State, Federal governments to spend $33m on Rottnest Island upgrade

Kent AcottThe West Australian
VideoThe Federal and State Governments plan to splash the cash on Rottnest Island, using the money to upgrade visitor facilities

Rottnest will have the biggest upgrade in its history with the Federal and State governments planning a $33 million cash splash on WA’s premier holiday island.

Federal Tourism and Trade Minister Simon Birmingham will today announce the most significant Commonwealth investment in Rottnest since World War II — a $17.2 million upgrade program that will include $5 million for an improved museum.

Minutes later, WA Premier Mark McGowan will announce plans to spend $16.2 million on the island, including the transfer of the barge landing from the main jetty to the army jetty.

The announcements will be made at the Perth opening of the annual Australian Tourism Exchange — Australia’s biggest tourism convention with more than 2000 international and interstate delegates.

Mr Birmingham said the $17.2 million was part of the $50 million allocated in last week’s Federal Budget for Australia’s important tourist attractions.

It will include $12.2 million to upgrade visitor facilities, including the island’s jetties, wharves, piers, roads, sun shelters, walking trails signs and existing lighthouse and railway.

“Clearly Rottnest is an Australian tourism icon, etched into the memories of the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the island each year,” he said. “It has enjoyed high visitor growth in recent years and is on track to reach its 2034 target of 800,000 annual visitors well ahead of schedule.

“But with growth comes pressures on capacity and infrastructure. This funding recognises these pressures and will allow upgrades to be done to maintain those iconic visitor experiences.”

Rottnest Island Authority chief executive Michelle Reynolds welcomed the Federal funding and said it would help fund accommodation upgrades, the island’s road network and to create an improved entry statement at the main jetty.

Main jetty improvements will be boosted by the State Government’s funding to shift the barge landing further south to the army jetty precinct.

The new money will also pay for the complete redevelopment of the fuel jetty.

“Since taking office, my Government has moved swiftly to invest in marketing Rottnest Island and many other popular WA tourist destinations to holiday-makers,” Mr McGowan said.

“Rottnest has become world famous since we’ve had the likes of Chris Hemsworth, Matt Damon, Margot Robbie and Roger Federer leading the quokka selfie movement.

“This $16.2 million funding boost is the biggest standalone State Government cash injection into Rottnest in the past decade.

“This record investment will set up Rottnest Island as a premier tourism hotspot for generations.

“I’m pleased this much-needed funding will go towards major refurbishments to our key jetties to make the island more accessible.”

Tourism Council chief executive Evan Hall said the funding would bring more visitors while protecting and enhancing the island’s unique environment, culture and Aboriginal heritage.

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