THE “Welcome to Paradise” sign over the entrance to the front of Wiluna’s only surviving pub may appear somewhat ironic to outsiders. Driving into the town on the edge of the Great Sandy Desert, about 1000 kilometres north-east of Perth, and travellers would be forgiven for thinking it is anything but paradise.
But the local council and businesses believe they can make Wiluna more than a necessary outpost and pitstop to weary travellers.
Wiluna Shire president and hotel manageress Kerrie Johnston hopes to attract more tourists and, with this goal in mind, the council next month will form a tourism committee.
Wiluna is subject to a problem that plagues many towns in WA’s interior, where so many city investors draw profits from so many rich commercial ventures without stepping foot in this dry and dusty part of the world.
And it is not just those putting their money into mining, transport and pastoral concerns. Even Wiluna’s local pub, probably the source of many of these social problems, has Perth-based owners.
And, to top that off, the town lacks workers, despite the 1000-plus souls that live in and immediately around Wiluna, because of its remoteness, lack of accommodation and safety concerns.
You would have to be optimistic to start a tourism venture there, but perhaps tourism is a solution.
To attempt such a venture may well stimulate more productive debate on how to restore a town such as Wiluna to former glories, including pride in its existing population.
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