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2nd May 2001

Twofold visit heralds Fossil Trail

Barbara Bohbanowicz, Personal Assistant to the Director of the Australian Museum, Mike Archer and Dave Ellis, from the Ministry of the Arts

The very positive response to the Director of the Australian Museum, Mike Archerís, recent twofold visit heralds a welcome breakthrough for tourism potential in Walgett Shire.

The direction of the Opal and Fossil Museum took a step forward with agreement reached to form a Steering Board which would include representatives of the Australian Museum.

An exciting concept which included Lightning Ridge being developed as part of a fossil trail was outlined by Mr Archer, with a view to creating more interest in Regional Australia.

A series of compatible museums would be included commencing at Bathurst and continuing to Canowindra, Wellington and Lightning Ridge.

Collections relative to an area would be housed at respective museums eg the Summerville Collection would be housed permanently at Bathurst, Wellington would be home to the colonial collection and have features pertinent to Wellington Caves; whilst the emphasis at Lightning Ridge would be upon opal, dinosaurs and animals that shared the land 110 million years ago.

Visualising a flow of tourists from Sydney along the Fossil Trail to Queensland, the development of a National Trail, which was wholly marketable is perfectly conceivable by Mr Archerís description.

"I am very pleased with the forward planning which I believe will move soon and look forward to being part of this development," said Mr Archer.

In a separate gathering Australian Future, all total ecosystem was discussed.

The whole of Government initiative with representatives from many departments and organisations was discussed at a workshop convened by Mr Carr in the Australian Museum.

"Most people donít value Australian wild life; this system aims at developing a program which increases our conservation capacity," said Mike Archer.

"Giving graziers a return for Ďroos harvested will see the habitat better looked after and give value adding to rural and regional Australia," he said.

The Lightning Ridge - Walgett area came up as having many of the attributes necessary to implement this scheme.

In particular, it would look towards adjacent landholders working together on an equity basis.

In essence the goals would be increased sustainability and placing people and the environment back together.

It would involve a 10 year monitored program which measured the extent of benefits to the country, whether animals became valued through harvesting and answers to similar concerns.

The Director of the Australian Museum was confident of the new industries that may be created, the overall benefits to be derived and spoke of investor interest from Westpac.

Whilst all initiatives offering potential expansion to industry are welcomed it will, no doubt, prompt a lively response from graziers in the area.

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