Port Macquarie’s Observatory is about to undertake a multi-million dollar redevelopment thanks to a grant from the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund jointly funded by the Federal and State governments.
The 55-year-old facility will be transformed into a world-class astronomy and science centre after the Port Macquarie Astronomical Association successfully applied for a $4.86 million grant.
Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan congratulated the Port Macquarie Observatory on securing in joint funding made available under the Bushfire Local Economic Recovery program.
Across NSW, 195 bushfire recovery projects have been approved in this round of Bushfire Local Economic Recovery.
“These projects have a focus on drawing people to the region, supporting primary industries to enhance economic and social recovery, create jobs, and improve community resilience for future emergency events,” Mr Conaghan said.
”The projects have been identified by the people of Port Macquarie and will make a big difference locally, creating opportunities to increase tourism, employment and economic recovery, as well as building community cohesion and making us more resilient in times of crisis.
“The upgrade of the Astronomy Science Centre will realise the construction of a first-class astronomy and science centre, replacing the smaller 55-year-old facility “
Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams said the Association’s vision will now come to fruition and will put Port Macquarie on the map through the development of an amazing facility that will be the envy of regional cities along the east coast of NSW.
“The Centre will provide the most up to date astronomical experience while also benefitting the local and regional community economically by attracting visitors who will experience a unique opportunity to better understand the wonders of the universe.
“The Centre will include an auditorium, science exhibition area, workshops, meeting rooms, 16 inch telescope, a six metre wide dome and the potential for a planetarium,” Mrs Williams said.
Port Macquarie Astronomical Association President, Robert Brangwin said, “This is a fantastic outcome for the Association after many years of pursuing the concept of a modern astronomy and science centre for Port Macquarie to replace the existing centre.
“The new Astronomical Science Centre will make a positive contribution to the district both educationally and economically. The world is on the cusp of new astronomical explorations and visitors to the new Port Macquarie Astronomy Science Centre will have a unique experience of that,” Mr Brangwin said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Disaster Recovery John Barilaro said the diverse nature of the Stage Two Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund projects was driven by the specific recovery needs of each community and guided by locally led applications.
“One year has passed since we cleared 3,600 properties damaged or destroyed by the Black Summer bushfires and we are continuing to deliver the support that Port Macquarie and the Hastings needs to keep moving forward in recovery,” Mr Barilaro said.
“People are rebuilding their lives and we are backing projects that will bring communities together, support tourism, provide improved or new social amenity, and increase preparedness to future bushfires. All of these things play a part in recovery.”
The Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Package is one part of the $4.5 billion overarching bushfire support program co-funded by the Australian and NSW Governments for bushfire recovery, response and preparedness in NSW.
For further information, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/blerfund