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Five-year development vision released for Western Australia’s Rottnest Island

Five-year development vision released for Western Australia’s Rottnest Island
August 29, 2019

The growing popularity of Rottnest Island has seen the Western Australian Government release a new five-year development plan to open up more of the location and increase visitation.

With a previously set target to attract 800,000 visitors by 2030 almost exceeded last year, the draft of the latest Rottnest Island Management Plan (RIMP) has been released for public comment.

Encapsulating the Rottnest Island Authority's approach to managing the Island and its associated waters, the RIMP 2020-24 sets out four strategic focus areas: to diversify the visitor base and enhance visitor experience; strengthen Island infrastructure and services; engage with the Island's environment and cultural heritage; and establish new ways of doing business.

The focus areas are supported by 18 proposed key initiatives designed to promote new developments and business opportunities on the Island, while retaining the Island's character and accessibility.

The new five-year plan suggests making its remote West End a ‘statement piece’ that could be accessed by rail, infill development within Thompson Bay to provide extra accommodation, more private development, mountain bike trails and new camping areas.

However, unlike previous management plans, the new outline does not specify how many visitors the carefully managed island expects to attract or how many it could sustain in coming years.

Introducing the draft plan, Rottnest Island Authority Executive Director Michelle Reynolds said while there had been an "amazing increase" in interstate and overseas visitors in particular, the island could accommodate more.

Reynolds advised “in summer we are very busy but in other times of the year we have got viable accommodation and we would like to share that with even more people.”

Advising that the new management plan met the right balance between future development and preservation of Rottnest's A-class reserve status, Reynolds added “our obligations are well enshrined in our legislation in ensuring that we cherish our A-class reserve.

"That is at the forefront of our considerations of everything we do on this island."

She also noted that access to the Island would naturally cap the number of visitors.

The big growth in visitor numbers has come from interstate and overseas visitors during shoulder- and off-seasons.

However, with these tourists tending to just visit for the day, the new management plan set a course to encourage these visitors to stay overnight, including by offering more accommodation options.

Private investment would be the main source of such new developments, starting with a new development site next to Rottnest Island Lodge.

The key initiatives reflect an ongoing commitment to sustainability principles in all aspects of the Island's management and signal a renewed focus on the Island's heritage, in particular to address issues associated with the Wadjemup Aboriginal Burial Ground and the former Aboriginal Prison (the Quod).

Published in conjunction with the RIMP 2020-24 is an updated version of RIA's 20-Year Vision Rottnest Island Master Plan, which has been revised to reflect changes that have occurred over the past five years and to conform with the new priorities identified in the draft RIMP 2020-24.

For further information or to lodge a submission go to

Images: Rottnest Island from the air (top) and tennis star Roger Federer's famous selfie taken with a quokka on the Island (below).

Related Articles

11th April 2019 - Rottnest Island developments backed by Federal and Western Australian Governments

22nd March 2019 - Rottnest Island supports initiative to reduce plastic waste

10th February 2019 - Growing popularity of Rottnest Island sees it approach 2034 visitor target

16th January 2019 - Increased visitor numbers on Rottnest Island

29th November 2018 - Experiences on Rottnest Island enhanced by new recreational activities

3rd July 2018 - Roger Federer to return to Perth for 2019 Hopman Cup

21st March 2018 - New plan to drive growth in Western Australian tourism

28th August 2017 - Rottnest Express achieves Ecotourism Certification

30th March 2017 - Study finds Rottnest Island quokkas thrive despite increased tourism

14th August 2015 - Plans for new resort and marina at Western Australia’s Rottnest Island

13th April 2015 - Tourists charged after alleged attempting to burn a Quokka on Rottnest Island

13th December 2010 - Rottnest Island celebrates a century of tourism

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