REEF HQ’s multimillion-dollar makeover has taken another huge leap forward following a crucial announcement.
Paynters Pty Ltd has been unveiled as the principal contractor of the $80.1m refurbishment at Reef HQ Aquarium, with the contract covering all renewal works to the 34-year-old facility.
The project is aimed at transforming Reef HQ — the world’s largest living coral reef aquarium — into Australia’s national centre of excellence for tropical coral reef education.
A long-time favourite for locals and visitors to the region, Reef HQ has been closed to the public since February in preparation for the refurbishments.
The new-look Reef HQ is set to feature upgraded exhibits with educational activities, hands-on experiences, onsite diving programs, scientific demonstrations and use of interactive technology.
All going to schedule, the facility is expected to re-open at the end of 2023.
Federal Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the project will create more than 300 jobs.
“The Morrison Government has committed $80.1 million in funding for this important initiative, including $40 million as part of the Townsville City Deal,” he said.
“This is helping to drive investment in critical community infrastructure projects that will help position the city as a vibrant and liveable destination for years to come.”
Thousands of fish have been rehomed at other facilities in preparation for the facelift.
Reef HQ, run by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, generates about $2.5 million a year, boasts 15,000 members, attracts 140,000 visitors a year and employs about 50 Townsville locals.
Minister of Environment Sussan Ley said the upgrades would cement Townsville’s reputation as an international leader in marine science, research and education.
“Once completed, the rejuvenation of the much-loved Reef HQ will showcase the complexity and wonder of the reef to new generations, confirming Townsville as the place to research and care for the Reef and its amazing marine life,” she said.
“Our team are working tirelessly on the planning, construction, and the new design to deliver an outstanding Reef education experience when it reopens.”
Paynters’ North Queensland Manager Michael Koen said the company was proud to be delivering the multimillion-dollar project.
“This is a key project of significant value for the Townsville region that presents a number of flow-on opportunities during the construction phase,” he said.
“This includes jobs for apprentices, school-based trainees, and local subcontractors, as well as indigenous participation in jobs and other opportunities through the supply chain servicing the project.”
Source: Townsville Bulletin, September 10th, 2021 | https://bit.ly/Paynters_ReefHQ