Birubi Information Centre and interchange project fully funded after Port Stephens Council secures $4m federal grant

Ground is expected to break on the long-awaited Birubi transport interchange early in 2022 after Port Stephens Council secured a $4 million federal government grant to fully fund the major infrastructure project.

The council is expecting the $11.4 million interchange and visitor information centre in the Worimi Conservation Lands at Anna Bay to be complete by the end of 2022 "subject to the tender process".

"Now that we have a complete budget we are on track to finalise the detailed designed for tenders later this year with expected construction early 2022," a council spokesman said. "Subject to the tender process we would expect this build to be completed within the year."

Port Stephens Council was one of the big winners in the latest round of the Australian Government's Building Better Regions Fund, clinching $4,024,787 for a "tourism transport interchange at the Birubi Point Aboriginal Place and Worimi Conservation Lands".

It comes after the council secured $5.4 million through the NSW Government in 2018 to build the Birubi Information Centre.

The council will also contribute $2 million to the project, which is designed to alleviate peak holiday traffic chaos at Birubi Point and increasing pressure on the environment and Aboriginal heritage and cultural values of the area.

The Birubi Information Centre will provide an additional 54 car parking spaces, 10 coach parking spaces with a drop-off zone that can accommodate two coaches, and provisions for pedestrians and cyclists. The centre includes more than 1300 square metres of covered space, public toilets and a kiosk.

Labor's federal member for Paterson, Meryl Swanson, said the funding is "long overdue" but will lock in an "important regional project".

"I'm pleased to have worked with Port Stephens Council in advocating for this $4 million grant. The Birubi Information Centre is a fantastic local project," she said.

"This facility will open up Anna Bay and the sand dunes to the world and will provide an important gateway for tourism on the Tomaree Peninsula. This project will serve as a real game-changer for Port Stephens, and I'm pleased that in securing federal funding, council can now proceed with its construction."

An earlier concept plan, released in 2018, for the entry into the Birubi Information Centre.

An earlier concept plan, released in 2018, for the entry into the Birubi Information Centre.

The interchange and information centre, a project that has been 10 years in the making, will be located off Gan Gan Road using the beach access road next to the long stalled Anna Bay Resort development.

Its development would mean that coaches would no longer need to navigate James Paterson Street or have to park on the bottom gravel car park that is often covered in sand. It would also ease parking pressure in James Paterson Street and around Birubi Point, which becomes a heated issue during peak holiday periods.

The council has previously stated that the interchange project will "create a unique visitor experience and improve the lives of locals".

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer said the federal funding was great news for the "Anna Bay community, the Worimi Conservation Lands and our local tourism operators".

"The Birubi Information Centre started as an idea to provide better access to the incredible Worimi Conservation Lands and the sand dunes of the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council. It's also a way to improve the experience of locals and visitors, and protect the cultural significance of this place," he said.

"The Birubi Information Centre will be a game-changer for Port Stephens. By creating a new gateway to the Wormi Conservation Lands, we'll improve the visitor experience and allow our entire community to enjoy the beauty of this incredible place in a safe and sustainable way."

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