Ngajarli Art Viewing Trail in Murujuga National Park. Photo by Fuzz Digital
Ngajarli Art Viewing Trail in Murujuga National Park. Photo by Fuzz Digital

This service is responsible for the generation of environmental, social, cultural and economic benefits through further development of a world-class parks system in terms of ecosystem management and visitor facilities and services.

Performance summary

Table 3: Service 5 performance summary


2020–21 target

2020–21 actual


Expenses by service




Key efficiency indicator


Average cost per hectare in national parks and other lands and waters




Key effectiveness indicator


Average level of visitor satisfaction in national parks and other lands and waters




More information on these indicators can be found in the Disclosures and Legal Compliance section under Key Performance Indicators. 

Park visitor statistics

The 2020–21 visitor satisfaction index, averaged from visitor responses to surveys at selected parks, reserves and forest areas around the State, was 93.2 per cent. This outcome, with results from previous years of the survey program, is illustrated in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Visitor satisfaction levels within Parks and Wildlife Service-managed lands and waters

Figure 1 Visitor satisfaction levels within Parks and Wildlife Service-managed lands and waters

Note: In 2019–20 an exemption from reporting ‘Average level of visitor satisfaction in national parks and other lands and waters’ was granted due to the impact of COVID-19, upon request to the Under Treasurer.

During 2020–21, there were 21.25 million visits to Parks and Wildlife Service-managed lands and waters, an increase from 19.60 million last year (Figure 2). Most regions saw an increase in visitation. There was a slight decrease in the Swan Region which was likely due to COVID-19 lockdowns.

Figure 2 Total visits to Parks and Wildlife Service-managed lands and waters

Figure 2 Total visits to Parks and Wildlife Service-managed lands and waters

Note: Data in this graph is taken from DBCA's Visitor Statistics (VISTAT) database and is a true and correct record of best available data from the VISTAT database at the time of preparing the visitation figure for the annual report. As VISTAT is a live database, corrections and amendments are made on an ongoing basis so the figures presented here may differ from those presented in previous reports. 

During 2020–21, there were 104,700 bookings for the 3705 campsites managed by the Parks and Wildlife Service, an increase from 75,900 last year (Figure 3). The increase is likely due to WA residents changing behaviours to explore parks in their own State, and 231 more campsites being made available on the online booking system. There are now 1911 campsites that visitors can book online.

Figure 3 Total campground bookings at Parks and Wildlife Service-managed campgrounds

Figure 3 Total campground bookings at Parks and Wildlife Service-managed campgrounds

Performance highlights

Plan for Our Parks

  • Seven parks and reserves have been created, encompassing 313,746 hectares or approximately 6.3 per cent of the five-million-hectare Plan for Our Parks target. 
  • In December 2020, the Nyinggulu (Ningaloo) coastal reserves (47,543 hectares) were created and the associated Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) was finalised with the Nganhurra Thanardi Garrbu Aboriginal Corporation. This formalises joint vesting and ongoing joint management with traditional owners for the protection and conservation of cultural and natural values.
  • In January 2021, the Badimia conservation reserves (114,087 hectares) were created in the Midwest and 548 hectares around Lake Jasper were reinstated into D’Entrecasteaux National Park, Nannup. In February 2021, Stage one of the Helena and Aurora Ranges National Park (149,169 hectares) was created.
  • ILUAs were registered with the National Native Title Tribunal for the Bardi and Jawi, Mayala and Dambimangari native title holders for the Buccaneer Archipelago marine parks, and with the Gooniyandi native title holders for the Fitzroy River National Park.

Tourism and accommodation

  • DBCA supported the tourism industry through the impacts of COVID-19 by offering licence fee waivers and rent relief.
  • The Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation was granted a lease to develop an ecotourism facility in Millstream Chichester National Park, which will also result in economic and social benefits for the regional community.
  • DBCA continued to facilitate opportunities for a broad range of visitor experiences and services in parks through partnerships with commercial operators. The opportunity to run the kiosk at the new Kalbarri Skywalk in Kalbarri National Park was awarded to 28 Villages. Competitive processes were run for adventure activities and a pop-up trail centre in Lane Poole Reserve as part of the Dwellingup Adventure Trails initiative, and for opportunities associated with Collie Adventure Trails in Wellington National Park. Planning progressed for a tourism opportunity at the Gloucester Tree near Pemberton, and some of the proposals submitted and assessed under the Market-Led Proposals Policy have progressed.

Recreation and trails

  • DBCA commenced a number of trail projects under the WA Recovery Plan including:

    • construction of new and upgraded mountain bike and walk trails in the Perth Hills including at the Goat Farm and John Forrest National Park
    • planning and construction of new and upgraded walk, paddle and mountain bike trails in the Great Southern region
    • construction of additional mountain bike trails at the Pines near Margaret River
    • renewal of infrastructure and campsite improvements to Bibbulmun Track and Munda Biddi Trail facilities including trail sections
    • construction of a new section of Munda Biddi Trail between Greens Pool and Waterfall beach in William Bay National Park
    • construction of an extension to the Harewood Forest trail north-west of Denmark
    • relocation of the arrival/departure location for the Munda Biddi Trail and Bibbulmun Track Southern terminus in Albany.
  • Continued implementation of the $8.5 million, three-year Dwellingup Adventure Trails initiative jointly funded with the Shire of Murray through the Australian Government's Building Better Regions fund. Works completed in 2020–21 include:
    • completion of 35km of Murray Valley mountain bike trails in Lane Poole Reserve
    • planning for the 20km Dwellingup Town Trails
    • construction of the new Murray River suspension bridge at Dwaarlindjirraap (Baden Powel) day use site.
  • Continued implementation of the $10 million, four-year Collie Adventure Trails initiative in partnership with the Shire of Collie. Works completed in 2020–21 include:
    • completion of the Arklow mountain bike trail network near Collie
    • construction of the Wiilman Bilya Walk Trail from Collie south to Wellington Dam, including a new suspension bridge over the Collie River
    • construction of Stage 1 of Wellington National Park mountain bike trails.
  • DBCA continued to work with key recreation bodies to develop and implement strategic planning initiatives, including the WA Hiking Strategy: Bushwalking and Trail Running in WA 2020–2030, WA Horse Trail Strategy, and the Peel and Great Southern regional trails master plans.

