Bob Kucera

Bob Kucera

Former Minister for Disability Services; Sport and Recreation; Citizenship and Multicultural Interests; Seniors

Geoff Gallop

Geoff Gallop

Former Premier; Minister for Public Sector Management; Water Resources; Federal Affairs

    State Government unveils blueprint for the future of Rottnest Island

    30/05/2004 12:45 PM

    Premier Geoff Gallop has announced Rottnest Island will be declared a national park under a landmark plan to secure the long-term future of the popular holiday destination.

    Releasing the Rottnest Island Taskforce Report, Dr Gallop today said the island was set to become the blueprint for how a sensitive environment could be sustained alongside heavy tourism and commercial interests.

    “To help meet this objective, the State Government will commit $20million over the next six years towards a program of repairs and renovations,” the Premier said.

    “This is in addition to about $3.5million already committed on an annual basis.

    “The works program, to begin immediately, is part of the taskforce’s 103 recommendations and the State Government’s response to ensure the island remains open for business.

    “Importantly, this year a significant amount of $14.2million will be spent on the capital works program.

    “I am pleased to see the expert advice and detailed analysis undertaken by the taskforce has found that the condition of infrastructure on Rottnest is not as dire as the Auditor General was led to believe.

    “However, the taskforce, State Government and Auditor General are all in agreement that immediate action is needed to bring Rottnest back up to an acceptable standard."

    The State Government has accepted 101 of the taskforce’s 103 recommendations.

    The key recommendations include:
    • declaring all areas outside the settlement precinct a national park;
    • upgrading power supplies with a focus on wind turbines;
    • providing water through a desalination process;
    • shipping all rubbish off the island;
    • a five-year refurbishment plan for accommodation; and
    • a plan to make island management more commercially focussed.
    Tourism Minister Bob Kucera congratulated the taskforce on its work.

    “At a practical level, what this means for the 500,000 visitors who come to the island every year is that there will soon be decent mattresses and better accommodation at Longreach and Fays Bays, a refreshed Quokka Arms, improvements to roads and pathways and construction of a wind turbine on Mt Herschel, near the salt lakes at Geordie Bay,” Mr Kucera said.

    “There will be long-term infrastructure upgrade improvements to the power and water supplies, better management to put the island on a more commercial footing and a promotion of tourism aimed at ensuring visitors enjoy their experience at Rottnest.”

    Two recommendations involving a marine park and making the Department of Conservation and Land Management managers of Rottnest waters have been rejected. Instead, CALM, the Departments of Fisheries, the Western Australian Tourism Commission, RecfishWest and the Rottnest Island Authority will create the best framework to manage the marine environment.

    The taskforce had been required to examine what infrastructure the island needed on a prioritised basis.

    While the taskforce’s recommendations aimed to place the island’s management on a more commercial footing, Dr Gallop guaranteed there would continue to be a range of accommodation styles for different budgets within a more defined high season and low season, with accompanying tariffs.

    “The taskforce has made a thorough, independent study of the island’s management, operations and years of under-funding,” he said.

    “Its recommendations have produced a detailed action plan to ensure Rottnest remains protected and able to continue as a prime tourist spot for local, national and international visitors.

    “The recommendations provide improved infrastructure that is properly costed and a detailed vision for the future of the island."

    Premier’s Office - 9222 9475
    Office of the Minister for Tourism - 9213 7000