Shire Supports Pilbara Offshore Islands Management Plan

Published on Friday, 29 January 2021 at 12:10:00 PM

The Shire of Ashburton has given its support to the Pilbara Offshore Islands Draft Management Plan detailing eight recommendations to the proposals outlined in the draft document.

The plan, compiled by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), outlines the management directions of existing and proposed island nature reserves between the Exmouth Gulf and Cape Preston.

Shire of Ashburton President Kerry White said that the plan is supported by Council with further clarity being sought on the opportunity to develop low impact eco-tourism activities on several of the islands that can be easily accessed from the Onslow coast.

“Some of those islands within the defined area of the draft plan are currently utilised by our community and visitors as a recreational area for boating, fishing, camping and relaxation”, said Coucillor White.

“Through a proposed Pilbara Islands Authority (PIA) made up of the islands of Long, Anchor, Besserie, Thevenard, Direction, Brodie and Airlie, the Shire envisions the potential to develop environmentally friendly accommodation options, low impact onshore and marine activities, a visitor education centre and moorings to facilitate overnight camping.

“The Shire would like to see these islands developed, appropriately and in line with requirements to protect and conserve the unique flora, fauna and cultural significance of the islands.

“The remaining island reserves would also continue to be available for recreational use on a non-commercial basis.

“Tourism plays a large role in our economic diversity and sustainability and continued development of the sector is a key objective of our Strategic Community Plan.

“In 2019 the Shire played host to approximately 365,000 visitors, almost 30% of the total output of the Pilbara region and worth $150M to the local economy.

“Having such a tourism experience located so close to our coast and Onslow would truly showcase the heritage, culture and great diversity of Western Australia, on land and sea to intrastate, interstate and international visitors”.

The findings and final recommendations of the Pilbara Offshore Islands Management Plan when it is published later this year.

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