The $84 million expansion of Werribee Zoo into Australia’s Premier Open Range Zoo will provide a significant boost for the local economy including the creation of 350 jobs, including 90 direct jobs.

The funding announced today will be used to expand the zoo over the next five years and will increase the number of visitors and tourists coming through the gates each year from more than 680,000 in 2018/19 to one million visitors.

The funding, part of the upcoming State Budget, will also see Werribee become the new home of the city’s much loved Asian elephant herd currently at Melbourne Zoo.

Once completed the Werribee Zoo redevelopment is expected to contribute over $17.8 million annually to Victoria’s economy. The redevelopment will deliver a world-class experience, with a new elephant sanctuary to house six Asian elephants, a tree top Sky Safari gondola, a new specially designed site for rhinos and bison, and a brand-new waterhole precinct.

The new elephant sanctuary will benefits the animals, with the herd able to roam freely over 22 hectares of natural landscapes.

The relocation of the elephant herd from Melbourne Zoo is stage one of Zoos Victoria’s 2030 strategy making space available for further development opportunities at Melbourne Zoo, which is already one of Victoria’s premier attractions.

For those Victorians worried about the expense of a day out with the family, we will also extend our “Kids Free” Policy until June 2021. That means free admission to Werribee Open Range Zoo, Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary for young Victorians aged under 16 years on weekends, public holidays and during school holidays.

The Werribee Open Range is currently open to visitors who live within 25km of the Zoo and bookings must be made online at: zoos.org.au

Quotes attributable to Member for Werribee Tim Pallas

“The expansion of Werribee Open Range Zoo will create jobs in Melbourne’s west boosting the local economy and attracting more people to our great community.”

“The local community is already proud of the Werribee Open Range Zoo but this expansion will make it an even more important part of what we love about this area.”

“Bringing the Asian elephant herd from Melbourne out to Werribee is a win for animal welfare that will create a great new attraction for locals and tourists alike.”