Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld will expand its Corroboree Precinct to include a state-of-the-art research facility with $2.7 million in funding from the Palaszczuk Government announced today.
Assistant Tourism Industry Development Minister and Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said the new facility in the theme park’s Corroboree and wildlife area would be Queensland’s first native animal genome research facility.
“The Dreamworld Future Lab will be a world-class research facility and will allow us to deploy experts to tackle some of the biggest issues facing our native wildlife – like the threat of chlamydia on the local koala population,” Ms Scanlon said.
“It will be the first of its kind in our state and will enhance the research capabilities of experts at the University of Queensland by allowing researchers and science undergraduates up-close contact with animals in the field.
“It’s important we diversify the Gold Coast’s economy and create highly-skilled jobs for the future.
“But the benefits of the research facility are twofold. Our native animals are a hit with tourists around the world, particularly Chinese visitors – today’s announcement will help to keep the Gold Coast front-of-mind for prospective tourists.”
Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development Kate Jones said Dreamworld’s Future Lab would be funded through the State Government’s Advance Queensland Connecting with Asia initiative.
“The Dreamworld Future Lab will give our experts vital access to native species and will help to build on Queensland’s world-leading reputation for science and technology,” she said.
“With the Health and Knowledge Precinct just down the road, we’re investing in new research facilities on the Gold Coast like the Future Lab to create jobs for locals.
“That’s what our Advance Queensland initiative is all about – diversifying our economy to create the jobs of the future.
“We expect the Future Lab to start construction in mid-2019 and it will provide great opportunities for school groups and visitors to experience first-hand the impact of scientific research and importance of animal conservation.”
Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch said today’s announcement was a win for conservationists around Queensland.
“It’s vital that we find new ways to protect our native wildlife for future generations,” she said.
“This will help to further the great work of our researchers and will also help to promote conservation among the wider public.
“It also builds on the work the Palaszczuk Government is already undertaking to protect our koalas, including the development of a koala conservation strategy for Queensland.”
Dreamworld’s General Manager Life Sciences, Al Mucci said the design and development of the research facility would start in mid-2019.
“On completion, the Dreamworld Future Lab will be the only operational scientific laboratory in Queensland that will have the capability to create a STEM tourism experience based on the conservation of koalas and other wildlife,” Mr Mucci said.
“We believe this will be the first of its kind in the world where guests will experience researchers working on current wildlife conservation projects.”