An urgent conservation works program for Fremantle Prison has been announced by the McGowan Government today, with an immediate cash injection of $3.5 million to the project.
The funds were secured partially due to the redirection of the 2019-20 Heritage Grants program, which won’t be available during this financial year.
The initial cells repair work at the main cell block by local Aboriginal business Thuroona Service will cost $1 million.
Fremantle Prison is one Australia’s 11 Convict Sites World Heritage Property. Although the Federal Government funds Australia’s natural world heritage properties, there is no ongoing funding for built World Heritage properties and Fremantle Prison is missing out.
WA Hertiage Minister David Templeman, Federal Fremantle Labor MP Josh Wilson, and State Labor MP Simone McGurk together urged to the Federal Government for assistance.
They are calling on the Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley to recognize the prison’s world heritage status by matching the state government’s funding contribution.
“Fremantle Prison is the most intact complex of convict-built structures in Australia, recognised by UNESCO, with World Heritage listing as well as State and National heritage recognition,” Mr Templeman said.
“The McGowan Government recognises the potential of Fremantle Prison to contribute to our tourism, education, culture and the arts industries in Western Australia, which is why we have sought to redirect funds from the Heritage Grants program for the 2019-20 financial year to fund urgent conservation works.”
“Maintaining an asset of national importance is a significant cost burden on Western Australia, and the McGowan Government is calling on the Federal Government to at least match our funding towards this internationally recognised heritage asset.”
At the same time, the State Government has launched its Fremantle Prison Master Plan 2019-2029 looking to activate tourism opportunities.
Ideas such as ‘Sound and Light’ show, and ‘Night In Prison’ has been put forward hoping to attracting heritage tourism.
Independent analysis stated the initiatives will increase tourism figures by approximately 45,000 people per year, generating $5.3 million per year, and approximately 50 local jobs in Fremantle.
Members of the public are welcome to comment on the proposals until 3rd, November.
Comments and contributions can be made at this link: https://consultation.dplh.wa.gov.au/.