Construction will soon start on two jetties in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park, to ensure conservation of the islands and open the area up to new tourism opportunities.
The tenders for the jetties at Beacon Island and East Wallabi Island have been awarded to a Mid-West construction company, In-Situ Construction and Maintenance, with an investment of $4.35 million.
The Beacon Island jetty will accommodate boats less than 10m in length and is being built to facilitate tourism on the island, which is heritage listed and is the site of the infamous Batavia shipwreck and mutiny.
The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) is working with the Western Australian Museum Boola Bardip to provide future visitor and interpretation infrastructure on Beacon Island.
The jetty on East Wallabi Island will assist in island management by DBCA and will be an access point for a proposed operational base and park visitors, as well as supporting the commercial fishing industry. It will cater for vessels up to 20m in length and provide access to the nearby airstrip, which is an important gateway for people entering the archipelago.
Construction is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021, with works to commence around December 2020.
Comments attributed to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson:
"The McGowan Government has recently announced a $13.8 million investment for infrastructure and management of the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park over the next four years, including the installation of new jetties.
"The national park was created just last year under the landmark Plan for Our Parks initiative, and since then we have been working hard to ensure the park's heritage and biodiversity values are recognised and protected, while we also look to harness its economic and tourism potential.
"One of the first steps in facilitating tourism on the islands is creating better access, and these two jetties are significant investments that will help put the Houtman Abrolhos Islands on the tourist map as a must-visit destination in WA's Mid-West.
"The awarding of the contract to a local Mid-West business is testament to the State Government's commitment to creating local jobs and supporting local economies, particularly while we are in this COVID-19 recovery phase.
"Any tourism development on the islands will be managed in a way that ensures the unique environment and history, including any of the numerous shipwrecks sites, are protected."