The Liberal National Government is forging ahead with its commitment to decentralise public sector agencies, with development starting soon on the new Department of Parks and Wildlife headquarters in Bunbury.
Premier Colin Barnett, on site in Bunbury today, said although decentralisation had been talked about for the past 30 years, very little had actually been done by previous governments to deliver such an outcome for regional communities.
"The relocation of parts of the public service, in this case Parks and Wildlife headquarters to Bunbury, will attract new investment and skills to the region and provide ongoing economic and social benefits," Mr Barnett said.
"The move will initially see 100 staff from Parks and Wildlife located in the new development, generating more than $25 million per year for the local economy, with plans for the number of staff to increase to 300 within 10 years."
Park rangers have recorded dozens of endangered olive ridley turtle hatchlings emerging from their nest in the Kimberley, a first for Western Australia.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the discovery had generated a lot of excitement among marine scientists and the Dambimangari traditional owners of the area because the species was rarely seen in WA.
Mr Jacob said a joint patrol of Department of Parks and Wildlife staff and Dambimangari rangers came across the nest while removing marine debris from a beach near Lalang-garram/Camden Sound Marine Park, 300km north-east of Broome.
Public comment is being sought on Western Australia's largest marine park - the 1.8 million hectare proposed North Kimberley Marine Park.
Environment Minister Albert Jacob said the proposed park would be the second largest State marine park in Australia behind the Great Barrier Reef Coast Marine Park and seven times the size of Ningaloo Marine Park.
Mr Jacob said its creation would be a significant milestone towards conserving the unique northern environment, while providing jobs and management opportunities for traditional owners and supporting growth in environmentally sustainable tourism.
"While this expansion is significant in its own right, it is the multiple benefits that flow from the new park that is most important," he said.
"The creation of this park provides an exceptional conservation outcome as well as opportunities for growth in tourism."
The proposed park will increase the total area of the State's marine parks and reserves by more than 70 per cent.
The Landscape Conservation Initiative—the largest conservation project ever undertaken in Western Australia—was established in 2011 as part of the State Government’s $81.5 million Kimberley Science and Conservation Strategy, to retain and enhance the high biodiversity and landscape values in the north Kimberley.
This visionary project is being implemented by the Department of Parks and Wildlife in collaboration with native title holders and Indigenous ranger groups, government agencies, non-government organisations and pastoralists to protect biodiversity values across property boundaries in the north and central Kimberley. Together, these partners are managing fire; the impacts of feral animals; and the impacts of invasive plants across an area of more than 65,000 square kilometres (6.5 million hectares) that includes pastoral properties, Aboriginal Lands Trust Reserves, private conservation areas and parks and reserves managed by the Department of Parks and Wildlife
Key achievements of the Landscape Conservation Initiative to date