Record infrastructure upgrades to support Rottnest Island’s growth

Over $30 million will be spent upgrading Rottnest Island’s ageing water supply and road network to shore up the holiday hotspot’s infrastructure and plan for future growth.

Tourism to the Island has increased significantly in recent years, with visitation up 21 per cent from 2017 to 2019 thanks to the McGowan Government’s increased efforts to sell the destination.

This work included leveraging the ‘quokka selfie’ around the world, approving long-delayed accommodation projects and overseeing the opening of 17 new small businesses on the Island.

The Island’s first glamping offering, Discovery Rottnest Island, opened last year and new luxury resort, Samphire Rottnest, opens in October, with the high-end redevelopment of The Lodge set to begin in coming years.

The major water improvements will overhaul the Island’s drinking water network and wastewater system, which are under increased pressure from sustained visitor growth and increased business activity.

This includes replacing the ageing pipework, upgrading pump stations and overhauling the desalination plant to shore up both drinking water supply and firefighting capacity. The project begins later this year and will be completed by 2024.

The road upgrades will begin later this month and will see more than 10km of the Island’s roads resurfaced with over 47,000sqm of dense graded asphalt.

This will improve the road surface for the bus service, as well as improving cyclist and pedestrian amenity and increasing the life-span of the road network.

The State Government, through the Department of Transport’s Regional Airports Development Scheme, has also allocated over $15,000 for the purchase and installation of an Aerodrome Weather Information Broadcast system, which will provide pilots in the area with real-time weather information, helping improve safety at the airstrip.

The $31 million investment is in addition to the State Government’s $16.2 million funding over four years for maritime infrastructure upgrades at Rottnest Island, including reconstruction of the fuel jetty.

This brings the State Government’s infrastructure investment up to $47.2 million in the last three years, on top of recurrent capital funding.

“These projects represent the biggest infrastructure investment Rottnest Island has ever seen,” said Tourism Minister Paul Papalia.

“We have worked hard over the last three years to elevate Rottnest to the status of a true tourism icon for Western Australia, with the quokka selfie among our efforts to market the Island paradise to the world.

“This investment will allow us to plan for future tourism growth and business activity. We are firmly focused on increasing accommodation, hospitality, experience and tour options on the Island, while preserving its natural wonders.

“With this latest initiative, the McGowan Government has now invested almost $50 million towards Rottnest Island in major infrastructure projects alone.”

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said, “This investment in the island’s roads will ensure safer, easier access for residents as well as improving the visitor experience for the 700,000-plus tourists visiting the Island each year.

“There may be some disruption for visitors while works are ongoing – however long term they will help improve the amenity of the Island.

“The installation of the Aerodrome’s new weather broadcast system is so important for aircraft using the airstrip, improving aircraft safety, particularly between dusk and dawn.

“Currently pilots have to call up on their mobiles to get the latest weather but this new system means pilots can automatically be updated on weather conditions via radio, while they are in the air.”

State Member for Fremantle Simone McGurk said, “I’m thrilled that we’re investing in this iconic WA destination as part of WA’s recovery.

“This much needed infrastructure will create local jobs and ensure rotto can continue welcoming visitors for generations to come.”