$10m Jetty funding call

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Cecilia the New Zealand Fur Seal is a regular visitor to the Busselton Jetty
Camera IconCecilia the New Zealand Fur Seal is a regular visitor to the Busselton Jetty

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has called on the State Government to approve proposed funding for the Busselton Jetty to stimulate the stagnant South West economy.

Busselton Jetty Inc has applied for $10 million grant to fund the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre, a proposed international drawcard enhancing the appeal for younger and less confident marine enthusiasts to participate in the 188-year-old tourist attraction.

Ms Mettam said though regional tourism was a challenge in the current environment the State Government had a responsibility to fund initiatives which would stimulate regional economies.

“WA’s major tourist attraction, the iconic Busselton Jetty, is waiting on a $10 million funding decision by the State Government to unlock $20 million in Federal and local government funding to invest in the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre which will transform the end of the Busselton Jetty into the world’s largest underwater observatory centre,” she said.

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“The South West is the most popular tourism destination outside Perth and as we work towards the opening of our intrastate borders, it is important that the McGowan Government considers this region as part of its stimulus package.

A State Government spokesperson said Busselton Jetty Inc’s application for funding was under consideration, but it would not be appropriate to pre-empt a decision.

In March the State Government was forced to shun its $5 million “Do it in WA” tourism campaign in order to stop the spread of COVID-19 and later enacted the regional border lockdown crippling local tourism businesses.

The spokesperson said after the pandemic had subsided the State Government would launch a new intrastate tourism marketing campaign.

“The campaign will encourage people to holiday in WA, and also provide holidaymakers with a one-stop shop to find the best deals in the State — including in Busselton and the wider South West.”

In the meantime Busselton Jetty has launched free Virtual Underwater Observatory Live Tours aimed at marketing the natural aquarium to the world during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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