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Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Dr David Kemp
2 July 2002
The Federal Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Dr David Kemp together with Mrs Kay Elson, Member for Forde today launched the Boonah Shire Ecotourism Project which is the first step in developing a socially responsible accredited tourism industry in the region.
Dr Kemp said that the project had largely been funded by a $208,000 grant from the Regional Assistance Program of the Federal Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, which aims to promote community economic development in regional and rural areas.
"Boonah Shire Council is to be commended for seeking to establish an economically sustainable industry around its unique local heritage assets," Dr Kemp said.
"Rural Australia's natural and cultural places have the potential to lure both national and international tourists but they must be managed carefully to ensure there is no damage to the very qualities that attract these tourists.
"I am pleased to say that Boonah Shire Council has developed a strategy that not only defines what activities are sustainable for the area, but that also requires ecotourism to be considered in the context of other land uses in the shire boundary."
Dr Kemp said that as part of the strategy the Shire had been divided into 11 zones with particular geographical identities. He said the zones would provide manageable identified areas within which ecotourism could be developed.
"These zones will be detailed in a database which will detail the features and potential of each zone to act as an ecotourism site and the database will be publicly accessible at the Boonah Shire Visitor Information Centre or at the Shire Public Library."
Dr Kemp said the strategy would help the Boonah community tap into the tourism potential of the nearby scenic rim, part of the Central Eastern Rainforest Reserve World Heritage Area.
"This area is becoming increasingly popular with local and interstate tourists and Boonah Shire Council has seen opportunities for creating new enterprises which will in turn employ local people."
"The entire approach of the strategy is one that has a great deal of merit and may be of interest to many other regional communities."
The Boonah Shire Ecotourism Strategy is available at www.boonah.net.
Catherine Job (02) 6277 7640 or 0408 648 400