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Cranbourne’s treasured Royal Botanic Gardens has received its biggest funding boost in more than 20 years.

Minister for Environment Lily D’Ambrosio unveiled a $27 million funding package over five years for the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) to revitalise its Melbourne and Cranbourne gardens.

It will fund new paths, better irrigation, keep the waterways free of weeds and safeguard over 8,000 species of rare and unusual plants under the care of the Gardens.

The funding will create 18 new jobs, repair the roofs of the famous Observatory buildings and replace the doors of the Tropical Glasshouse.

Visitors will enjoy new signage, better lighting and revamped picnic areas, as well as more community programs and major events.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said the funding would ensure the RBGV remains one of the “best gardens in the world.”

“These gardens are the living heart of Melbourne and we’re making sure they thrive for future generations,” she said.

Member for Cranbourne Jude Perera said RBGV in Cranbourne was a cherished sanctuary of native bushland and “this funding will help it stay that way.”

Chief executive of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria Professor Tim Entwisle said this uplift would begin a transformation of the state’s largest and much loved Botanic Gardens.

“We will add to those beautiful landscapes new digital interpretation, tours, public art and exhibitions, greater access to our scientific knowledge and many more ways for our visitors to connect with nature,” he said.

The upgrades are expected to lift the annual number of visitors to RBGV from 1.9 million to 2.3 million visitors each year by 2023.

RBGV will continue its collaboration with Aboriginal Elders to celebrate the important stories and living culture of the Traditional Owners of the land.

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