A long-awaited roof to protect and preserve the aircraft telling the Qantas story is a step closer, thanks to the announcement on Monday of an $11.3 million allocation towards the Qantas Founders Museum’s Airpark Roof Project.
Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, and deputy Nationals leader, Bridget McKenzie, together with the Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, were in Longreach to deliver the good news as part of the federal government’s 2017-18 Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook.
The money will come from the Building Better Regions Fund, and was the first of two multi-million dollar tourism funding boosts received in Longreach on Monday morning, with the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame set to receive $15 million for upgrades.
Qantas Founders Museum CEO, Tony Martin, described the announcement as an early Christmas present.
“I’ve been lobbying for money for this project for the nine years I’ve been CEO, and I know that when the 747 arrived in 2002, the board was talking about the need for a structure to protect their assets then,” he said.
It’s the first funding the board has received from federal sources since its opening in 2002.
While it will enable a roof to be put over the museum’s significant aircraft collection, Mr Martin said another $11m was needed to deliver the Luminescent Longreach project in its entirety.
A sound and light show described as creating a space and destination unique not only to Australia but across the world would offer a narrative of the birthplace of the nation’s airline and bring the massive roof structure into play as part of the show’s canvas.
According to Mr Martin, the deputy Prime Minister called on the Palaszczuk government to match the federal government’s funding.
“The Airpark Roof Project will be one of the most significant and important projects our museum has ever undertaken and will ensure the ongoing sustainability of our museum with a new lighting show experience and the preservation of our iconic aircraft including our Lockheed Super Constellation, which is under restoration and will be ready for display in mid-2018,” he said.
Mr Joyce said the funding would ensure the historical aircrafts were protected from the harsh Australian climate, adding that the government was committed to investing in regional communities to ensure they remain viable.
The funding is expected to generate 64 new jobs and more than double the current number of visitors to central and western Queensland, especially through the Luminescent Longreach light and sound show.
Federal Member for Maranoa, David Littleproud, said Luminescent Longreach would operate all year round, providing a major addition to central Queensland’s tourism attractions.
“The large scale of this unique show and authentic experience is estimated to more than double the current number of visitors to central Queensland,” Mr Littleproud said.
He and Mr Martin both anticipated a boost in international tourism numbers, with flow-on effects to the wider region.