Augusta Boat Harbour, celebrating its first birthday this month, has been the catalyst for significant economic growth in the marine sector and delivered numerous benefits to the South-West in its first year of operation.
Marking the first anniversary of the opening of the $34.6 million Royalties for Regions-funded facility, Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the harbour was a success story with pen occupancy rates well beyond the first-year targets.
“Of the 40 boat pens, 28 have been hired on an annual basis by recreational and commercial vessels,” Mr Nalder said.
“In addition, the number of vessels using the short-term casual hire pens has reached 30 short stay visits, with more custom anticipated over the busy summer months ahead.”
Five charter vessels operated from the harbour during the recent whale watching season and passenger numbers increased by up to 1,500 over the previous season.
The boat harbour is another example of Royalties for Regions enhancing opportunities for regional businesses and communities through the delivery of key economic infrastructureMr Redman
The new wharf allows fishing industry pen holders to transfer larger catches in less time, greatly increasing efficiency and productivity. A shark and wet line fisherman can now be at sea for three days, travelling to new fishing grounds, benefiting from improved safety during unloading of catch and reduced environmental risk during refuelling operations.
Mr Nalder said the harbour had proven its value as a safe haven, with several rescues recorded including one incident involving a 25 tonne ship en route to New South Wales that was towed to the harbour for repairs.
Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the activity at the harbour had provided an economic boost for the region and this was likely to continue as the facility grew in reputation and attracted visitors.
The Department of Transport (DoT) managed the construction of the harbour which was officially opened by the Premier on November 21, 2014
DoT now manages the operation of the harbour