Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has officially reopened one of the outback’s most iconic tourism attractions.
The new and improved Australian Workers Heritage Centre (AWHC) in Barcaldine has officially reopened after a multi-million-dollar upgrade to the attraction’s entrance delivered by the Palaszczuk Government.
“This place is iconic. Not just for Queenslanders but for Australians,” the Premier said.
“The Australian Workers Heritage Centre is one of western Queensland’s most important tourism attractions.
“These upgrades will help to ensure more Australians visit this region to embrace our heritage.
“If you’re a history buff and you’re yet to experience the outback, I urge you to experience the new and improved Australian Workers Heritage Centre.”
The Premier said upgrades were completed in time for tomorrow’s 2021 Labour Day celebrations.
“Barcaldine is a special place. It is the birthplace of the Australian labour movement,” the Premier said.
“This centre tells an important story about the struggle for better working conditions.
“People often forget that the eight-hour day, the 40-hour week and a lot of the other working conditions that we take for granted these days were a result of the hard yards put in by ordinary workers and their trade unions.
“Importantly, this year also marks 130 years since the Great Shearers’ Strike, which was the wick that led to the formation of the Australian Labor Party.
“And the official opening timing is impeccable, with Labour Day celebrating the introduction of the eight-hour working day.”
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe in Barcaldine for the official opening, on the Labour Day long-weekend, said the Palaszczuk Government had provided $2.2 million for the project.
Minister Hinchliffe said the project was funded in 2018 as part of the $12.2 million invested in the outback to increase infrastructure to drive tourist visitation.
He said the new entry building was designed to welcome tourists into the facility directly from the main street in Barcaldine.
“The new building features a themed entry to draw guests inside, a café-restaurant, a retail outlet, children’s activity area, rest room facilities, covered and easy access for disability parking, and environmental utilities such as solar power and water efficient devices,” he said.
“The project supported 75 construction jobs, with 14 operational jobs created and is estimated to generate an economic benefit of $7 million of overnight visitor expenditure per annum for the region.”
Minister Hinchliffe said special acknowledgement must go to the former AWHC Chief Executive Officer, the late Mr Bob Gleeson, who passed away in June last year.
“Bob was a key driver in this project and would be immensely proud to see the completed project,” he said.
“It is fitting Bob’s daughters Ms Debbie Gleeson and Ms Annette Gleeson, are continuing their father’s work on this AWHC project.”