Multi-million tourism project puts Miles on the map
DECADES in the making, the Miles Artisan Project has finally come to life and is set boost the Western Downs economy as more people travel out west to experience their own backyard.
At The Great Artesian Basin Interpretive Centre launch on Wednesday, November 11, stage one of the projects attractions were revealed, showing a modern and contemporary display that seeks to inform visitors and locals about the world’s largest Artisan Basin which has led to the prosperity of the Western Downs, from the agriculture industry to the energy sector.
The Miles and District Historical Society president Kerry Mulholland said the construction stage of the project came at a challenging time for everyone, although the society was pleased that it could continue to support economic benefits to the community and region.
“We are looking forward to being able to share the upgraded Great Artesian Basin Interpretive Centre to our visitors and the community in the future,” he said.
“The Miles and District Historical Society is committed to ensuring it continues to deliver high quality cultural tourism in the Western Downs, creating economic benefits for our community and region, at the same time preserving vital history for our future generations to learn from and enjoy.”
Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said the Artesian Basin has been integral to the region’s prosperity, and the project is pathing the way for Western Downs tourism.
“A lot of our region wouldn’t be here today without the Artesian Basin… water is key,” he said.
“There is a strong connection between the Western Downs and the Artesian Basin and development in the region, from our intensive agriculture... to the energy sector.
“The multimillion-dollar project is the greatest tourism asset of the region.”
Joint funding between the Community Gambling Benefit Fund, Western Downs Tourism Investment Project Fund and Origin Energy, helped to get the project off its feet, and funded the facility upgrades to the existing Great Artesian Basin building which originally opened in the 1980s.
Speaking at the launch, Origin Energy general manager at Condabri, Talinga and Orana Assets Alexandra Kennedy-Clark said it was exciting to be a part of a project which will engage, educate, and encourage people to visit the region.
“COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work and play, however it has delivered a silver lining for regional Queensland,” she said.
“As one of the amazing volunteers here shared, ‘it’s pretty special to hear our spectacular outback referred to as the ‘new Europe’ by travellers coming through the village.’
“Origin is pleased to collaborate with the Miles Historical Village and to assist in progressing activities which not only preserve vital history but provide an educational and stimulating experience to guide these thousands of visitors into the future while creating economic benefits for the community and region.”
Tourism numbers have peaked in Miles, Ms Kennedy-Clark said 1500 people visited just last month, compared to 12000 in 2019.