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Launch of the Creswick Interpretive Centre.

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Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism

LAUNCH OF THE CRESWICK INTERPRETIVE CENTRE Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for taking the time to come to this important event.

It was 12 months ago that I announced that the Australian Government would provide a grant of $450,000 for the construction of the Creswick Interpretive Centre - and it gives me great pleasure to be with you today.

As you know, Creswick has a rich history and is fast becoming a key destination in this region- something the Novotel Group obviously recognised by developing the Novotel Forest Resort here.

The Australian Government is pleased to support tourism in regional and rural Australia. Tourism is important to these areas- it boosts local trade, creates local jobs, and increases the value of the area's natural and cultural assets.

The Creswick Interpretive Centre plays an important role in helping Creswick celebrate its heritage.

One of the keys to successful regional tourism is to get visitors to stay longer by ensuring they are provided with information about the local region that is accurate and comprehensive.

Centres such as this are known for their ability to encourage visitors to plan their itineraries, stay longer, and to spend more in your local community.

The Australian Government is pleased to support the work of local communities, like yours, who are working hard to improve and showcase their area, while also celebrating their culture and preserving their history and heritage.

This is of course just one of a number of tourism infrastructure projects the Government is supporting.

As our tourism industry - and our wider economy - goes through this difficult period, the Government is investing in strategic infrastructure development to help the industry lay the foundations for the future.

And this is not just about big infrastructure spending - but also about investments in local communities.

Only last week - the Government announced the projects to be included in the $800 million Community Infrastructure Program.

As many of you will already know - Ballarat's Eureka Centre for Democracy will receive $5 million

RET Minister > The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

The Hon Martin Ferguson AM MP

08 May 2009

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under this important program.

These investments are about positioning infrastructure regionally to attract more visitors now and in the future.

The Government is also working hard to encourage Australians to take a local holiday - through the No Leave - No Life campaign.

I actually think it is a disgrace that we have 123 million days of accrued leave owed to Australians, which represents $33 billion in wages.

We need to help employers better manage their workforce and reduce that liability and get it off the books - because as wages go up, so too does that liability.

We'd like to see more Australian's taking holidays in regional areas. To this end, our regional destinations have also been recently given an opportunity for further funding assistance.

I recently launched the Government's TQUAL Grants scheme - which will provide $8.5 million to help develop a more competitive and more innovative industry.

I would encourage all of you - either as operators, or as industry associations - to see whether you can benefit from this new program. This program is designed to assist regions such as this to build on their tourism potential.

So, I congratulate the community of Creswick for developing this centre, and both the Victorian Government and Hepburn Shire Council for getting behind this important tourism initiative.

The Centre will go a long way towards promoting tourism business.

It is important to note that Australian Government Funding has been allocated to the Creswick Interpretive Centre because it aims to benefit not just Creswick - but the entire region.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen, I congratulate everyone involved in the planning and development of this centre - you should all be very proud of your achievements to date.

In the Creswick Interpretive Centre you have a local landmark which will welcome visitors and share the history and activities of your region.

I hope that this milestone leads to a new era for tourism and prosperity in your region.

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