The Cairns Aquarium and Reef Research Centre officially opened today after support from the Turnbull Coalition Government.
Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Steven Ciobo MP, and Northern-based Senator Ian Macdonald opened the Aquarium that houses 15,000 fish and aquatic animals native to Tropical North Queensland across 71 live exhibits.
Minister Ciobo said the new attraction was a welcome addition to the city's world-class tourism infrastructure.
"The opening of the Cairns Aquarium is terrific news for the local tourism industry. The Aquarium's displays will be a great way for visitors to experience what the region has to offer," Minister Ciobo said.
"It will provide a fantastic new experience for both domestic and international visitors to Cairns, and provide an additional way to encounter the spectacular creatures of the Great Barrier Reef," he said.
"The Cairns region already attracts 5 million visitors annually, generating $3.2 billion for the local economy, and is developing new markets through enhanced aviation links with key destinations in Asia."
"Providing the right mix of attractions, accommodation and transport is vital to ensuring Australia's tourism industry continues to thrive and generates more jobs and income for Australians. That is why tourism infrastructure is such a big priority for the Turnbull Coalition Government, which has provided grants, tax incentives and planning assistance to the Cairns Aquarium."
"Warren Entsch has been a passionate advocate for this project. He's shadowed me in the corridors of Parliament like one of the Aquarium's sharks shadows its prey. I know Warren is disappointed he can't be here today, however his work at the United Nations, especially at this time with North Korea and other challenges, is very important."
Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch was pleased to see the project come to fruition.
"I congratulate the Cairns Aquarium on their hard work and determination over the past six years in establishing a state of the art facility, and first of its kind for Cairns," said Mr Entsch.
"It is another bucket list item for locals and tourists to experience, and a major boost for jobs, creating more than 600 during construction and 130 ongoing positions."
Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald said supporting the tourism industry was vital.
"This is the first major public aquarium created in Australia for 17 years and represents a significant investment in the Cairns regional economy. It stands as a testament to the potential of tourism in Northern Australia," Senator Macdonald said.
"I congratulate the co-founders and directors, Daniel Leipnik and Andrew Preston, who have worked tirelessly to make it a reality."
As well as its aquatic displays, the facility will also house a Research Centre undertaking work on coral conservation, in partnership with universities and other research institutes. The Turnbull Coalition Government will continue to work with the Cairns Aquarium in its important reef research and education initiatives.
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