Member for Bega Andrew Constance has today advised that the Far South Coast is set for a new gold rush era after the NSW Government declared fossicking districts in the area, aimed at supporting the local economy.
Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shires are now fossicking districts, taking the total number of districts to 62 across 28 local government areas.
Mr Constance said our region’s rich history can now be explored in a different way.
“Bega Valley and Eurobodalla Shires were part of the 1850s gold rush, now visitors and locals can get a real feel for that history,” Mr Constance said.
“This allows our Councils to better market themselves as tourist destinations for fossickers, which will provide a boost to our local economy.”
Fossicking districts now cover more than 8.9 million hectares, or 11 per cent of the state – the largest area ever in NSW.
Minister for Resources Don Harwin said the increase in fossicking districts will help to expand the regional geotourism market in NSW.
“Fossicking is not only a popular and rewarding recreational activity, it has a positive impact on regional tourism and NSW regional economies,” Mr Harwin said.
“Our Government is committed to encouraging regional tourism, to strengthen and support the economies of our rural towns and centres. We have allocated $400 million through the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Regional Environment and Tourism Fund to deliver on that commitment.”
The NSW & ACT Prospectors and Fossickers Association estimates around 50,000 people fossick across the state each year, which contributes approximately $20 million annually to NSW rural economies.
Fossicking can be carried out on any land in NSW where it is deemed lawful, provided participants obtain permission from landowners and key stakeholders of the land. Fossicking remains prohibited in National Parks.
For a comprehensive guide, including tips and rules on fossicking in NSW visit http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/miners-and-explorers/fossicking-in-nsw.