Improving facilities

  • As part of the WA Recovery Plan, $13 million has been spent upgrading existing visitor access and facilities, including:

    • Yanchep National Park roads and carpark upgrade and Gloucester Lodge upgrade
    • resealing of dual use paths within Perth metropolitan Regional Parks
    • Danggu (formerly Geikie Gorge) National Park new boat floating dock and jetty
    • John Forrest National Park sealing of Jane Brook Promenade
    • Penguin Island construction of new ablution facility
    • Monkey Mia new visitor facilities including interpretation and landscaping
    • resurfacing and shoulder widening at Coalmine Beach Road in Walpole Nornalup National Park
    • Olive Seymour boardwalk replacement at Herdsman Lake Regional Park
    • new viewing platform at Gloucester Tree and boardwalk replacement at Beedelup Falls in Pemberton
    • road and car parking upgrades at Lake Thetis, Nambung National Park.
  • Maintenance of the 36,000km DBCA-managed road network including:
    • resealing of tourist roads in DBCA's Warren Region including Valley of the Giants, Beedelup Falls, Coalmine Beach and Big Brook Dam
    • sealing of Collie Scenic Drive in Westralia Conservation Park.
  • Continued upgrade of roads, car parks, access paths and facilities in William Bay National Park, Nyinggulu coastal reserves and Lake Kepwari.
  • Start of the $3.1 million Collie Tourism Readiness and Economic Stimulation initiative in partnership with the Shire of Collie. Works in 2020–21 include the realignment of Wellington Dam road and construction of an expanded car park at Wellington Dam, planning and construction of new paths and staircases to access the Wellington Dam mural, and a range of trails-wayfinding projects.
  • Commenced the installation of a new jetty and the establishment of new visitor facilities and a park operations base at East Wallabi Island in the Houtman Abrolhos Islands National Park.
  • Construction of a new boat ramp and jetty at Canal Rocks in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park.

Management planning

Aboriginal Ranger Program

  • The third and final round for the State Government’s Aboriginal Ranger Program launched in 2017, awarded $4.75 million to 10 Aboriginal ranger projects across the State. DBCA is now developing the framework for the expanded $50 million Aboriginal Ranger Program announced in 2021.

Community engagement

  • At 30 June 2021, there were 12,320 volunteers registered with the Parks and Wildlife Service. Of these, 6163 contributed 834,996 hours to projects across the State including campground hosting, collecting seeds, clearing weeds, wildlife rehabilitation, animal surveys, terrestrial and marine plant surveys and track, trail and park maintenance. The department also worked closely with numerous ‘Friends of’ and four-wheel-drive groups, major wildlife rehabilitation centres and other community-based organisations.
  • DBCA registered 1837 new volunteers and created 12 new volunteer projects, including taxonomic studies of WA plants, emu monitoring at Nambung National Park and Barrow Island nature conservation research.
  • The Wildcare Helpline’s 29 volunteers contributed 6744 hours fielding approximately 10,500 calls related to sick or injured native wildlife. Approximately 1585 wildlife rehabilitation volunteers provided 389,126 hours of care for native wildlife.
  • The Campground Host program had 269 volunteers at 52 campgrounds, and 10 new hosted campsites were added at Ex-Ningaloo and Waroora stations.
  • On 26 August 2020, the 700m Ngajarli Art Viewing Trail in Murujuga National Park was officially opened. It is designed for accessibility and features interpretive signs, an elevated boardwalk and viewing platforms to display an array of rock art and cultural artefacts estimated to be more than 45,000 years old.
  • Visitor and recreation master planning and community consultation progressed with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation for Murujuga National Park, and with stakeholders for the Houtman Abrolhos Islands and Yanchep national parks.
  • Seven campgrounds were added to Park Stay WA including two in Millstream Chichester National Park, one in Wanagarren Nature Reserve, one in Karda Reserve, two in Shannon National Park and one at Lake Kepwari.
  • Recreation site planning and detailed design for trail-related visitor facilities continued for John Forrest, Wellington, Torndirrup, Porongurup and William Bay national parks and Lane Poole Reserve.
  • Recreation site planning and detailed design for improved visitor infrastructure began or continued at Kalgulup Regional Park (Maidens Reserve and Koombana Bay), Serpentine National Park (Serpentine Falls), Tree Top Walk and the Valley of the Giants, Leeuwin Naturaliste National Park (Rabbits, Point Road and Redgate), Kalgoorlie Arboretum, Len Howard Conservation Park, Goegrup Lake Nature Reserve and Dryandra Nature Reserve (Contine Hill).

World and National Heritage management

  • DBCA partnered with the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation to prepare a World Heritage nomination for the Murujuga Cultural Landscape, which was added to Australia's World Heritage Tentative List in January 2020.
  • The creation of additional conservation reserves adjoining the World Heritage boundary, and extensions to Cape Range National Park and the intertidal portion of Ningaloo Marine Park, provided greater management and protection of World Heritage values.
  • DBCA was successful in obtaining grants from the Commonwealth for 11 projects for World and National Heritage sites across the State, and an Australian Heritage grant for the National Heritage-listed Batavia Shipwreck.
Page reviewed 20 Sep 2021