Jurassic start for Mount Morgan's dinosaur caves
Rockhampton Regional Council is calling on candidates in Mirani to declare whether they support reopening the Dinosaur Caves, otherwise known as the Fireclay Caverns at Mount Morgan.
Acting Mayor Tony Williams has expressed his enthusiasm for the project to go ahead.
"The time is now...the project is shovel-ready and the time to act is now," Cr Williams said.
"We've flagged this as one of our election priorities and Council is calling on candidates to commit to the future of Mount Morgan."
Cr Williams said since the closure of the caves in 2011, there were reports which had been issued to reopen the popular tourist attraction, however, no action had been done.
The project would be vital for Mount Morgan as the rich mining town relies heavily on tourism.
"The Dinosaur Caves are something that is absolutely unique to our region and which would have wider benefits across the tourism sector both in Mount Morgan and Rockhampton," he said.
The Fireclay Caverns were excavated between 1906 and 1927 at the Mount Morgan Mine site for clay to supply local brick production.
It gives visitors to the site an experience like no other as they can see an impressive display of dinosaur footprints embedded in the ceiling above them.
It is home to hundreds of theropod and ornithopod dinosaur footprints, dating back 195 million years to the early Jurassic period.
President of Mount Morgan Promotion and Development John Steinberger said the location where the man-made caverns are situated is very special.
"I don't think there is anything of that age in Australia and also visible in the ceilings," Mr Steinberger said.
"There has been positive signs of actually getting health and safety reassessed which has done by a private consultant and we wait eagerly for the results."
"Hopefully we can get something moving forward there towards that resumption."
Mr Steinberger said if the project were to go ahead, it would have an enormous impact on the economic status for Mount Morgan and the region.
"If money could be available when the report is released, it would be lovely to run with the ball," Mr Steinberger said.
"It's a no-brainer, you've got it on your back step."