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Maria Island Tourism Opportunities


The Parks and Wildlife Service has selected the Maria Island Company as the successful respondent to an expression of interest to undertake a range of commercial opportunities at Maria Island National Park.

Parks and Wildlife Service general manager Peter Mooney said the Service would now begin negotiations with the Maria Island Company to develop an agreement for commercial visitor services on the island.

"Any potential commercial activities must be in accordance with the Maria Island Management Plan and the Darlington Precinct Site Plan," Mr Mooney said.

"These plans permit low-scale development while not allowing substantial new buildings or non-sympathetic adaptations of existing structures," said Mr Mooney.

"We're committed to the ongoing role of Maria Island National Park as a place for conserving natural and historic heritage, education and recreation and we will work with the Maria Island Company to develop activities and services which enhance the visitor experience."

Ian Johnstone of the Maria Island Company said the company is committed to providing a modern daily ferry service, upgrading the heritage buildings at Darlington and providing new experiences for visitors.

"We recognise Maria's unique heritage and cultural qualities and we have based our proposal on a model that will encourage increased visitation while also preserving these special values for future generations," Mr Johnstone said.

While the Maria Island Company will be licensed to provide the regular daily ferry service to the Darlington jetty, other commercial operators will be able to provide boating services in the area, but will only be permitted to access the Darlington jetty on an occasional basis for special events.

Other activities to be provided by the Maria Island Company may include: freight service to and from the island, operation of the campground and penitentiary accommodation at Darlington, guided heritage/nature tours and low-key retail sales and equipment hire.

Mr Mooney said Maria Island is important economically to the local community and is one of the State's major tourist destinations.

"We believe there is considerable scope for increased visitation by day visitors and that if facilities and services are developed, will provide visitors with a quality experience while also preserving the values for which the park was reserved."