Esperance loss is Busselton Jetty’s gain

While the provision of Government money for a restoration or replacement of Esperance Tanker Jetty continues to look problematic, more cash was thrown at Busselton Jetty this week.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced during his visit to the jetty on Wednesday that the Federal Government would provide $1.5 million for the Busselton Jetty Tourism Precinct Redevelopment.

“This investment will not only revitalise the foreshore but provide a much-needed boost to local tourism and employment,” he said on his Facebook page.

Liberal Member for Forrest Nola Marino said the cash, which would come from the Government’s Building Better Regions Fund, meant Busselton had a “great future”.

The 1.841km-long jetty is the longest timber-piled structure of its type in the Southern Hemisphere, and has several attractions on it, including an underwater observatory, small tourist train and an interpretative centre.

It received $24 million of State Government funding in 2009 for a full restoration, with the City of Busselton council tipping in $2 million and the Busselton Jetty Environment and Conservation Association $1 million.

The non-profit organisation that runs the structure, Busselton Jetty Incorporated, estimated community fundraising raised about $9 million across 28 years after the destruction inflicted by cyclone Alby in 1978.

Meanwhile, the Shire of Esperance council is pursuing the option of a $6 million jetty replacement, though it has only $2 million and will need to find another $4 million from external sources.

The council is confident it can find this extra money, but those who support restoration, including the Nationals’ State Member for Roe Peter Rundle, are more pessimistic, given the McGowan State Government’s review of Royalties for Regions funding in the lead-up to next month’s Budget.

The cost of restoring the jetty, as estimated in The Jetty Group’s Bonacci Report, is $7.1 million, though the Shire council’s dismissal of this figure as too low riles those committed to restoration.

In a letter to the group last month, chairman David Dwyer said, “without a very solid case for restoration that has the backing of all stakeholders, including the Shire, I doubt State Government funding will be available”.

Source: Kalgoorlie Miner.