- Funding will go towards increasing WA's conservation estate by over 20 per cent
The McGowan Government is investing more than $22 million to the creation and ongoing management of national parks, marine parks and conservation reserves in the 2019-20 State Budget.
Under the ambitious Plan for Our Parks initiative, five million hectares of new national and marine parks and reserves will be established over the next five years.
$10 million will be invested over the next two years to establish visitor operations and infrastructure at the proposed Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park. This will include the creation of a jetty, installation of signage and paths, and the expansion and upgrades to the airstrip.
A further $3.8 million will be spread over the four-year budget period for the ongoing management of the islands.
Known for its rich biodiversity and historic shipwrecks, the Abrolhos Islands and their surrounding coral reef communities form one of the world's most important seabird nesting areas. It is also Western Australia's single largest western rock lobster fishery.
The State Government is also investing more than $1.3 million in 2019-20, and $1.8 million per annum for the following three years, to build public recreation facilities and implement traditional owner joint management of coastal reserves in the Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area.
While almost $2 million will go towards the creation and ongoing management of the proposed national park at Helena and Aurora Range due to the area's extremely high environmental and social values.
Plan for Our Parks is part of 'Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity', a new program of targets to address important issues facing Western Australia.
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"Plan for Our Parks will deliver new and expanded parks from the Kimberley in the north, across WA's Rangelands, through population centres in Perth and Bunbury, to our south-west forests and along our southern coastline.
"We are undertaking a thorough, comprehensive and ongoing consultation process with traditional owners; pastoral, mining and fishing industry groups; conservation organisations; interest holders and government agencies.
"This initiative will provide more on-country jobs for Aboriginal people in regional WA by creating opportunities for traditional owners to jointly manage country."
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Paul Papalia:
"The proposed Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park is on track to be created by July 2019 to coincide with the 400-year anniversary of the European sighting of the islands by Dutch explorer Frederik de Houtman.
"It will deliver new public facilities to support and encourage tourism development, and improve visitor safety and amenity, consistent with the Premier's announcement for a whole of Government approach to better protect and manage the Abrolhos Islands and create tourism and job opportunities.
"The Ningaloo Coast World Heritage Area attracts many thousands of visitors each year who seek to camp against the world famous backdrop. The plan proposes to maintain sustainable, affordable, remote and self-sufficient camping and caravanning experiences."
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800
Tourism Minister's office - 6552 5600