Funding to build opal centre in Lightning Ridge

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Lightning Ridge has well and truly cemented itself as home to the iconic Australian Opal, with the NSW Government announcing funding for the development of The Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge.

Lightning Ridge has well and truly cemented itself as home to the iconic Australian Opal, with the NSW Government announcing funding for the development of The Australian Opal Centre in Lightning Ridge.

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Member for Barwon, Kevin Humphries said The Walgett Shire Council has received funding of $107,040 under the State Government's 2012 Arts Funding Program for the development.

"This funding is available for the construction, renovation or fitting out of buildings and other facilities for arts and cultural use.

"The Australian Opal Centre is the brainchild of the local council and the Lightning Ridge Opal and Fossil Centre Inc and these funds will be used for stage 2 of the development."

The Australian Opal Centre will be located in an outback setting and will include two levels, recessed into and insulated by the earth.

"In keeping with the Ridge's unique environment and atmosphere, the structure will be eclectic, designed to generate electricity, collect and recycle groundwater with minimal ongoing running costs.

"This is another fantastic result for the Lightning Ridge community and another opportunity to promote the North West and the unique black opal."

Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Hospitality, Racing and the Arts, George Souris said the funding will support the development of a mix of NSW performing arts centres, galleries, museums and community arts centres.

"From the city to the bush, each year this type of financial support increases access to purpose designed and well managed facilities.

"This type of funding adds value to the NSW network of arts and cultural facilities, particularly where it meets a specific local need.

"Capital Project Funding helps councils develop projects which add to local infrastructure and services.

"It also encourages active co-operation between local community groups, arts organisations and local councils to ensure the most efficient use of available resources."

The 2012 Arts Funding Program is worth more than $58 million in total.

Mr Humphries has long championed the Australian Opal and Lightning Ridge, having the Black Opal declared NSW's State Gemstone in 2008 and promoting the 'Opal Card' as the name of the ticket-less transport system planned for NSW public transport next year.

And in even further good news for the Black Opal, NSW Governor Marie Bashir AO will this month host a reception at Government to honour the State's gemstone.

"As the announcement of the Opal as the State Gemstone was never formally celebrated, this is an opportunity to commemorate the Opal."

The story Funding to build opal centre in Lightning Ridge first appeared on Farm Online.

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