A plan to make Queensland a world leader in ecotourism, a major boost for grassroots sports clubs and the rejuvenation of the racing industry were among the Queensland government’s key achievements for 2013.
Minister for National Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing Steve Dickson said the year had seen a transformation in service delivery and a clear direction for the future, as promised by the Newman Government.
Ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald hit more than 260 protected areas, 330 sport and recreation clubs and many racing clubs in January. However Mr Dickson said the challenges of recovery had failed to dampen enthusiasm for important reforms.
“With the release of the Queensland Ecotourism Plan we are now working to develop private ecotourism facilities in national parks, another step towards the Newman Government’s aim of making Queensland a world leader in ecotourism,” he said.
“We have also recognised the contribution of volunteers with our Friends of Parks program which provides one-off grants to support park care and management.”
“The LNP Government has made National Park management a priority, and we want to encourage Queenslanders to learn about, care for and appreciate our natural environment.”
Mr Dickson said the $47.8 million Get in the Game program to support grassroots sport and recreation, had been a huge success in 2013.
“We have made it easier and more affordable for people to get out and get active and the response from clubs and families has been fantastic,” he said.
“The first round of Get Started, which gives children and young people vouchers towards the costs of joining their local clubs, was fully subscribed and we’ve now helped 25,000 young Queenslanders through the program.
“We’ve also provided grants of up to $100,000 to 83 clubs to improve their infrastructure and facilities through Get Playing and helped 475 clubs with smaller grants for equipment and activities to boost membership.
“The results show that this was an area the previous Labor government was clearly ignoring.
Mr Dickson said a new industry structure and the appointment of its first ever Integrity Commissioner had revitalised Queensland’s racing industry.
“We’ve listened to the racing sector and given them a fresh start with the introduction of the Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board and separate control boards for the thoroughbred, harness and greyhound codes,” he said.
“The government has also invested $2.5 million to support the state’s thoroughbred breeding industry and put the heart back into country racing with funding for 20 additional country race meetings across the state,” he said
“I’m confident the achievements to date have laid a strong foundation for further growth in 2014.”