Premier Mark McGowan today announced the official creation of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park, located about 80km west of Geraldton.
The creation of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park coincides with the 400-year anniversary of the European sighting of the islands by Dutch explorer Frederik de Houtman.
The Abrolhos is the site of the notorious Batavia mutiny and a popular destination for fishing and nature appreciation.
The national park will be vested with the Conservation and Parks Commission and managed by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The national park will extend to the high-water mark with curtilages around the jetties at East Wallabi and Beacon islands. Airstrips on North, East Wallabi and Rat islands are included in the national park. It covers lands outside of areas leased to rock lobster and aquaculture fisheries.
Over the next two years, the McGowan Government is investing $10 million into tourism and management infrastructure at the national park, including the construction of new jetties, toilets, shade shelters, walk trails and visitor interpretation on East Wallabi and Beacon islands. The airstrip on East Wallabi will also be upgraded.
A further operational budget has been allocated for the ongoing management of the islands, including for the employment of rangers.
Plan for Our Parks aims to create five million hectares of new national and marine parks and conservation reserves over the next five years.
Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:
"This is a historic day for our State.
"Our vision is to provide a world-class tourism experience and create new jobs and economic opportunities in the Mid-West, while protecting the unique environmental values of the islands.
"The creation of the national park will ensure the area's unique conservation values will remain protected and will open it up to new tourism opportunities. The Islands have a rich and, in many ways, infamous history.
"The improved visitor facilities will be a big drawcard for local, interstate and international visitors, with increased opportunities for nature tourism and recreation on the islands.
"The creation of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park was only possible thanks to the valuable input we received from the community and industry."
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"I'm pleased we are delivering our first new national park under the McGowan Government's Plan for Our Parks initiative.
"The Abrolhos Islands are one of the world's most important seabird nesting areas.
"The creation of the national park will protect the islands' biodiversity, heritage and landscape values and create opportunities for visitors to enjoy their unrivalled beauty.
"Importantly, recreational fishing tourism will continue to be supported and built on by the McGowan Government."
Premier's office - 6552 5000
Environment Minister's office - 6552 5800
A map is available at: https://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/MediaDocuments/abrolhos_20190725_433-A1_mapPlan.pdf