WA Labor backs Busselton Jetty project in major boost to South West tourism

Posted on March 4, 2021
  • Re-elected McGowan Labor Government to invest $9.5 million towards the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre at Busselton Jetty
  • Project to create more than 380 local jobs and attract up to 150,000 visitors
  • McGowan Government has provided strong support to tourism industry through COVID-19
  • Regional tourism visitation and spend now higher than pre-pandemic, thanks to successful Wander out Yonder campaign

A re-elected McGowan Labor Government will invest $9.5 million to develop the world-class Australian Underwater Discovery Centre (AUDC) at Busselton Jetty, proving a major boost to the South West and supporting regional WA’s strong tourism recovery.

Busselton Jetty is already a renowned tourist destination, and the redevelopment of the existing underwater observatory into the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre will take the iconic jetty to the next level.

The AUDC will consist of a new underwater observatory, alongside underwater dining, function areas, exhibition space, retail opportunities, and underwater habitats and artificial reefs.

An economic assessment of the project found that the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre could attract up to 150,000 visitors in its first year.

The project will create more than 340 jobs during construction and an additional 40 jobs over the first five years of operation.

The commitment builds on the McGowan Labor Government’s impressive track record to grow tourism in the South West and around the State over the past four years.

Prior to the onset of COVID-19, the McGowan Government’s strong efforts to grow tourism resulted in the State’s highest-ever visitation and spend in 2018 – with that record broken again in 2019.

This included the McGowan Labor Government securing the first ever direct flights from the eastern states to the South West, which are expected to begin later this year.

During COVID-19, the McGowan Government’s Wander out Yonder campaign has helped the South West enjoy its busiest-ever tourism season.

The latest statistics show regional tourism is now doing better than pre-pandemic – with September, October and November 2020 all recording higher tourism spend compared to 2019.

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“The Busselton Jetty is a Western Australian icon, and with this investment the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre will become a world-class tourist destination.

“Tourism in the South West is thriving. The region has never been busier and this investment will help sustain the boom when we are able to again welcome international visitors in the future – supporting local jobs and local business.”

Comments attributed to WA Labor Candidate for Vasse Chris Hossen:

“A strong tourism industry is vitally important for a strong South West, and a re-elected McGowan Labor Government’s investment into the world-class Australian Underwater Discovery Centre will create a whole new tourist offering for Busselton.

“I am proud to be part of the McGowan Labor team that is delivering this major boost to Busselton Jetty, as well as our work to dual the Bussell Highway to support the ongoing growth in visitation to our beautiful region.”