10/08/2020 - 10:00

$150m for tourism recovery

10/08/2020 - 10:00

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The state government continued the rollout of its coronavirus recovery plan over the weekend, announcing funding packages for the tourism and recreational fishing sectors.

Rottnest Island will receive $31 million in upgrades as part of the newly-announced funding package. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The state government continued the rollout of its coronavirus recovery plan over the weekend, announcing funding packages for the tourism and recreational fishing sectors.

The $5.5 billion recovery plan, announced in late July, has so far included funding for infrastructure, defence, and arts and cultural activities.

WA’s tourism sector will receive $150 million under the plan, with Perth Zoo, Kings Park and the Bibbulmun Track to be upgraded.

That comes as the sector has struggled in recent months with the burden of strict interstate border closures, with Tourism Council WA reporting a 26 per cent decline in activity compared to the same time last year.

However, Business News has reported anecdotal evidence that regional operators are receiving a robust number of domestic tourists in recent months as intrastate restrictions have eased.

Rottnest Island is among the biggest beneficiaries of the announcement, with $31 million to go towards overhauling the island’s water supply and road network.

Perth Zoo will receive $10 million to refurbish existing amenities, while Aboriginal cultural tourism will receive $13.8 million in upgrades to access roads and campsites.

Speaking alongside Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in Mandurah on Saturday, Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said new funding would improve how visitors experienced the state’s unique destinations.

“Western Australia's greatest strength as a tourism destination is our pristine natural assets … we truly have the most exotic, diverse and remarkable environment in the world,” he said.

“We are home to the oldest living culture on earth, and the investment in Aboriginal cultural tourism will allow even more tourists to learn about the state's incredible history while having an unforgettable holiday experience.”

Meanwhile, recreational fishing will receive a smaller, $6 million, package to fund marketing campaigns, artificial reefs and a boost to fishing stocks in the Perth metropolitan area.

That plan was formulated in consultation with industry group Recfishwest.

Newly announced funding is set to complement the existing ‘Snapper Guardians’ program at Cockburn Sound, which will be extended to allow for an additional 1 million barramundi to be released annually into Lake Kununurra over the coming year.

Fisheries Minister Peter Tinley said the funding would boost the state's $2.4 billion industry and work in conjunction with previously announced funding for the state’s regional tourism industry.

“In dropping a line, setting a pot, collecting an abalone or scooping a crab, it's the enjoyment of the catch that inspires recfishers [sic] and gets them out and about around the state,” he said.

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