Master Plan outlines new vision for the Botanic Gardens

An iconic conservatory, a new cafe and visitor centre and a state-of-the-art seedbank are among the exciting new additions released in the Master Plan for the Australian National Botanic Gardens.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Bob Baldwin launched the visionary 20-year Master Plan today and pledged $5 million to start implementing it.

Mr Baldwin said the plan promises an exciting future for one of Australia’s world-class institutions.

“This Master Plan charts a bright future for the Gardens, as a centre for world-leading research and conservation, and a top notch Canberra attraction,” Mr Baldwin said.

“Through the expertise of one of Australia’s top archictecture and master planning teams and some great input from the community, we have arrived at a dynamic 20-year plan for the Gardens.

“This will be the most significant upgrade in the Gardens’ 45 year history, driving new visitor experiences, new business opportunities and a big boost to the Gardens’ scientific and conservation work.

“We’ve already earmarked $5 million to start implementing the plan, which will let us get started on some of the cornerstones, such as the new seed bank, a conservatory displaying tropical native plants and a bushland walking trail leading to the National Arboretum.

“In addition, long-time champions The Friends of the Gardens have pledged $200,000 for an interactive piece of public art – a treehouse that visitors can enjoy while engaging with the Australian landscape.

“The Master Plan includes a new gateway entry experience, a larger visitor centre, a nature play area, wedding garden, ecotourism experiences in the bushland precinct, and an event precinct aimed at young adults.

 “The new seed bank and horticultural facilities will increase the horticultural, research and conservation capabilities of this leading national institution.

“This is an ambitious vision, and it will take an estimated $25 million and up to 20 years to fully realise, but we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting started. The majority of the investment will come from the Australian Government over the coming decades, and we’ll also be working with supporters and like-minded businesses to implement the plan.”

Senator for the ACT Zed Seselja said a more appealing Botanic Gardens would give the Canberra tourism industry a boost, helping to attract and impress visitors.

“I think the master planning team have hit the nail on the head with high quality design developed within a functional approach – the ideas are exciting and achievable, and they’ll appeal to locals and visitors alike,” Senator Seselja said.

“I look forward to seeing some exciting partnerships forged between government, the philanthropy sector and the business community, to bring this blueprint to life.”

Senator Seselja urged Canberrans to come and view the plan for themselves. 

“This Sunday, come on down to the Open Day to see the master plan documents and drawings, take part in a free tour or talk, and enjoy a free pancake barbecue. I’m really excited for everyone to check out what we’ve got planned. I’m sure they’re going to be as impressed as I am.”