NSW Environment Minister Mark Speakman last week announced the approval of the lease of a 16.5-hectare site in the Western Sydney Parklands, which will be the site for Sydney's proposed new family oriented zoo.
Mr Speakerman said the proposed zoo, which will be adjacent to Bungarribee's new picnic and playgrounds, would be a popular new attraction to Western Sydney that is expected to attract about 745,000 visitors a year when it opens in late 2017.
Some of the proposed exhibits include: Glassed observation areas for hippos, crocodiles and other aquatic life; Australian reptile and nocturnal animal houses; African grasslands with elevated viewing walkways with animals such as lions, cheetahs, elephants, wildebeest, giraffes and rhinos; and native waterways with animals that include bull sharks.
"The focus on native animals and Indigenous culture will be a highlight, and it will illustrate the dramatic and compelling stories of the local Darug people," Mr Speakman said.
Tourism Minister and Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres said Western Sydney was emerging as a dynamic new centre for tourism and recreation investment with world class facilities right in the backyard of 2 million local residents.
"The Sydney Zoo will be uniquely located to service the strong family and relatives market in Western Sydney and tap into the growing number of international tourists visiting the west of Sydney as they travel to and from the Blue Mountains," Mr Ayres said.
A KPMG report suggests the zoo will deliver more than $60 million worth of benefits during the construction period while the annual impact on the wider NSW economy is estimated to be around $45 million.
The zoo is also in talks with Western Sydney University about potentially establishing a Centre of Excellence in Wildlife Conservation – a research facility housed on the Zoo site.