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Proserpine is the small town that keeps batting above its weight after landing $3.15 million in funding for the exciting Lake Proserpine Barramundi Fishing and Recreational project.
Mayor Andrew Willcox and Deputy Mayor John Collins said in January they were embarking on a fishing trip to hook extra funding to kick start the Lake Proserpine Master Plan project.
Yesterday they landed the big one that didn’t get away when the Palaszczuk Government announced $1.5 million funding from their Building our Regions (BoR) program.
Mayor Willcox said this would bolster Council’s $650,000 in capital funds and $1 million from the Queensland and Commonwealth Government’s jointly funded Tourism Recovery Fund.
“To turn $650,000 of our money into $3.15 million is the perfect outcome for our community,” he said.
“This increased funding will help Council on our mission to put the Whitsunday region on the global fishing map.
“As a keen fisherman myself, I am thrilled the Queensland Government has recognised the beauty and potential of Lake Proserpine as Australia’s best impounded barramundi fishing destination.
“A huge thanks to the Palaszczuk Government as this BoR funding will provide the Whitsundays with critical infrastructure to develop an iconic fishing experience.
“Our ultimate aim is to make Lake Proserpine a tourism hotspot attracting more tourists to the region with flow-on benefits including local jobs.”
Deputy Mayor Collins said Council had developed a clear vision for establishing and improving recreational and tourist facilities at Lake Proserpine and had proactively leveraged external funding opportunities.
“This Lake Proserpine Master Plan is an exciting step toward making Proserpine an even stronger regional town within the Whitsunday region and making it a fishing hotspot both nationally and internationally.
“Hot on the heels of $10 million for the Proserpine Administration Building and $10 million for a new PEC the future looks bright as this huge investment in infrastructure means jobs for our community.
“Every extra dollar we attract from external sources allows us to be able to do more of the staged Master Plan so any time Council can turn $650,000 into $3 million is a great outcome,” he said.
Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the investment will help cement Lake Proserpine as one of Australia’s best barramundi fishing destinations.
“Through the first three rounds of BoR, Whitsunday Regional Council has received $5,107,500 for three projects, supporting around 32 construction jobs,” Ms Gilbert said.
“Lake Proserpine is undoubtedly one of Queensland’s finest fishing jewels and a big regional drawcard for local and visiting fishers.
“However, the lake has untapped potential to be an international drawcard for anglers looking for the ultimate fishing experience, offering higher catch rates and larger median fish sizes than anywhere in Australia.
“Fishing is the largest driver of domestic leisure tourism in Australia, and demand for fishing experiences has grown 36 per cent in the past three years.
“This project will help the Whitsunday region capture a greater share of this market, with the project including a pontoon, new carparks, toilets and showers, a washdown facility, walking and bike tracks, and upgrades to electricity.”
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the site also offers opportunities for outdoor activities, potentially attracting a wider range of sporting and recreational enthusiasts.
“The improved infrastructure will entice more visitors to extend their stay and enjoy the mainland, rather than simply holidaying on the coast or islands,” Mr Dick said.
“With an airport and cruise ship port less than an hour’s drive away, Lake Proserpine also has a comparative advantage over many other fishing lakes in Australia.”
Future recreational uses within the Masterplan include:
1) Camping and low impact accommodation facilities. i.e RV parking, cabins andglamping2) Upgraded recreational facilities and overflow parking areas3) Central gathering area / amphitheatre for events4) Pontoons for enhanced access between the water and landside areas5) Enhanced arrival and information facility6) Upgraded boat ramp and parking areas