GOING DEEP: Underwater museum coming to life
A cool $1m cash injection will mean the Museum of Underwater Art will be complete by next year.
The state government has chipped in the remaining cash to help put Townsville on the underwater tourism map.
The $1m will complete Stage 3, which includes works on Magnetic and Palm islands, beginning next month.
In July, the installation at John Brewer Reef was officially opened with five companies now licensed to take tourists to the underwater experience.
Townsville MP Scott Stewart said this would make the state government the largest financial contributor to the MOUA.
"Tourism is vital to the North Queensland economy - when this sector is performing, everyone benefits," he said.
"We're investing in new tourism infrastructure because we know projects like this, which will be a southern hemisphere first, will create jobs.
"This attraction is expected to bring in an additional 50,000 visitors a year to Townsville and pump in more than $22.5m annually.
"The art installation at Magnetic Island will be freely accessible and will offer an intertidal experience that can be viewed from the shore and via snorkel sites."
The funding has been provided through the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund and brings the government's contribution to $4m.
MOUA chairman Paul Victory said this funding would help ensure the full installation would be done by 2021.
"This is a huge bonus for the North Queensland region, meaning locals and visitors will have the opportunity to see installations at four amazing locations, on The Strand, at John Brewer Reef, at Palm Island and Magnetic Island," he said.
"It's a real lift for tourism growth and is real tourism product investment in Magnetic Island.
"The Magnetic Island installation will continue the story of reef education and provide an amazing reef science walk along the foreshore and into the intertidal areas.
"Magnetic Island has been such an important location for the collection of data about the Great Barrier Reef over many years."
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said the three stages of MOUA works would provide 72 construction jobs and 182 operational jobs.
"The Museum of Underwater Art gives us a huge point of difference here in Townsville and reminds everyone that this region is one of the best places in the state to visit while you're holidaying on the Great Barrier Reef," she said.
Ms Jones said with COVID-19 border restrictions being lifted, locals and interstate visitors were already exploring the exhibition.
"This project ticks all the boxes and will generate a great flow-on effect for tourism businesses in North Queensland," she said.
Originally published as GOING DEEP: Underwater museum coming to life