- Budget commits $19.3 million for Total Solar Eclipse preparation in addition to mid-year review funding, which brings the total spend to more than $21 million
- Thousands of tourists expected to witness natural phenomenon
- Beach, road and telecommunications upgrades for Exmouth region
The McGowan Government has committed $19.3 million in the 2022-23 State Budget to support preparations for the Total Solar Eclipse (TSE) event next year.
This takes the total State Government funding for the TSE to $21.1 million.
Western Australia is expected to receive a significant increase in international and domestic visitors to witness this natural phenomenon when the sun, moon and earth align at 11.27am on April 20, 2023.
Exmouth has been identified as the best land-based place in the world to view the eclipse, with the Exmouth Peninsula set to experience full darkness.
Other locations around WA will see a partial solar eclipse, including Perth witnessing a 70 per cent eclipse, Geraldton about 80 per cent, Carnarvon 95 per cent, Karratha 97 per cent and Coral Bay 99 per cent.
While the actual eclipse is relatively short, Tourism WA expects visitors to stay in the region for around five days.
Tourism WA will be organising a major event in the region to support the success of the TSE for visitors and local businesses, and to highlight WA's unique potential as a dark sky tourism destination
The Department of Jobs, Trade, Tourism and Innovation (JTSI) is leading the whole-of-government approach to the management of the TSE event.
The McGowan Government established a cross-government working group last year, including representatives from 13 State Government agencies and one Federal Government agency, to plan and manage this special natural event.
The group has been working in partnership with the local community and the eclipse stakeholder reference group to address a range of logistical challenges to ensure the TSE event is a success.
The upcoming State Budget will include a range of extra funding initiatives to support the event.
The State Government's commitments include:
- $8.2 million in road infrastructure upgrades and traffic management in line with Main Roads' previous experience in managing large volumes of event traffic;
- $2.2 million for vehicle control points and signage;
- $1.9 million for rest area upgrades on the Minilya-Exmouth Road;
- $1.7 million for temporary turnaround areas;
- $1.2 million for rest area upgrades on the North West Coast Highway;
- $920,000 for four intersection improvements;
- $250,000 for harbour landscaping and lighting;
- $5.4 million to increase the capacity of the region's telecommunications infrastructure;
- $3 million to temporarily boost Exmouth's telecommunications network during the event;
- $2.4 million to upgrade the range and capacity of the telecommunications infrastructure in the Exmouth region;
- $5 million to JTSI for event management;
- including $470,000 to upgrade Exmouth Town Beach for improved footpaths, lighting and landscaping; and
- $1.1 million to the Department of Biodiversity, Conservations and Attractions for event and waste management costs.
Thousands of tourists are expected to visit Ningaloo Coastal Reserve, Ningaloo Marine Park, Montebello Marine Park, Pilbara Inshore Islands, Cape Range National Park, Barrow Island Marine Management Area and the Giralia Station.
The TSE occurs when the sun is covered by the silhouette of the moon. The process of the moon moving across the sun takes several hours but the actual complete darkness lasts just 62 seconds.
Find out more about the eclipse event at www.ningalooeclipse.com.au
Comments attributed to Tourism Minister Roger Cook:
"A Total Solar Eclipse is an extraordinary astronomical event that presents a unique tourism opportunity for Exmouth and the broader North West Cape.
"This will be the only land-based place in the world where people will be able to view 100 per cent of the Total Solar Eclipse on land.
"This will be great for tourism operators and local businesses, with thousands of international and domestic visitors travelling to the Coral Coast region.
"An event of this size presents logistical challenges, particularly for telecommunications, roads and infrastructure, and this extra funding will help ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible.
"Beyond tourism, astronomical events such as this have the potential to inspire the next generation to learn more about our universe, and take up science, technology engineering and maths studies and careers."
Minister's office - 6552 6500