4 July, 2019
Gunnedah Shire Council has voted to accept an Expression of Interest and enter into negotiations with Far North Queensland tourism company the Woodward Family CaPTA Group to operate a new Gunnedah Koala Park and hospital.
The CaPTA Group currently owns and operates a number of internationally acclaimed wildlife and conservation-based tourism attractions in Cairns and Port Douglas, including Rainforestation Nature Park, the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas, Cairns ZOOM and Wildlife Dome, Jungle Tours and Trekking and Tropic Wings Cairns Tours and Charters.
Gunnedah Shire Mayor Jamie Chaffey said the initiative will have amazing potential for Gunnedah and tourism in the region.
"To get to this point now is a milestone that gives me enormous confidence that we will be progressing forward with a quality operator that is well established and has much to offer.
CaPTA Group employs more than 300 people, has been in business for over 40 years and is a significant Queensland tourism operator with existing links into overseas tourist markets.
“We’re looking forward to negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the CaPTA Group and planning the next steps forward which include firstly considering the needs of the community and identifying an appropriate site” Cr Chaffey said. “Whilst we are in the preliminary stages, the potential outcomes for Gunnedah are incredible. The park will be a wonderful addition to the Shire, both in terms of tourism, the economy and in helping protect the iconic animal that has become synonymous with Gunnedah. This park ensures we keep our title as the Koala Capital of the World.”
“Importantly, the facility would also include a koala hospital to help battle the many threats faced by our koala population.
The Gunnedah Koala Park project was awarded $6.48 million through the NSW Government’s Regional Social Benefit Infrastructure Fund.
Director Corporate and Community Services Colin Formann said the CaPTA Group was a great fit for the Gunnedah Koala Park project.
“Attracting a company of the calibre of the CaPTA Group is a real win for Gunnedah,” Mr Formann said.
“The company is a powerhouse of tourism and conservation in Far North Queensland and they have a history of being socially responsible, contributing significantly to their local community operating a non-profit wildlife rescue center and caring for koalas as part of their existing operation.”
“Of course, our geographical location and koala population mean we’re the perfect location for this koala park and this project will have benefits for both parties. We are looking forward to all the possibilities a collaboration with the Capta Group will bring.
Media Contact: Eliza Gallen (02) 6740 2100.