The Tasmanian Liberal Government is committed to investing in our world class heritage sites to ensure they remain popular attractions for locals and visitors alike into the future.

In the 2020-21 State Budget, we have committed $20 million in equity contributions over the next four years to assist Port Arthur Historic Site Management Authority (PAHSMA) to respond to the financial impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. This funding provides job security to the PAHSMA workforce and reassurance to the regional community, while ensuring PAHSMA can continue to meet its important conservation needs.

Today, I was delighted to visit the Port Arthur Historic Site to see first-hand the efforts that have gone into ensuring it is COVID-safe for both locals and interstate visitors as they return to enjoy everything the iconic, national award-winning site has to offer.

To support Tasmanians and encourage visitors to the Port Arthur Historic Site, entry tickets have been offered free for children until 31 December 2020 and anyone who purchases a ticket at the Site until the end of the year will automatically receive a free ‘Ticket of Leave Pass’ to gain free re-entry to PAHSMA sites (Port Arthur Historic Site, Coal Mines Historic Site and the Cascades Female Factory) for two years.

As part of further initiatives to promote the site, Port Arthur has also hosted a safe, socially distanced Long Table Feast and a Makers Market for local artisans and producers to showcase their products while other markets in the region were not operating. Due to the overwhelming response from the local community, more of these events are now planned.

Tour participant numbers have been reduced to ensure safe social distancing, with the result being that tours are now more personal and, in the case of Isle of the Dead and Ghost Tours, selling quickly.

To assist with COVID-19 contact tracing, visitors are encouraged to book tickets online, and visitors contact information will be collected at the ticketing desk.

This summer season Port Arthur aims to inspire Tasmanians and interstate visitors to visit the site with friends and family with the opportunity to explore new archaeological excavations, enjoy exclusive dramatic performances in the Separate Prison, and engage in quirky and interesting activities in the children’s holiday program.

An exciting travelling exhibition of criminal photography – ‘Underworld’ – is also planned to open in February 2021.

I encourage locals and visitors to come and experience this extraordinary piece of Tasmanian history.

Elise Archer, Minister for Heritage