The Blue Mountains will share in a $61.7 million budget spending on environmental restoration and recovery measures through the $1 billion COVID Relief Fund.
Funds totalling $600,000 will be invested in the Greater Blue Mountains Area by the federal government and a further $300,000 from the state. The money will be used to provide improved educational signage and group camping facilities.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is providing the $300,000 co-contribution.
Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Marise Payne, said the World Heritage site is the backbone of the Blue Mountains economy.
"A new facelift will promote preservation and enhance world-class tourism experiences ensuring that locals and visitors can both enjoy and respect our park," Senator Payne said. "We know that by investing in the park's future, we are also supporting the local jobs which rely on the flow of tourism."
We know that by investing in the park's future, we are also supporting the local jobs which rely on the flow of tourismSenator Marise Payne
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Regional Development Michael McCormack said the funding would create or support more than 1000 jobs while assisting recovery efforts of many regional communities affected by the pandemic and recent bushfires.
Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the announcements showed the government delivering practical and lasting environmental outcomes, partnering with state governments and local communities.
"These initiatives invest in projects that sustain jobs and local businesses, improve facilities and encourage people to visit regional communities," she said.
NSW Upper House MP and Blue Mountains resident Shayne Mallard said "at a time of COVID and greater interest in visiting the beauty of our region, improving signage and camping facilities will be greatly appreciated by visitors".
Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman said she welcomed "any funding to help boost tourism in our region, which has been affected by both bushfires and COVID ... but as we mark the one-year anniversary of the Gospers Mountain fire, the federal government's response to help our recovery has been too slow".
"I look forward to seeing the detail of this announcement, as well as its delivery. As is so often the case with this government we see these announcements made and nothing done on the ground," she said.
"Eighteen months after the Liberals' Emergency Response Fund promised $200 million for bushfire mitigation, not a dollar has been delivered."
The $61.7 million package from the federal government includes:
- $33.5 million for heritage upgrades to fund conservation work, infrastructure upgrades across 23 national and world heritage sites.
- A $20 million reef builder shellfish restoration program to be invested in at least 11 bushfire and COVID-19-affected coastal communities with another $8.2 million to support Great Barrier Reef projects including $3.2 million to engage tourism operators in reef monitoring and conservation work, along with $5 million for Townsville's Reef HQ.