Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones has today announced the preferred tenderer to start construction on the Cooloola Great Walk – the first ecotourism trail ever to be delivered by the Queensland Government.
Ms Jones revealed CABN, Australian experts in eco-friendly, off-grid, nature-based accommodation, would deliver new tourism infrastructure at Cooloola.
“This is about creating local jobs in the tourism industry,” Ms Jones said.
“Cooloola is one of the most picturesque places in Australia. With the right infrastructure, it has the potential to be a world-class tourism attraction.
“We want to attract thousands more eco tourists to the region but it’s important we strike the right balance and preserve the natural environment.
“CABN is already working closely with Kabi Kabi – the Traditional Owners - to feature their sustainable cabins along the trail.
“CABN’s simple approach is what we want – locally-sourced materials designed to make as little impact on the environment as possible while adopting a ‘leave no trace’ philosophy.”
Early estimates show the Cooloola Great Walk could create dozens of jobs and attract tourists from across the world seeking an ecotourism or wellness experience.
Construction is likely to be complete in late 2020.
“This project means jobs for people on the Sunshine Coast,” Ms Jones said.
“During construction we’re talking about building contractors and carpenters. Then once the trail is up and running we’ll need tour guides, chefs and cleaners.”
CABN currently operates in South Australia and Victoria, and now plans to establish a manufacturing facility in the Noosa hinterland as part of its successful delivery of the Cooloola project.
Kabi Kabi representative Brian Warner said the Traditional Owners of the land had already had good engagement with the short-listed proponents in the ecotourism process.
“Our links here are over thousands and thousands of years and from now can help better tell that great story to the world,” said Mr Warner.
“We look forward to working closely with CABN in allowing more people to enjoy our great country and story.
“We want to offer an authentic eco-tourism product for local and international travellers to experience one of Queensland's most environmentally significant and popular tourist areas.
“At the same time we want a minimal impact on the habitat that fosters cultural understanding, appreciation and conservation of the environment".
CABN CEO Michael Lamprell said that CABN is excited to propose a world class eco-tourism, nature based walk experience, working with the Kabi Kabi.
“CABN is looking to connect people back to nature, create better work-life balance, build off grid first-class facilities and create a positive impact on the wellbeing of all who experience the Cooloola Great Walk,” he said.
CABN has been working with Traditional Owners for many months and consultation will now commence with the local community and potential suppliers.
Member for Noosa Sandy Bolton said the Cooloola Great Walk was an opportunity to demonstrate how to share a magical destination without destroying the very essence of why it is so special, and the unique experiences that visitors are seeking.
“It has been heartening to see any concerns being addressed along this journey, and to ensure that the wellbeing benefits for Noosa and all of its inhabitants, furry, feathered or otherwise, has been foremost throughout,” she said.
“I look forward to joining our Kabi Kabi, the Department and environmentalists on a visit to the sites, and hear more on the many exciting aspects and opportunities, including the sharing of traditional knowledge”.
“We need more projects in our community that will create jobs for locals, enhance, protect and educate, as well promote sharing of space that has that special ethos of leaving no trace.
The Cooloola Great Walk can be a leading example, and it has been fabulous to have the support from government in understanding how important this is for Noosa.”
For more information, visit www.ditid.qld.gov.au/tourism/special-projects/queensland-ecotourism-trail
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for Cross River Rail
The Honourable Kate Jones