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WA Parks receive much-needed boost

Western Australian State Environment Minister Albert Jacob recently confirmed $6.25 million had been earmarked in the 15/16 State Budget for low-cost, high-quality camping and caravanning accommodation and visitor facilities in WA’s national parks and reserves.

The investment is part of the State Government’s Royalties for Regions-funded $21.05 million Parks for People initiative, being delivered by the Department of Parks and Wildlife over four years from 2013-14 to 2016-17 as part of the Western Australian Caravanning and Camping Action Plan 2013-18.

In addition, Mr Jacob said $1.2 million had been provided to complete significant upgrades at the Gap and Natural Bridge in Torndirrup National Park near Albany.

“At completion, the $5.75 million project at Torndirrup will include new lookouts at the Gap and Natural Bridge, paths connecting the car park to the new lookouts, a gathering area with interpretative signage and a small picnic area,” he said.

“This already popular tourist attraction will now become world-class, with even closer views of the spectacular and dramatic coastline while incorporating key safety features.”

Other campground works to be delivered in 2015-16 include $1.15 million for the Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park, $1 million for Boranup forest in Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, $1 million for Potters Gorge in Wellington National Park, and $750,000 for Big Lagoon in Francois Peron National Park.

Campgrounds in Millstream Chichester and Shannon national parks will also be upgraded. Visitor facilities will be improved at Baden Powell day use area in Lane Poole Reserve and upgrades to mountain bike trails will be undertaken in other parks in the South-West. The Department of Parks and Wildlife will continue to develop new apps for mobile phones and improve the Park Stay and Explore Parks websites and online campground booking system.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said investing Royalties for Regions funds into improving national parks would attract more people to regional WA.

“The Government is delivering on its 2013 election commitment to improve visitor experiences and create more affordable camping, and we are ensuring locals and visitors alike can enjoy our natural areas for many generations to come,” Mr Redman said.

Image: Flickr – Nullawar