A team of tourism experts from Griffith University has secured an $8.2 million Commonwealth grant in partnership with the Etheridge Shire as part of the Federal Government’s Growing Regions Program.

GIFT Associate Professor Anna Kralj.

The grant awarded to Etheridge Shire Council resulted from a four-year collaboration between the Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT), Council, the local community, and key stakeholder groups to develop a tourism directions paper and tourism master plan aimed at driving sustainable tourism and diversifying the local economy to deliver economic and social benefits for the region.

The $8.2 million grant embeds $800,000 for GIFT research and engagement led by Associate Professor Anna Kralj, Professor Brent Moyle, Professor Karine Dupre, and Dr Truc Le.

Associate Professor Kralj said: “We are thrilled to celebrate this win for Etheridge Shire, and we are excited to continue our collaboration with the local community to bring their vision to life.”

“The Savannah Way is a major north Australian passage of travel which connects Cairns to Broome and has the potential to become one of the great tourism driving routes in the world, Australia’s route 66”.

Griffith Institute for Tourism Professor Brent Moyle

The grant will fund the construction of tourism infrastructure along the Savannah Way to attract travellers to the region and will include:

  • An extension to the Terrestrial Centre in Georgetown to showcase the largest collection of minerals in the southern hemisphere
  • Construction of a bird sanctuary viewing hub, boardwalk and bird viewing tower at Cumberland Dam
  • Development of the Einasleigh People’s Museum at Copperfield Gorge
  • The creation of ‘Our Elders Trail’ in Georgetown
GIFT Professor Brent Moyle and Etheridge Shire Council Chief Executive Officer, Ken Timms (PSM).

Etheridge Shire Council Mayor Barry Hughes said the project has the capacity to deliver a lifelong impression with legacy infrastructure.

“Projects that flow from such successful outcomes bring about generational change and transitional benefits to communities such as ours,” Mayor Hughes said.

Etheridge Shire Council Chief Executive Officer, Ken Timms (PSM) said he is ”over the moon” with the news.

“The long-term collaboration with Griffith University has yielded outcomes that will not only present unique tourism economic development opportunities but will enhance the wellbeing of remote communities in the shire,” Mr Timms said.

Professor Dupre would like to thank her exceptionally talented team of architecture students for delivering the Masterplan for Etheridge Shire Council and the vision for these new tourism landmarks.

The Griffith team would also like to thank Xzibit Pty Ltd for its expert concept designs that supported the grant application led by Griffith.

11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
UN Sustainable Development Goals 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
UN Sustainable Development Goals 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
UN Sustainable Development Goals 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure