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Member for Bathurst Paul Toole and Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee today announced that Lithgow City Council had received a grant of $240,000 to support a $480,000 project to construct amenities and implement a comprehensive lighting strategy in Lithgow's Blast Furnace.

Mr Toole said the grant support was from the 2017/18 round of the Tourism Demand-Driver Infrastructure (TDDI) program, a Commonwealth funded initiative administered by the State Government to support tourism projects that drive demand and increase local tourism expenditure.

“I’m delighted to announce funding to support this project, which implements the lighting strategy part of the Blast Furnace Cultural Heritage Masterplan Implementation.

“The funding will support lighting in areas include the carpark, pathways and walkways, and site illuminations, and events and performance power and lights.

“This is the site of the first iron and steel works in Australia which opened in 1907, providing a unique insight into this important aspect of Lithgow – and Australia’s – history.”

Member for Calare Andrew Gee said the Commonwealth has allocated funding through the TDDI to state and territory governments for tourism infrastructure projects where project proponents provide or source matching funding.

“Lithgow has a proud and industrial history and the blast furnace project is going to create a unique and iconic tourist destination and community space that will have national significance. You won’t find something like this anywhere else in Australia and I’m thrilled that the Federal Government is supporting it,” Mr Gee said.

“This program is national, with 41 projects supported in NSW by the TDDI and funded to the sum of $9.25 million,” Mr Gee said.

This funding will support the delivery of projects that contribute to Tourism 2020 outcomes, namely to achieve more than $115 billion in overnight visitor spending by 2020 (up from $70 billion in 2009).

NSW Minister for Tourism and Major Events Adam Marshall said the tourism sector is worth $33.2 billion per year in international and domestic visitor expenditure to the NSW economy and directly employs 164,000 people.

“Tourism is one of our state’s most important sectors and support for projects like this is vital to help local communities and economies grow and prosper.

“At the heart of the sector’s success are the many hard-working individuals and businesses across NSW who work tirelessly to deliver world-class tourism experiences like this one,” he said.