NSW Government Approves New $36-Million Cage-Free Sydney Zoo!

An artist's rendering of the site

An artist’s rendering of the site

The NSW Government has approved plans to build a $36-million cage-free zoo in Western Sydney. The ambitious and ethical tourism effort has been green-lit for development in the suburb of Blacktown, with advocates suggesting the new zoo could inject millions of dollars worth of revenue into state coffers.

The Sydney Zoo, which was approved for development in the Bungarribee precinct, will feature cage-free animal exhibits on a sprawling sixteen-and-a-half-hectare property. The zoo will feature elevated boardwalks, enclosed glass observation areas and other state-of-the-art zoo innovations. In the end, the park’s operators are pitching their zoo at families who wish to see a broad spectrum of exotic animals in a truly realistic and morally justifiable setting.

State Environment Minister Mark Speakman told the ABC the zoo would open in late 2017 and that it would be a great addition to the city’s flagging tourism scene. “Since Taronga Zoo was first established 100 years ago, Sydney’s population has absolutely ballooned,” Mr. Speakman explained. “We think now there is room [for] another world-class zoo here in Western Sydney.”

Locally, the development approval was warmly welcomed by those hoping to reap the economic benefits of the new attraction. According to the financial group KPMG, Sydney Zoo has the potential to add about $45-million worth of revenue to the state’s bottom line every year, with an extra $3-million in associated spending. About 160 jobs will be created during construction, with a further 120 jobs required for operation.

Blacktown Mayor Stephen Bali expressed his satisfaction at the prospect of significant economic benefits for local businesses and workers. “We have a focus on jobs and appropriate sustainable development in the area,” he said. “It will be a cage-free zoo with limitless horizons which brings visitors safely face-to-face with animals, making it a hugely successful attraction.”

With Taronga Zoo and Featherdale Park experiencing a lull in their profitability, it’s hoped the new development will spark interest in the city’s other significant wildlife-centred attractions.

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