SKYDIVING granny Lorraine Roberson on the weekend celebrated her 85th birthday with another skydive with Skydive Oz in Moruya.
Member for Eden-Monaro Dr Mike Kelly coincidentally last week announced that Skydive Oz has been awarded $110,000 to develop an Extreme Sports complex at the Moruya airport but more on that later.
Lorraine or “Rainie” who hails from Bibbenluke near Bombala this time jumped with 11 of her family members and described her latest plummet to the earth as “fantastic”.
“It feels absolutely lovely,” she said. “I love floating around out there, you can see everything.”
The new complex meanwhile will be custom-designed to host extreme sporting events and provide accommodation for up to 20 people – and it is expected to bring more thrill-seeking visitors into Moruya and the wider Eurobodalla region.
Skydive OZ is based at Moruya Airport and currently offers Learn to Skydive courses and tandem skydiving experiences from Moruya and Merimbula Airports.
The company also hosts an annual “Sports Skydiving” event which draws visitors from around the globe.
Dr Kelly said the new funding would allow Skydive Oz to diversify and tap into the rapidly growing market of tourists looking for an adrenalin buzz.
“Skydive Oz has established itself on the coast as a successful business with a good online strategy, and I think this project will allow it to take that business to the next level,” Dr Kelly said.
“We know that our beautiful beaches and lifestyle bring tourists to the coast in droves during the summer, but broadening our appeal through projects like this will allow us to attract tourism year-round.”
Dr Kelly said he was delighted that two projects in Eden-Monaro were successful, with Tathra Beach Family Park also awarded $110,000.
“Tourism is one of the central pillars to my plan for this region – that’s why I have committed $10million to expand the Port of Eden and bring in up to one cruise liner a week.
“It is essential that we do everything we can to build up our infrastructure and attractions to cater for this influx of up to 200,000 extra tourists a year, and both of these local projects will help to do this.”
The 89 recipients share in a total of $8.5 million in funding under the 2013 Round of the Federal Government’s Tourism Quality (T-QUAL) Grants.
The projects are expected to leverage a total investment of almost $27 million.
“T-QUAL Grants provide great support to help tourism operators, many of whom are small businesses, attract more visitors by ensuring products and experiences remain fresh, of a high standard, and support local economies and communities,” Dr Kelly said.
The four-year T-QUAL Grants program aims to stimulate sustainable economic growth in tourism and is an integral part of the Government’s Tourism 2020 strategy to double the value of overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.
Meanwhile, this was the third jump for the skydiving granny.
Lorraine first jumped in her seventies at Wilton and then again in Moruya on her 80th birthday.
Joining her on Saturday where 40 friends and family members who came from far and wide to help her celebrate, 11 of whom took the plunge jumping in tandem.
Her friends joked that she was very brave and perhaps didn’t have any brains or was mad for jumping out of a plane.
She even had a perm especially for the day, just to keep her hair out of her face.