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Western Australia Case

Essay by   •  March 5, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  2,733 Words (11 Pages)  •  1,356 Views

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Western Australia, in comparison to the other states of this continent, is relatively quiet where tourism is concerned. The main attractions in Western Australia would be the wine routes of Margaret River or the quiet country atmosphere of Albany and Darwin. In contrast, major cities such as Sydney or Melbourne have so much to offer in terms of touristic activities. However, there still is hope for the surge in attractiveness in Western Australia. The country is surrounded by peace and quiet and nice beaches, an attractive combination for the traveler who hates to fight for a place in sun, as is the case in Sydney every summer. This piece of work attempts to analyze the potentials of one such location, Wedge Island in this particular case, and evaluate objectively the current situation of the island. This essay will also be directed towards a projection of solutions to enhance Wedge Island and bridge the gap between a wonderful resource and its optimum utilization for touristic purposes.

Wedge Island drags quite a bit of history in its wake; activities on the island can be retraced as early as pre-war time. A Mr. W.R. Wedge was recorded as one of the pioneers of Wedge Island back in the years neighboring 1937. It was sheer coincidence that the discovery of the island's shape in later years tallied with the name, from a satellite one does have the impression of staring at a wedge. The main appeal back in colonization days was the fact that living on an island set natural boundaries with one's neighbor, thus preventing trespass issues, and the first inhabitants thrived on the bountiful resources that the sea provided in that particular zone. Life on Wedge Island was peaceful until the war, where the Department of The Army declared Wedge Island as out of bounds to civilians because of the safety set back it represented in its strategies.

The situation of Wedge Island becomes important to consider for the piece of work from the early 50's till now. This is when the current prevailing condition of Wedge Island starts. A bunch of beach bums migrate to this uninhabited part of Western Australia and live there as castaways, a lifestyle that suits them. They shared amongst them five tents and two shacks. And as time went by the situation persistently grew worse for both inhabitants and endemic plants and animals. The Wedge Island Community consists of approximately 350 shacks settled on the mainland 30km North of Lancelin. The current sore in the paw of the Australian government is as follows: the people of Wedge Island have lived in their current situation for the better part of the past six decades; how should the government proceed to re-establish law and order on the island, and how should the government proceed to re-brand such a prime location and transform it in yet another touristic attraction to put on Western Australia's map?

In digging further into this analysis a systematic approach should be adopted, that would normally include the use of a framework derived by brilliant scholars. Frameworks such as PEST or SWOT analysis are generic yet useful, but they do not cover the extent of the issues which Wedge Island comprises of in its current situation. The main issues that govern the Wedge Island situation and be broken down under the headings of Environmental, or the evaluation with regards to the environment; Economic i.e. the finance related aspect of the Wedge Island's situation; Sociological or what is the response from and towards the stakeholders involved in the Wedge Island project; Technological or rather the lack of technology and the resulting chaos caused on Wedge Island and Legal, i.e. taking into consideration the Acts and Regulations affecting Wedge Island. When broken down in this fashion, it much easier to have a global view of what is being dealt with when Wedge Island is being spoken of, and hence it is easier to enumerate the problems and start looking for the solutions.

The first caption listed in the above paragraph is environment; and it is indeed the most crucial one of them all. The number of health and safety violations as per Western Australia's law is outstanding. The people of Wedge Island pay no attention to the "unique" lifestyle that they have, nor do they show any consideration for the flora and fauna on the island, especially considering that the island houses Wedge Reserve, a site registered under the Aboriginal Heritage Sites Act. There are endemic species present on the island, and as history has a knack of demonstrating, it is most likely that man will not respect the environment at the cost of his own comfort. Hence, the inability to make the people of Wedge Island Community understand the importance of coexisting with nature could lead to the extinction of a species or two.

The recent improvement in favor of Wedge Island's inhabitants consists of moving from tents to shacks assembled out of corrugated iron sheets, a material which, if not properly secured, can prove to be deadly in the advent of a hurricane. What remains alarming is the state of sanitation on the island. Pollutions levels are soaring due to the increase in the population, some two thousand and five thousand people are thought to be living permanently on Wedge Island in third world conditions. The Wedge Island Community does not encompass planning in their way of life; they live on a day to day basis, and count on each other's support. However a neighbor's support might prove lacking if they destroy the natural resources of the island by polluting. Having no sewage or waste disposal system, the easiest solution would be to burn the waste or to throw it in the sea, and neither option sits well with nature.

The economic situation of Wedge Island is also cause for concern for the government. On one side of the coin there is the current financial situation of the inhabitants of Wedge Island, who live beneath the poverty line during winters and who make a fortune in black money during the summers. All the revenue amassed from tourists during the summer holidays are not accounted for by the Australian Taxation Office, and the amount could turn out to be quite substantial given the number of tourists present in the summers. On the other side of the coin the revenue potential that goes unexploited due to the presence of squatters. The Western Australian Tourism Authorities cannot promote a destination which is not only unsafe but also unhygienic, and unaesthetic in appearance. However, given the possibility for a change, developments could lead to better sanitation and waste disposal facilities, cleaner beaches, and even the pulling down of unsightly beach shacks to be replaced by more stable and structured facilities. Such an investment would prove to be worthwhile as long as the cooperation of the inhabitants of Wedge Island



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