Taskforce calls for funding to deliver game-changing trail

Date published: 27 September 2020

On World Tourism Day (27/9), TaskforceNQ and Townsville Enterprise have called for government funding to build the Paluma to Wallaman Trail.

TaskforceNQ steering committee chairperson and Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said the trail had the potential to deliver a wonderful boost to the region’s tourism sector as well as the wider economy.

“The Paluma to Wallaman Trail will be a game-changer in nature-based tourism. It will be unlike anything currently available in Australia,” Cr Hill said.

“The trail will consist of 125kms of pristine bushwalking and mountain biking trails through some of Australia’s most scenic locations.

“Providing 7 days of hiking, with 6 nights of camping through a tropical oasis, the trail will follow an ancient Indigenous trading line, a language line and a songline.

“At a time when the North Queensland tourism industry and the wider economy is struggling because of COVID-19, we need an investment to bring this project to fruition.”

Cr Hill said the trail was forecast to deliver around $24 million to North Queensland’s economy annually.

Construction of the trail is expected to support 60 jobs while more than 250 direct and indirect jobs will be supported once open.

This project has unanimous support from three Traditional Owner groups and three Local Governments and is a priority project in the Townsville North Queensland Product and Experience Development Plan.

“With 2020 being the Year of Indigenous Tourism, there is no better time to invest in this project,” Cr Hill said.

“Not only will this iconic trail give those travelling it a new understanding and appreciation of Indigenous culture, it will deliver economic benefits for Traditional Owners through employment opportunities, training and procurement which will help them take charge of their economic futures,” Cr Hill said.

A business case, funding for which was provided by the Queensland Government, is close to completion.

TaskforceNQ is seeking $35 million in funding.

Townsville Enterprise CEO Patricia O'Callaghan said hiking and mountain biking trails were proven tourism experiences that drive significant visitation.

"Ecotourism is a key growth segment within the tourism industry and our region has some of the most spectacular, untapped opportunities in this space," Ms O'Callaghan said.

"As we rebuild from the impacts of COVID-19, there is significant opportunity to leverage our destination’s strengths and build the experience offering through multi-purpose trail development and commercialisation, like the Paluma to Wallaman Trail.

"We have a small window of opportunity to expedite North Queensland’s tourism recovery by leveraging our outdoor attractions, building awareness of the destination, and growing our product offering."