Local MP slams tourism funding

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Vasse MLA Libby Mettam.
Camera IconVasse MLA Libby Mettam. Credit: Taelor Pelusey Busselton-Dunsborough Times

Vasse MLA Libby Mettam has criticised the State Government for skipping her electorate in its $150 million tourism package.

The package, announced on Saturday, suggested WA’s “most iconic natural attractions and tourism drawcards” would be funded, including Kings Park, Karijini National Park, Rottnest Island and Ningaloo, but not Busselton Jetty.

The funding is proposed to create jobs with construction on new visitor facilities, camp sites, trails, jetties, and other amenities and infrastructure.

Busselton Jetty was recognised as WA’s major tourist attraction at the WA Tourism awards in 2018 and 2019 and has two proposed projects that need funding at the Jetty Village and Underwater Discovery Centre.

Ms Mettam said she was “disappointed” the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre was not recognised as a priority for tourism funding as the project would create an international “tourism icon” at the jetty.

“This is a shovel ready project and will not only unlock future tourism and small business jobs, but also construction jobs now as part of WA’s recovery plan,” she said.

“This region is the most popular regional tourist destination... the AUDC has the potential to attract more regional, and in time international visitors, also supporting flights from the Busselton Margaret River Airport.

“This $30m project is under threat, with conditional Federal and local government funding of $20m requiring the project to be significantly advanced by 2022,” she said.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said future funding would enhance quality visitor facilities and infrastructure.

The Times understands an announcement for tourism funding in the South West is expected in the next few weeks.

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