Australian Underwater Discovery Centre – 6 Jan 21
1. When did Busselton Jetty’s board and management know the price of the Australian Underwater Discovery Centre (AUDC) was too over budget?
Answer: The board was briefed by Subcon on 18 October 2021 who advised the initial budgeted cost of $32m had increased to $49m.
2. Why is the price so much higher than the original budget?
Answer: We’re informed by Subcon that the main reason for the cost increase is due to:
i. Complex design
ii. Increases in materials costs, labour hire and freight costs
3. Who priced the AUDC project?
Answer: Subcon were internally pricing the project as design evolved to 80% and the price is informed by a number of subcontractor’s pricing.
4. What will BJI do now?
Answer: The Board of Management is considering all of its options, but the primary objective is to keep the AUDC project alive and deliver it in the near future as intended.
5. Where will the ongoing maintenance funds come from if the AUDC isn’t built?
a. Jetty maintenance costs and oversight of the Jetty Maintenance Reserve is the responsibility of the City of Busselton.
b. Currently, the licence fee that BJI pays and the foreshore lease revenues make up the annual contributions into the maintenance reserve. There is a small rate payer contribution into the reserve also. The aim of the AUDC project was to cover the ratepayer cost and ensure that ticket sales paid for ongoing maintenance and preservation of the Busselton Jetty.
6. What are the implications on grant funds secured for the project?
Answer: Busselton Jetty is working with grant agencies to vary
and extend the grant agreements. Any unused grant funds will be returned to the
relevant grant body.
International media acclaim
30 June 2021
Busselton Jetty believes the end of Jetty $32m development including the new Australian Underwater Discovery Centre (AUDC) and food and beverage Village, will bring tourists back post COVID and become WA’s next icon.
The Australian Underwater Discovery Centre will be the largest in the world and feature Underwater Dining.
It is hoped that construction will start October 2021 and the AUDC will be open by December 2022, with over 200,000 new visitors in 2023, bringing the Jetty to over 900,000 visitors per year.
Busselton Jetty Chair Barry House said the AUDC was a game changer for tourism and would be the world’s largest natural marine observatory.
“This is as authentic as it gets because people are in the tank and the fish are looking in.”
“By adding underwater dining, underwater sculptures, marine art and other features, this project will enhance the Busselton Jetty 156-year-old experience.”
Mr House said during peak times, people are turned away from the current Observatory because it can only fit 44 people in each hour.
“In 2017 we started looking at how to meet visitor demand and after two Feasibility Studies and Market Research, determined that expanding our current unique marine offering was the best way to grow and meet our environmental goals,” he said.
“Construction alone will create nearly 200 jobs and once operational thousands of jobs will be created over coming years as cafes, hotels, service stations, retail stores, bus companies, trade agents all prosper, returning some $200m in economic benefit to WA.”
“This is an exciting stage of the project to get the feedback on the most attractive design that will be a catalyst to drawing people to WA from all over the world, especially those who love the ocean,” said Mr House.
“It is also important to attracting people to the South West with direct flights from Melbourne to Busselton starting in 2021.”
Jetty CEO Lisa Shreeve said the current Underwater Observatory will become a Marine Research Centre promoting Clean Oceans and feature public interaction with World Class Researchers and a Laboratory to educate people about oceanic climate change.
“From 12,000 visitor surveys in five years, people would like to see more interaction with the marine environment and extra food and beverage options at the end of the Jetty,” she said.
The project will also feature the Busselton Jetty Village Food and Beverage facility which was put on hold when COVID hit in March 2020.
The AUDC project has received funding from the Australian Government (Regional Growth Fund, Marine Parks Australia and Building Better Regions), the State Government Royalties for Regions program and Lotterywest. Busselton Jetty would like to thank all of these contributors, without their support this project would not happen.
Funding is coming from a $13m Federal Government grant from the Regional Growth Fund, $9.5m from the State Government, $1.5m cash and a $4m loan from Busselton Jetty Inc, $110,000 from the Busselton Jetty Environment Fund including $75k from Minderoo, $410,000 from a Marine Parks Grant, $320,000 from the Building Better Regions program and $200,000 from LotteryWest.