The West

Rotto business group wants law changes

Rottnest businesses are calling for laws and regulations that govern the island to be revised, saying they hamper its development as a world-class tourist destination.

The Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce was launched on Monday and its first chairman, Michael Sier, said Rottnest's business model needed to be modernised to meet the demands of 21st century tourism.

He said this should start with a revamp of the Rottnest Island Authority Act.

Mr Sier said this week's release of the RIA's 20-year strategy should create an atmosphere for real change on the island.

The plan advocates more private sector involvement in key areas of the island, including accommodation and building and running a proposed new marina.

Mr Sier said it was important that steps were taken to help the strategy.

He said that despite WA's population growing almost 29 per cent in the past 10 years, visitor numbers to Rottnest had remained relatively flat or declined.

"The costs associated with an island business, in what is effectively a remote location, are higher than in other non-metropolitan areas and present exceptional challenges for the RIA and commercial enterprises serving the island," he said.

"So, we see this 20-year strategy as an opportunity to develop ways to enhance the whole Rottnest visitor experience and to increase the number of visitors in an environmentally and economically sustainable way.

"Our starting point is for the legislation and regulations which govern Rottnest to be revised.

"We look forward to working with the State Government to remove barriers that are impeding Rottnest from becoming the internationally acclaimed destination it deserves to be."

Mr Sier said the chamber was created to ensure island businesses were not overlooked in the decision-making process.

He said the group would advocate for positive change on the island, without affecting its environmental and heritage assets.

The West Australian

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