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$2 million for tourism, jobs, and conservation in the Otways

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The injection of $2 million of Federal Government funding into a local ecotourism experience will allow its operators to give back to the local community faster.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to receive this support and generous funding for ‘Wildlife Wonders’ through the Regional Jobs and Investment Package” says Conservation Ecology Centre CEO Lizzie Corke.

“This is an investment in local jobs, but it’s also an investment in the future of the Otways, for tourists and our native species. As soon as Wildlife Wonders makes a profit, we’ll be putting that back into the community, and that will happen faster thanks to this support,” she says.

Wildlife Wonders will offer visitors to the Great Ocean Road unsurpassed opportunities to observe and photograph the iconic animals of the area in a natural, predator-free setting. It will also deliver ongoing and sustainable economic and environmental benefits to the region in the long-term:

  • Generating at least 44 jobs during construction and 35 new full-time positions in both ecotourism and conservation once operational, resulting in significant ongoing employment and career development opportunities.
  • Enhancing the visitor experience of the Great Ocean Road and directly increasing length of stay and spend.
  • Providing a leading example of a social enterprise, generating a sustainable revenue stream and delivering increased capacity for a non-profit organisation dedicated to environmental conservation.

All profits generated through Wildlife Wonders will support conservation of region’s flora and fauna though investment in ecosystem restoration, ecological research, species recovery programs, community education programs, and community skills development.

“We’re already researching threatened species such as the Tiger Quoll and the Long-nosed Potoroo, improving woodland habitat for koalas, working with Parks Victoria to better understand how foxes impact our native species, and much more,” says Lizzie.

“Wildlife Wonders provides us with an amazing opportunity to boost our effort to better understand and protect the very species we will be showcasing.”

“Balancing tourism with conserving the natural beauty people come here for is a big challenge for the Great Ocean Road, but we believe passionately they can support one another.”

The funding was announced by the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Minister John McVeigh, and local MP Sarah Henderson.

Read the media release.

Media contacts:

  • Lizzie Corke, CEO, Conservation Ecology Centre, 0438 132 764, lizzie@conservationecologycentre.org
  • Toni Stevens, Communication Coordinator, Conservation Ecology Centre, 0401763130

About Wildlife Wonders

Wildlife Wonders will offer visitors to the Great Ocean Road unsurpassed opportunities to observe and photograph the iconic animals of the area in a natural, predator-free setting.

Accompanied by a qualified conservationist guide, visitors will be able to see koalas doze in the treetops, potoroos and bandicoots forage on the ferny forest floors and kangaroos hop along the horizon against a spectacular ocean vista.

The experience will be designed and created by Brian Massey, who was the Greens Master for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, Art Director of ‘The Hobbit’ and landscape designer of the highly successful ‘Hobbiton’ in New Zealand. In addition to the walking path, the project includes a themed ‘field-research base’; visitor arrivals building; and a café and retail outlet showcasing local products.

It is expected to open in December 2018.

About the Conservation Ecology Centre

The Conservation Ecology Centre is a nationally registered non-profit conservation and ecological research organisation dedicated to conserving and understanding the flora and fauna of the Otways. The Centre established the Great Ocean Ecolodge in 2004 and has operated this business as a social enterprise to support its work in conservation for over 13 years. The Ecolodge has maintained the highest level of certification from Ecotourism Australia since this time and has earned significant recognition including being named as one of the 25 best ecolodges in the world by National Geographic Traveller. More at: www.conservationecologycentre.org

Banner image: credit Doug Gimesy