Hepburn Bathhouse to continue to be tourist icon
The Bracks Government has moved to ensure the Hepburn Mineral Springs Bathhouse continues to be an iconic tourist attraction for years to come, Acting Minister for State and Regional Development and Tourism Minister, John Pandazopoulos said today.
Mr Pandazopoulos said the Victorian Government would provide $3 million from the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) to complete the project, with Major Projects Victoria (MPV) to oversee the project’s completion, subject to Hepburn Shire Council’s endorsement.
He said the total Hepburn Bathhouse redevelopment would cost $9.4 million and provide a high quality mineral spa experience and ensure continuing community access to the facilities.
“The redevelopment will spearhead growth in the tourism industry and provide a major boost for the local economy, ensuring that the new complex becomes an international mineral spa attraction for many years to come,” Mr Pandazopoulos said.
“Spa tourism is one of the fastest growing areas in the tourism industry, increasing nationally each year between 2001 and 2004 by about 14 per cent and Victoria has a healthy share of spa tourism accounting for around 29 per cent of the total tourism market.
“In addition to the Hepburn Bathhouse, the region is recognised nationally for its many attractions including award winning food, restaurants, wineries, galleries and parks.
“The redevelopment of the Bathhouse will ensure the region has the right infrastructure to remain a major tourist destination.”
Member for Ballarat East, Geoff Howard, said the Victorian Government had worked closely with Hepburn Shire Council to ensure with the redevelopment’s completion.
“This project is significant for the region, a fact the Bracks Government has acknowledged by its support for the redevelopment,” Mr Howard said.
“The current Bathhouse operator will continue to manage the facility until construction starts late in 2006, ensuring continuing employment for staff.”
“This project is part of the Bracks Government’s plan to rebuild and renew provincial Victoria,” he said.
Mr Pandazopoulos said the overall commitment by the Bracks Government to tourism has seen the industry nearly double over the past six years.
He said since its inception, the RIDF had contributed $279 million to 108 announced major capital works projects throughout provincial Victoria with an estimated total value of $765 million.
“The Government is committed to continuing to grow the whole of the State, and that is why we have announced an additional $200 million in funding for the RIDF, as part of our $502 million Provincial Victoria Statement: Moving Forward,” he said.