FEDERAL Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry today officially launched an 'Australian first' in cave tourism at one of Central Queensland's most famous tourist attractions.

A $300,000 project to relight the historic Capricorn Caves to provide a more dynamic experience for visitors was officially switched on this afternoon.

Ms Landry said the project, which is expected to help increase tourism numbers to Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast region, was completed with the support of a $150,000 Federal Government grant.

"Old lighting from the 1960's was replaced with new leading edge, solar-powered L.E.D technology - the first system of its kind in Australia," Ms Landry said.

"As the first cave in Australia to run lights off solar power - it will provide a template for other cave managers from around the world and is expected to attract more tourists to our local region."

The new lighting experience, which will also reduce the carbon footprint on the historic caves, was the fruition of work by owner Ann Augusteyn and her team.

Ms Landry said the project was significant for local tourism and sat within the Federal Government's Tourism 2020 strategy which aims to increase overnight visitor expenditure in Australia to between $115 billion to $140 billion by 2020.

"The revamped attraction Ann Augusteyn and her team has built at Capricorn Caves lays the foundation for even more tourist numbers in Capricornia - resulting in the potential for increased visitor spending and more local employment," Ms Landry said.

In Central Queensland, figures show that overnight visitors to the area already spend over $1 billion a year here - 71% of which is attributed to domestic visitors.

The Federal Coalition's recent move to axe the carbon tax has also helped tourism. 

"The Tourism Accommodation Association estimates without the carbon tax, the tourism industry will save $115 million a year and will free up cash for new investment and more jobs," Ms Landry said.



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