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Mayor's Message - 27 September

Mayor's Message - 27 September

Tuesday 27 September 2022
Mayor's Message
Cr Michael Whelan

Living on the Bass Coast it would be easy to think we can just sit back and expect the tourists roll in. After all who wouldn’t want to visit our beautiful region?

Then along came the pandemic.

Tourism is such an important part of our economy, bringing critical spending for local businesses and jobs. It is estimated that pre-pandemic domestic and international tourism contributed $529 million to Bass Coast annually and directly contributed 5,900 jobs.

Yes, tourism is returning, but it is clear that we have to work even harder than ever to lure tourists back, especially as we compete with rival local and overseas destinations such as Bali for people's time and spending money.

That’s why I’m so excited by recent announcements showcasing the hard work of so many people in our community developing plans to provide the region with a new world-class visitor experiences.

The announcements include:

The Victorian State Government has backed the Bass Coast Dinosaurs Trail with a $500,000 funding boost to accelerate the project which celebrates Bunurong culture, supports sustainable tourism and showcases the work of scientists and volunteers in the region. The funding will allow the detailed creative design of six sites, including a Gondwana Garden with sound and light in Wonthaggi, innovative digital activation at The Caves and Eagles Nest, a village green at Kilcunda, sculptural dinosaur interpretation at San Remo and concept development of a Discovery Centre in Inverloch.

Plans are advancing for the Rhyll Brewery & Distillery a brewery and distillery planned for Rhyll which will produce about 60,000 litres of beer a year and will make a variety of rums and gins. The $4 million development – including $1.2 million in State Government funding - will include a restaurant, two bars, brewhouse and still, able to seat 90 patrons, including outdoor dining.

The new Phillip Island hot springs in Newhaven, complete with bathing pools, salt treatments, cave pools and a swim-up wellness bar serving vitamin cocktails, are on track to open in 2023.The Hot Springs will receive $4.7 million boost from the Regional Tourism Investment Fund.

Phillip Island Chocolate Factory’s expansion of manufacturing capability will enable a shift towards domestic market and suppling chocolate wholesale.

Leading local eco-friendly building company Ecoliv is creating more jobs and opportunities in the Bass Coast thanks to a new sustainable living and off-grid project supported the Government. The $1.58 million project will double Ecoliv’s production of sustainable modular buildings, while the new display home will showcase the latest technologies for a sustainable approach to living. The display home will enable people to view water, energy and waste reduction systems in action.