkelling and diving stations with large in water access via platform areas. The pontoon is environmentally-friendly, powered by a 52-kilowatt battery bank which is kept charged by wind generators and solar panels.”

Prior to the COVD-19 global pandemic, this new attraction was forecast to deliver an extra 16,000 visitors and pump $1.84 million a year into the region.

Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith said the Lady Musgrave Island Pontoon would be a drawcard for the local tourism industry. “We understand that infrastructure means jobs. That’s why we’re backing projects like this – to help drive our economic recovery into the future,” he said. “Tourism is a cornerstone of our local economy. As restrictions ease in the future, having new attractions that will entice more tourists to Bundaberg is extremely important. This project is world class. I encourage all Queenslanders to come to the best destination in Queensland and experience everything the Bundaberg region has to offer.”

Lady Musgrave Experience’s Director, Brett Lakey said initial bookings have been great with two to three months of forward bookings keeping the office staff busy. “It’s amazing to see the level of support we’ve had from the local community and Queenslanders wanting to discover their own backyard. The pontoon was built across two years in 2020/2021 and provided six construction jobs and was expected to provide up to 14 operational full-time jobs with many more possibilities ahead.”

Macadamias Australia Launch
Janelle Gerry (Macadamias Australia) & Assistant Minister Healy at Macadamias Australia

Macadamias Australia Tourism Experience

On Tuesday 19 October, Macadamias Australia's farm-to-fork tourism experience was officially opened by the Assistant Minister for Tourism Industry Development Michael Healy, with the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund investing $936,450 in the Experience.

"This is a new visitor attraction for Bundaberg and the Southern Great Barrier Reef for those with an appreciate for fresh food that you won't find anywhere else is Australia," said Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith.  "Macadamias Australia's world-class centre is next to a working macadamia farm and gives visitors the opportunity to pick their own, be intrigued by the export processing plant and enjoy macadamia creations and gourmet local produce in the cafe or event space."

"Not everybody realises macadamia nuts are native to the Bundaberg region and were an important food source for First Nations Australians.  Bundaberg is one of Australia's biggest exporters of macadamias to the world, particularly Asia, and is capable of producing 20,000 tonnes of nuts.  The Macadamias Australia experience is predicted to grow to a $38 million a year enterprise for the recovery of Bundaberg's visitor economy."

Mr Healy said construction of the new 680m2 complex had supported local trades: "Creating this unique macadamia experience visitor centre created work for 37 tradies when they needed it most and has the potential to support 20 operational jobs for the tourism industry.  This is tourism infrastructure that will deliver a fresh experience for Queensland and interstate visitors.  We think it will also be a favourite with overseas tour groups once it's safe to reopen Australia's international border.

"Before Covid-19, almost 2.5million tourists visited Bundaberg and the Southern Great Barrier Reef.  With new attractions like the Macadamias Australia Experience coming online, we're confident of building up to an extra 72,000 visitors for the Bundaberg region.  This is a terrific farm-to-fork attraction that's worthy of visitor bucket lists."

Macadamia Australia’s Director, Janelle Gerry said the family business established in 1958 was proud to contribute to the Bundaberg region.

“Our family is looking forward to adding this new seven day a week visitor experience and cafe to the region’s growing tourism offering,” Ms Gerry said. “To work alongside the iconic brands of Bundaberg to showcase what’s grown, made and produced right here in our backyard is something that we’re really proud of as a second-generation farming family.”

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Macadamia Australia was one of several operations supported by the Palaszczuk Government’s Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund.

“The pandemic has been a difficult time for tourism operators which is why we’ve committed more than $1 billion in direct support for the industry,” Mr Hinchliffe said.  “Our Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund has helped businesses like Macadamia Australia to rebuild better for the future, beyond the pandemic.  Congratulations to the Steinhardt family on an exciting new venture for Bundaberg tourism.” 

  Breakfast with AMinister Healy
Member for Bundaberg Tom Smith, Ben Artup (BRC), Ellie Tonkin (BT), Katherine Reid (BT), Assistant Minister Healy, Joey Caruana (Windmill Cafe), Warrick Wright (BBD) & Sally Trestail (TEQ) at a VIP networking breakfast at H2O, Bundaberg