Conference centre proposal for Newnes Forest camp

19 Mar 2004

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Member for Bathurst, Gerard Martin has welcomed State Forests’ announcement that they have commenced negotiations with property management group, Resident Manager Pty Ltd, to redevelop and operate the former Newnes Forest Prison Camp near Lithgow.

“This project will add an important new tourism facility for the Lithgow/Upper Mountains area,” said Mr Martin.

The 75-hectare property is located on the Newnes Plateau, 200 km west of Sydney, close to local tourist attractions including the Lost City scenic canyons, Zig Zag Railway and the famous Glowworm Tunnel and only seven kilometers away from a world heritage area.

Resident Manager Pty Ltd’s proposal is to develop five-star "cabin" accommodation and a conference centre on the site.

Gerard Martin has also welcomed comments by State Forests’ managing director, Mr Peter Duncan that Resident Manager Pty Ltd was selected following a widely advertised call for expressions of interest (EOI) from parties interested in developing and operating the Newnes Forest Prison Camp under a long term lease arrangement.

“I congratulate Resident Manager Pty Ltd on having their proposal for a conference centre and cabin development recommended by the assessment panel after the EOI call attracted substantial interest,” Mr Martin said.

“The combination of the camp’s scenic setting and its proximity to forests, parks and reserves with lakes and dams suitable for fishing, boating and swimming provides an excellent foundation for development of a facility such as a conference centre,” Mr Martin said.

The camp has several structures including a kitchen, ablution block, sports hall, accommodation, maintenance sheds, basketball courts and cricket pitch, some of which are in need of repair or demolition.

The EOI process was managed for State Forests by the Department of Commerce. Proponents were required to provide an outline of their proposal and basic financial business case, a development program and information on their financial resources.

Resident Manager Pty Ltd will now enter into detailed negotiations with State Forests to determine whether its proposal satisfactorily meets the objectives for leasing Newnes Forest Camp before a development agreement can be executed.

Media contact: Gerard Martin on 0427 245 59.