HALLS GAP - The Australian Wildlife Arts Foundation has welcomed the commitment of the Victorian Government with the Northern Grampians Shire Council to invest in the development of the planned Wildlife Art Museum of Australia.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Peter Ryan, announced a $26,000 grant as its contribution to an economic and social impact study into the long term benefits of creating Australia's first national wildlife art museum.
The museum, at the gateway to the Northern Grampians Ranges will also feature a botanical landscape of Australian flora, with a special area dedicated to the species of the Grampians along with wetlands.
The patron for WAMA Glenda Lewin said the commitment by the Victorian Government along with the Shire and Tourism Victoria is confirmation of the strategic importance of this project to the region.
"There is no other institution like WAMA," Mrs Lewin said.
"The museum will record Australia's contribution to natural science, showcase the work of outstanding Australian wildlife and natural history artists and provide a learning environment for current and future generations."
In announcing the grant, Mr Ryan said, "The museum will provide the region with a significant tourism opportunity taking advantage of the high level of international interest in Australia's wild life.
"It will generate commercial activity in surrounding townships with people travelling to the area and staying longer. It will benefit the local arts community and make better use of school camp facilities."
The project is an initiative of the Australian Wildlife Arts Foundation (AWAF) which has been formed as the advocate, funding and governing organisation for the project.
The Government grant, along with funding from Northern Grampians Shire Council and the Foundation, will facilitate a comprehensive assessment of the economic, employment and community benefits that will result from the overall project.
"The Regional Growth Fund is investing in community-led projects that will deliver jobs, investment and innovation in rural and regional Victoria.
"WAMA is a visionary initiative which once completed will create an iconic destination of international and national significance," Mr Ryan said.