QLD Government will provide funding support to rebuild the historic Binna Burra Lodge

Written by Binna Burra

June 21, 2022

image of the binna burra lodge logo and sub text


The Queensland Government will provide funding support of $18 million to replace the historic, heritage listed Binna Burra Lodge and cabins which were destroyed in the disastrous Black Summer bushfires in 2019.

Hon. Cameron Dick, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment and Steve Noakes, Chair of the Board, Binna Burra Lodge.

‘The defining point that makes me so proud of the Binna Burra pioneers in the early 1930s is that personal thoughts of faith, wealth and politics were put aside while the founder’s sought advice from the big end of town to come up with a plan and a constitution which has resulted in an almost humanitarian outcome.’ Richard Groom, at 82 years of age in June 2022 – one of the children of Binna Burra co-founder, Arthur Groom (1904 – 1953).

‘Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the September 2019 bushfires this substantial funding support means the Binna Burra Cultural Landscape is emerging from the catastrophe stronger, smarter, and more resilient. The legacy of the founders is underpinned by our contemporary PALs – Partnerships, Alliances, Linkages. And there has been no bigger PAL for Binna Burra than the Government of Queensland and in particular the Hon. Cameron Dick, Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment.
Steve Noakes, Chair, Board of Directors, June 2022.

On Sunday morning 8 September 2019 the disastrous Black Summer bushfires destroyed the historic, heritage listed Binna Burra Lodge and cabins at Mt. Roberts, within the Binna Burra Cultural Landscape. Since that time, Binna Burra has established and maintained high-level relationships with all levels of government – local, state and commonwealth. All such relationships have been vital to the recovery efforts of Binna Burra.

When he tabled the 2022-23 Queensland Budget in Parliament today, Tuesday 21st June 2022, the Hon. Cameron Dick, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment, made the official announcement that the State Government would provide funding support of $18 million to rebuild the lodge and cabins.

On Wednesday 22 June 2022 the Board of Binna Burra Lodge Ltd and key senior management and consultants will meet to develop a process for Binna Burra Lodge to:

Build back different.
Build back with better foundations.
Build a stronger ‘spirit of Binna Burra’ for new generations.

As the Board plus Management and Senior Consultants finalise the rebuild process, Binna Burra will continue the ‘comprehensive approach’ to the 2019 bushfire disaster that destroyed the lodge and cabins and caused significant damage to the Sky Lodges and other infrastructure, resulting in the closure of all onsite business operations for one year.

This new funding to Binna Burra is made available under the Queensland Government’s Regional Tourism Recovery (RTR) Program which provides targeted funding to support the Queensland visitor economy. The program delivers new and enhanced sustainable tourism infrastructure, products and experiences to position the state to capitalise on returning visitor markets.

Binna Burra will now enter a legally binding contract with the Department of Tourism, Innovation of Sport (acting on behalf of the State of Queensland) for the design, build and commencement of operations of a new lodge and accommodation at Mt. Roberts – on the site of the former lodge

While the Board is still finalising an inclusive and consultative process, planning for the new lodge will be based on setting clear objectives which will include:

  • Acknowledge there is a collective responsibility from all involved in leadership functions in organisations connected to the Binna Burra Cultural Landscape – includes the Board of the commercial company Binna Burra Lodge Ltd; the Board of the not-for-profit Binna Burra Foundation (includes Friends of Binna Burra); senior management staff; key stakeholders who have a long and/or strategic interest in the rebuilding of an iconic ecolodge at Mt. Roberts and the Lamington Natural History Association.
  • Finalise the precise terms and conditions of the funding from the State Government.
  • Assess which legal entities will be involved in receiving the funding, managing the funding, owning and/or managing the new building asset, running the business operations in the new building etc.
  • Establish a core Executive Reconstruction Management team to plan and overseas reconstruction logistics.
  • Clearly articulating the management structure and determine its scope of authority, accountability, responsibility, delegated powers, and stakeholder communication systems – which should be clearly defined and regularly communicated to all stakeholders.
  • Ensure systems are in place for financial and procurement transparency and continued cohesion amongst all stakeholders to rebuild a lodge.
  • Have mechanisms to manage the expectations of our State political leaders, the Government agencies responsible, Binna Burra shareholders and other stakeholders.
  • Stay true to our Advanced Ecotourism certification: Australia’s leading and most innovative ecotourism products that operate with minimal impact on the environment and provide opportunities to learn about the environment with operators who are committed to achieving best practice, using resources wisely, contributing to conserving the environment and helping local communities.
  • Commit in the design, build and operations of the new lodge to the Ecotourism Australia Climate Action Certification program – ‘… dedicated to reducing carbon emissions and assuring travellers that certified products are backed by a commitment to sustainable practices related to addressing climate change.’

The story of Binna Burra’s bushfire recovery is also the story of hundreds of people who have contributed in so many individual ways. One of those stories involves the Hon. Cameron Dick, Treasurer of Queensland.

Cameron’s support for Binna Burra commenced on the day of the bushfires, Sunday 8 September 2019 when he called Steve Noakes and offered to establish an across government Binna Burra Recovery Taskforce. The Taskforce lasted for six months and bought together over a dozen State Government agencies as well as Local and Federal Government representatives to secure the funding and coordinate some $35 million to rebuild the single access road into the Binna Burra side of Lamington National Park as well as assist in a wide range of planning, policy and resourcing issues that have to be addressed after such a disaster.

Three days after the bushfire destroyed Binna Burra Lodge Greg Christensen, Mayor of Scenic Rim Regional Council and the Hon Cameron Dick rescued the Binna Burra bell from the wreckage of lodge on Wednesday 11 September 2019.

Photo: The Courier Mail

November 2019 – first AGM after the bushfires. Barry Davies, Richard Groom, Greg Lahey.

The historic bell now sits on the mantle above the fireplace in the Binna Burra Tea House.

Once upon a time there was a lodge in the forest … and then came a fire storm.

The task after the 2019 bushfires …

Binna Burra is Australia’s largest ‘ecotourism collective’, with over 1,300 small investors who support our generation’s turn to be stewards of the Binna Burra Cultural Landscape, inside the world heritage listed Lamington National Park.  Founded in 1933, it is a social enterprise with an environmental focus. Since the beginning, no individual shareholder can own more than 2.5% of the shares.

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