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About Rottnest Island Authority

Find out more about our organisation.

Rottnest Island Authority has been working to maintain and improve Wadjemup / Rottnest Island since 1987

Established under the Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987, Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) is a statutory body responsible for the management of Wadjemup / Rottnest Island on behalf of the WA State Government.  

Reporting to the Minister for Tourism, RIA’s responsibilities centre on managing the island as a Class A Reserve for recreational purposes, maintaining and enhancing the island as a signature tourism destination in Western Australia. In adherence to governance standards and the Rottnest Island Management Plan, we apply prudent business principles that are vital to fulfil these responsibilities to the island and its stakeholders.

We recognise that the Whadjuk Noongar people are the Traditional Owners of Wadjemup, and have an enduring cultural and spiritual connection to its land and waters   We also acknowledge that its role as both a historical prison island and a modern tourism destination is a complex one. As such, our careful and responsible management of the island is vital in ensuring both of these aspects are reconciled. 

Our vision is for Wadjemup to be a visitor destination of national significance for its recreational, environmental, and cultural heritage values.

Maintaining and enhancing an iconic tourism destination

We are dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience by offering a range of activities and experiences that cater to different interests and provide opportunities for learning and immersion in the natural beauty and heritage of one of Western Australia’s most iconic tourism destinations.

Whether it’s guided tours, educational programs, recreational activities, or special events, we ensure that every visit to the island is unique and memorable. We also work closely with businesses and tourism operators to ensure the island’s facilities are maintained and accessible.

History of Rottnest Island’s Management 

The first governing body, the Rottnest Island Establishment, was founded in the late 1830s. The Establishment operated the island as a place of incarceration for Aboriginal people for 93 years, closing after parliamentary concerns and investigations into the harsh conditions and brutal prisoner treatment. The Rottnest Island Board was then appointed in 1895 by the Governor under the Parks and Reserves Act 1895 with the responsibility of the daily management of the island. It saw the first ferries carry recreational visitors to the island’s shores and began to promote the island as a tourist destination.  

However, over time, the focus on the island changed. Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) was established as a statutory body in 1987, under the provisions laid out in the newly-established Rottnest Island Authority Act 1987. This effectively dissolved the previous Rottnest Island Board, and ushered in a new era for the island, with the control and management vested in the Authority. The purpose of this control was, and continues to be, to offer recreational amenities, safeguard the island's plant and animal life, and uphold the natural environment and built assets. 


The Basin

The management plan that shapes the island’s present and future

The Rottnest Island Management Plan (RIMP) 2023-28 outlines our approach for the management and enhancement of the island for the next five years. It focuses on the visitor experience, sustainable infrastructure, cultural heritage, the island’s environment and how we build meaningful partnerships with tourism industry, commercial operators and Aboriginal communities.