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The Hon Dr Sharman Stone
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Murray
28 March 2002
Embargo - 10am Thursday March 28th
More than $480,000 in Commonwealth grants will go to help conserve another nineteen historic hotels around Australia.
Details of further grants under the Government's Rural and Regional Historic Hotels Program were announced today by Dr Sharman Stone, Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage at O'Keefe's Hotel in Launceston.
"These grants will help maintain the character and in some places guarantee the future of many historic pubs around Australia," Dr Stone said.
"Country pubs have been part of Australia's economic and social life for almost two hundred years. They have played a special part in shaping Australia's attitude to eating out, meeting together and building a sense of community".
"This is the completion of the first round of grants to be awarded under the $5 million Commonwealth program, which was designed to help restore and repair hotels by repairing roofs, verandahs, original facades and interior designs".
The fund was originally made available when excise levied on draught beer was reduced, leaving a pot of money already collected. Some was committed to programs relating to drinking problem prevention and the rest into helping to restore old country pubs that did not have access to gaming machine revenue.
"Many of these old country buildings have suffered from the contracting populations and now find it hard to compete with poker machines in larger centres".
Dr Stone said that The Royal Hotel, Mirrool, New South Wales, had been awarded $61 000 to carry out interior and exterior conservation work.
"The local community has demonstrated just how much it values this place," Dr Stone said.
"Fourteen local farming families recently banded together to purchase the hotel as a joint venture so that they could maintain a vital part of their heritage and economy."
The eighty-nine year old hotel dates back to the development of the wheat industry in the area, opening when the railway lines first came through Mirrool.
"Seven Victorian hotels will receive a total of $142 084," Dr Stone said.
"A grant of $41 000 will go to restoring the verandahs and bollards of the Railway Hotel, Warragul. This pub is part of the Queen Street Heritage Precinct, and is highly valued by the local community as an integral part of the town's character and amenity".
Grants in other states include:
Grants awarded under the program range from $5000 to more than $100 000, and are to be matched, in cash or kind, by contributions from each hotel owner.
Criteria to be eligible for the grants included that the hotel be in a regional or rural area, be over 50 years old or entered on a Commonwealth, State, Territory local government or National Trust for their historical significance, still be licensed and of value to the local community.
A list of grant recipients in all states is attached.
For more information:
Simon Frost 0419 495 468
Thursday March 28th, 2002
NEW SOUTH WALES