$15.5M boost for Kangaroo Island

24 Oct 2021

The Federal and South Australian governments are investing $15.5 million in Kangaroo Island to help the region recover from the economic impact of COVID-19 and grow into the future.

Through the Regional Recovery Partnerships program, the Commonwealth and the State Governments are backing three priority projects that will create around 40 jobs during construction while creating new economic opportunities on the Island, including:

• $5 million for the construction of short-term workforce accommodation to address the current challenges the Island faces in housing critical workers, particularly visiting staff and specialists in the health, emergency services and emergency response sectors;

• $4 million towards the construction of a new visitor hub at Cape Willoughby, including a viewing platform, cafe and visitor information facilities, and upgrades to nearby accommodation; and

• $1 million to develop an AgTech Hub to help primary producers improve their practices and grow their businesses.

The Federal Government is contributing $10 million to the projects, with the South Australian Government committing a further $5.5 million.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Barnaby Joyce said the Government’s investment in Kangaroo Island would help the region to bounce back on the other side of the pandemic.

“COVID-19 is continuing to have a significant impact on our regions. Through our economic recovery plan we are creating jobs and more resilient regions to help rebuild our economy,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“The investment we are making in Kangaroo Island will help address the island’s needs and turn it into a more attractive destination for tourists. This will help drive its recovery now and set it up to grow, succeed and prosper well into the future.”

South Australian Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the new accommodation on the island would provide centralised, secure and comfortable facilities that are co-located with the Island’s health service.

“This will increase capacity for governments and the Australian Defence Force to deploy emergency responders in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency,” Mr Basham said.

“Our joint investment will also see the establishment of an AgTech Hub to assist primary producers to better understand AgTech solutions available to them and how they can be used to grow their business.

“Agribusiness has been identified as a key growth sector for the island over the next 10 years. Federal and state funding will deliver AgTech demonstration farms, which will host field days and both physical and virtual tours for the community and industry, and support applied research projects.”

South Australian Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said the investment in Cape Willoughby is another step towards economic recovery for Kangaroo Island.

“Cape Willoughby is a very unique and beautiful part of Kangaroo Island and these upgrades will enhance our current visitor offerings and will encourage tourists to stay longer and explore further in a significant boost for the local economy,” Minister Speirs said.

“The South Australian Government has worked closely with the Federal Government and the local community to deliver a strong recovery plan for Kangaroo Island which supports local jobs and enhances our natural environment.”

Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie said the planned upgrades to the eastern end of the Island at Cape Willoughby would attract more visitors to the region and create a tourist boom.

“This investment responds directly to local priorities and a comprehensive community engagement process, which highlighted the need to disperse attractions across KI to better draw in and manage the flow of visitors – underpinning tourism and economic recovery in the region,” Ms Sharkie said.

“Works will include an upgrade of the overnight historic light keeper’s cottage accommodation, and construction of a day visitor precinct, signature viewing platform over Devil’s Kitchen, new café and a visitor information facility.

“It will also deliver detailed designs for the 30km East End multiday walk, and deliver the first stage of construction, which will include two visitor nodes and the first 15 kilometres of trail. This will support additional, quality visitor and island heritage experiences to increase stay time on the island and further cement the region’s reputation as a must-see destination.”

The Government’s $10 million investment in Kangaroo Island is part of a $100 million commitment over two years to fund Regional Recovery Partnerships in 10 regions across Australia, working with all levels of government to deliver jobs, economic recovery and economic diversification.

For more information on Regional Recovery Partnerships, visit www.infrastructure.gov.au/regional-recovery-partnerships.

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