The announcement by Northern Victorian MP Damian Drum on behalf of the Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan, will provide for pumps and equipment to keep the rapidly rising groundwater below the Central Deborah’s tourism levels.
Mr Drum, who is also Parliamentary Secretary for Regional and Rural Development, said the level of groundwater was rapidly rising since Bendigo Mining had ceased its commercial mining operation.
For the past 20 years Bendigo Mining has been pumping the entire Bendigo mine shaft system so that it could carry out its mining operation in the same way that any underground mining company does.
However, since mining at the Kangaroo Flat decline was wound up and the associated pumping activities ceased, the groundwater has steadily been rising.
Without this assistance from the State Government, Central Deborah’s tourism experience at Level 9 is expected to be underwater by September and as the groundwater continues to rise it would then spill out into Bendigo’s creek systems returning the city to an earlier era when parts of the city regularly smelled of “rotten eggs”.
“The pumping at the Central Deborah is important to all of Bendigo,” Mr Drum said.
Mr Ryan said the Central Deborah Gold Mine Ground Water Pumping and Discharge Project would directly save 25 jobs, retain additional jobs at The Bendigo Trust and keep local volunteers engaged.
Mr Ryan said the mine was the second last to close out of more than 6000 mines dug throughout the Bendigo goldfields between 1854 and 1954.
“Today the mine offers guided underground tours and has hosted about 750,000 visitors since restoration by The Bendigo Trust in 1986.
“Conserving the Central Deborah Gold Mine is a critical tourist drawcard for the city."
Mr Ryan said Victorian Government funding for the Central Deborah Gold Mine Ground Water Pumping and Discharge Project would be provided to The Bendigo Trust through the $1 billion Regional Growth Fund’s Putting Locals First Program.
“Putting Locals First is a $100 million initiative that enables regional communities to devise and deliver service and infrastructure responses that reflect local priorities,” Mr Ryan said.
The project is expected to be completed by November.