Historic railways, traditional stock routes, heritage buildings and symphony orchestras could be the winners from a national lottery if a federal Liberal MP has his way.

Tasmanian Eric Hutchinson wants a lottery established to fund restorations of heritage sites and special arts projects.

“You drive anywhere and you see them falling into disrepair,” said.

The MP doesn’t foresee proceeds from the lottery replacing existing commonwealth money for arts and heritage, but says it could be a good source of extra cash, especially for smaller projects.

Mr Hutchinson, whose electorate of Lyons includes several significant historic sites including the convict penal settlement of Port Arthur, points to the success of the United Kingdom’s heritage lottery fund which raises almost $730 million annually.

A lottery was used to fund construction of the Sydney Opera House.

Mr Hutchinson is sensitive to issues around problem gambling but is confident they can be resolved.

The MP has in-principle support for his lottery plan from cabinet ministers Greg Hunt (environment) and George Brandis (arts).

His next step is to set up a parliamentary friends of history and heritage group with Labor’s Laurie Ferguson in a bid to win more advocates and encourage the public to have its say.