Andrew Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation will donate $100,000 to the Busselton Jetty which will be used to build an interactive marine lab, expand the pile rehabilitation project and construct new underwater structures.
The marine lab is set to be built at the end of the jetty and will feature a multi-purpose space with interactive activities including aquariums, a touch pool, multi-sensory activities and illustrative media.
Minderoo Foundation chairman Andrew Forrest said the Busselton Jetty was an incredible, heritage-listed structure that promoted tourism and supported the local ecosystem.
“Rehabilitating the jetty, sustaining the artificial reef that flourishes beneath it and engaging visitors in marine research and conservation are all important priorities that Minderoo Foundation is delighted to support to help sustain and advance the jetty for future generations,” he said.
Busselton Jetty Inc chairperson Jenny Sheehan said Minderoo’s donation will be focused on three key projects.
“The new marine lab will provide opportunities for the community and visitors to learn about marine research and environmental conservation,” she said.
Busselton Jetty chief executive officer Lisa Shreeve said the jetty’s marine science team were really proud of their successful world-first pile rehabilitation project.
“This project, instigated by marine biologist Sophie Teede, colonises sea sponges and soft corals on damaged piles that have been treated to stop the progression of the wood borer Teredo Worm which caused structural damage to the jetty,” she said.
“With Minderoo’s support we will now be able to be expand the project to other piles that need rehabilitating” she said.
Ms Teede said the new underwater structures near the end of the jetty would provide enhanced habitats for marine life in Geographe Bay.
“Marine invertebrates create local habitat complexity and provide a food source for fish species,” she said.
“The structures will be strategically placed, with some in view of the proposed Australian Underwater Discovery Centre and others will be visible to snorkelers and divers” she said.
The 154-year-old jetty is the longest tourist jetty in the Southern Hemisphere attracting over 500,000 visitors last year.
Operations on the jetty are managed by not-for-profit organisation BJI with proceeds from tours going back into the maintenance of the jetty for future generations to enjoy.