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Senator The Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

EMBARGO: 8.00PM 22 MAY 2001



Vital works to protect and conserve Australia's heritage places for future generations are a feature of this year's budget.

Historic hotels in rural and regional Australia will benefit from a $5 million grant program for restoration and preservation projects.

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Senator Robert Hill said the funding will be critical in protecting these historic hotels.

"Many of these buildings, which are often a charming and integral part of Australia's rural and regional towns, are in need of restoration," Senator Hill said.

"The grants available under the program will support hotels without gaming machines in works to conserve historic features.

"The works will preserve rural and regional heritage and encourage heritage tourism to rural and regional Australia which will stimulate further jobs and economic activity."

Another $5 million budget allocation will go to the Goondiwindi Town Council towards the construction of a waterpark at Serpentine Lagoon at Goondiwindi in Queensland.

"This new recreational facility will replace Boobera Lagoon, near Goondiwindi, as a venue for powerboats," Senator Hill said.

"Boobera Lagoon is a significant Indigenous heritage place and is to be closed to powerboats in 2002.

"The new waterpark will protect Boobera Lagoon's Indigenous heritage significance while ensuring that the recreational needs of the wider community are addressed."

The Government has also continued funding support to local government, community groups and private owners for the protection of heritage places.

"The identification, conservation and restoration of Australia's places of cultural heritage significance is a partnership between government, local community groups and private owners of heritage places.

"The Government has provided funding to continue its program to protect these important sites beyond 2001-02."

Belinda Huppatz (02) 6277 7640 or 0419 258 364

Commonwealth of Australia