Australian Underwater Discovery Centre
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.