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  • Writer's pictureFlow Australia

World's largest chocolate fountain planned for Tassie

In a Willy Wonka day on the Tasmanian election trail, voters have been promised "the ultimate chocolate experience" and the world's largest chocolate fountain.

The lure of the world's largest chocolate fountain is being touted as an election sweetener that will attract throngs of tourists to Tasmania.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff says if re-elected, his Liberal government will work with local tourism industry leader Simon Currant to offer the "world's ultimate chocolate experience" for chocoholics visiting the Apple Isle.

Voters in the island state will head to the polls on March 23 after the minority government - the only conservative government in Australia - failed to resolve a stand-off with two crossbench independents.

Tasmania's voters will decide between Opposition Leader Rebecca White and Jeremy Rockliff.

The fountain will sit alongside the Cadbury factory, just north of Hobart overlooking the River Derwent, offering a premium chocolate studio, a chocolate lab with a make-your-own chocolate bar, a chocolate emporium, café and playground.

Touted as the "greatest thing to happen to tourism since MONA", Mr Rockliff said tourism had been one of the state's most transformative sectors in the past decade. 

"We talk a lot about the cultural and economic lift of the MONA-effect, but it's important that we keep investing, growing, changing and giving visitors even more reasons to visit Tasmania and spend their money in our cities and regions," he said on Sunday.

"This will re-write the 'must-see' list for every visitor that comes to Tasmania; hug a Tassie devil, sip wine on Wineglass, stroll Salamanca, climb Cradle, and cap that all off with the sweetest experience of them all at the Chocolate Experience at Cadbury."

Mr Currant predicted the complex would become a tourism icon.

"My vision for many years has been to have our own chocolate experience here, not just a chocolate shop, an experience that they will remember forever," he said.

"It came from an initial plan to re-ignite what was once here and ... blow people's minds."

Most of the $100 million in funding will come from investment groups, Mr Currant said, adding that the Liberal government's support would give investors confidence.

The project also has the support of factory owner Mondelez International, which Mr Currant says has given permission for the Cadbury name to be used.

A returned Liberal government will put up to $12 million aside for the project and invest $2 million over 18 months on planning, designs, approvals and get it shovel ready. 

Some $2 million will be spent over 18 months on early-stage works on the site, including but not limited to public walkways, cycle infrastructure and headworks.

Subject to agreed milestones, $8 million for the precinct would then be made available.

The project could create 300 construction jobs, 200 jobs on completion and deliver a $120 million boost in annual economic activity.

Labor leader Rebecca White said it was exciting to see new experiences come to light but stopped short of saying she would match the promise.

It was important when spending taxpayers' money to have a transparent system, she said.

"The Labor Party has already announced a $50 million no interest loan program that is eligible for operators and I welcome the proponents of the Cadbury Visitor Centre to make an application under that program," she told reporters on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Labor has announced support measures for renters if it wins government, saying they will be allowed to hang pictures, plant veggie gardens and have pets.

A Labor government would also crack down on rent bidding.

The opposition party also announced plans to bring Tasmania into line with the rest of the nation by introducing industrial manslaughter laws.


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