Construction on the new world-class Mon Repos Turtle Centre has been completed – just in time for this year’s turtle season.
Inspecting the newly-completed centre today, Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad and Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said the project had already injected millions of dollars to the Bundaberg economy throughout its construction.
The Deputy Premier said more than $22 million had been invested in the redevelopment project, including more than $17 million from the Palaszczuk Government, and most of the construction contracts were awarded to local firms.
“The project has contributed more than 45 full-time jobs to the Bundaberg economy, and well over 100 local tradies – from carpenters, floor layers, cabinet makers, plumbers, electricians, landscapers and concreters – have been involved throughout the construction of the centre,” Ms Trad said.
“We’re engaging with First Nations organisations for commercial and cultural opportunities at the new centre, which will be opening in the coming weeks.
“Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) have also employed five new rangers to work in the new centre during the peak turtle nesting season.
“Once opened, the Bundaberg community will continue to benefit as the centre will inject millions of tourism dollars to the local economy, while promoting the importance of turtle conservation.”
Minister Enoch said Mon Repos is home to the largest population of nesting loggerhead turtles in the South Pacific and the centre will play a crucial part in the survival of this endangered turtle.
“The centre will offer a year-round state-of-the-art experience, with touch screen televisions, vivid displays, an immersive theatre room and interpretive signage,” Ms Enoch said.
“This redevelopment now provides a contemporary ecotourism experience that allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in marine turtle research and conservation.
“The design of the centre was carefully considered to ensure the building is ecologically sustainable, long-lasting and had minimal impact on the surrounding environment.”
Minister Enoch said the new building is located behind sand dunes, which provide a natural light shield between the building and the beach to reduce light spill which can disorientate turtle hatchlings.
“The turtle tours offered at Mon Repos are world famous. More than 30,000 people visit the centre each year to experience the wonder of seeing a turtle lay her eggs, or to witness hundreds of tiny hatchlings emerging from their nest and making a dash into the ocean for the very first time.
“The first turtle of the season – a 70-year-old female flatback – has already made her arrival, coming ashore on 16 October for her 17th breeding season here at Mon Repos.
“During the peak of the season, up to 20 turtles a night will come ashore to nest on the 1.5 kilometre sandy beach.”
Turtle tours run from November to March each year, with the Nightly Turtle Encounter tours starting on 9 November. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased from https://www.bundabergregion.org/turtles.
The new Mon Repos Turtle Centre will be open for night tours from 9 November and day tours from 18 November. An official opening is planned for 23 November.
The Bundaberg community will have an opportunity to join rangers for a fun-filled community day to acknowledge the important work the Bundaberg community do to promote turtle conservation. Open days will be held on Sunday 24 November and Sunday 8 December.
More information about the Mon Repos Turtle Centre redevelopment and the turtle tours is available at https://parks.des.qld.gov.au/parks/mon-repos/.
Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad
Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch