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Island Businesses

Guidance for island businesses on how to operate in this unique location.
Commercial operations on Rottnest Island

Rottnest Island Authority’s aim is to attract and retain a variety of quality businesses for a diverse range of visitors to Wadjemup; businesses that contribute to the island’s success as a tourist destination.

If you are a business currently operating, or one looking to begin operation, on Wadjemup, you’ll find all the necessary information, regulations, permits, fees and contact details here.

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Permits and applications

Depending on the type of business you run, there are a number of permits and applications that may be required to ensure your business’ compliance with island policies, and ensure the safety and wellbeing of all visitors and staff.

Commercial agreements

We’re always on the lookout for new and exciting businesses on Wadjemup. So, if you’re thinking about starting a recreational or leisure business on the island, here’s how these opportunities are offered to the public. 

Learn about the Recreational Business EOI

If successful through this EOI process, or via a publicly advertised call for interested parties to the island, businesses will require the following permits to operate successfully. 

Electrical connections

You need power to run your business. So when starting a business, or expanding your existing business, here’s how to apply for:

  • A new electricity connection
  • An upgrade to your existing power supply
  • Connection for your own generator
  • Relocate of electrical infrastructure, both for single relocations, or large-scale relocations for commercial developments.

Find out more about electricity permits

Driving permits

Driving on Wadjemup is only permitted for work purposes.

Here’s how to apply for a permit to bring a vehicle to and to drive on Rottnest Island. This covers driving suitability, driver guidelines, road rules, parking, vehicle monitoring, and all other necessary permits. 

Get approval to drive on Wadjemup

Biosecurity and flora importation

Wadjemup has its own unique native ecosystem, and bringing outside plant life or animals onto the island can damage this. So if your business requires landscaping of any kind, has any sort of indoor floral arrangements, or you need flowers for events—particularly weddings—you need strict approval to bring any plants or flowers onto the island.

Get approval to import flora onto the island

Occupational health and safety

The health and safety of all visitors, employees, and wildlife on the island is paramount. Clear occupational health and safety guidelines are in place, that outline what to do and the steps to take in the event of an emergency, accident, injury, incident, or near-miss at work. 

Learn more about WHS policies

Ground disturbances or tree pruning

Work on the island can often require digging, moving, and removal of soil or sand, or the pruning of trees. Due to the sensitive natural environment, and the cultural and Aboriginal heritage sites on the island, you need to gain permission before undertaking any work that may disturb the ground or trees.

Learn more

Permit to hold an event

If your business is planning an event of any size that takes place in public areas, such as on beaches, roads, lawns, or trails, and has the potential to disrupt the public or visitor experience, then you’ll need to apply for approval to hold it.

Learn more

Setting up a food business

There are a number of health and safety regulations to be aware of when setting up a food business. For any new businesses considering applying to start operating on Wadjemup, it’s important to be prepared. The Department of Health has a fantastic range of resources for businesses to read that will help you get a head start on planning a food business on the island. 

Learn about food safety regulations

See all permits and applications

Commercial leasing

Building the strength and capacity of businesses on Wadjemup is a key initiative under the Rottnest Island Management Plan 2023-28. A big part of this is ensuring that businesses have usable space to begin with.

As an island business looking to negotiate commercial property leasing, you’ll work directly with Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) across all areas of property management. This includes all commercial and residential staff housing properties and commercial agreements.  

Get in touch

Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce

The Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce Inc. (RICC) represents the commercial interests of the businesses that operate on or in connection with Wadjemup. This includes shops, cafes, restaurants, and island experiences, as well as the accommodation, ferries, and businesses that provide maintenance and supply of services.

They partner with Rottnest Island Authority to support the Marketing and Events sub-committee to inform the strategic direction of destination marketing and events planning for the island. 

The RICC’s aim is to support businesses in achieving their objectives, and enhance the visitor experience on the island, while fostering a vibrant business community. To achieve this, they provide a voluntary membership program that’s open to all businesses on the island.

Businesses who apply for a member will receive:

  • Access to a network of like-minded businesses and organisations who can support you in managing your business
  • Regular communications about industry updates and decisions that may affect your business
  • Representation to Rottnest Island Authority and other stakeholders
  • Access to quarterly member meetings and network events

For any questions or queries, or to apply for membership, send an email to [email protected].

Alternatively, you can contact them by letter at PO Box 662, Fremantle WA 6959.

Local Emergency Management Arrangements

The Rottnest Island Local Emergency Management Arrangements details the vital emergency management measures for the island, and provides specific information on emergency prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery. These arrangements ensure clear understanding between RIA, hazard management teams, and support agencies such as the WA Police Force, Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the island community, and other key stakeholders.

Find out more

Living and working on Wadjemup

Whether you live on the island or commute here to work, you are a core part of visitors’ holiday experience. All staff and contractors living and working on Wadjemup are expected to act in accordance with the laws and regulations that guide the island.

Doing so assists in managing and protecting the island, and setting a positive example for visitors, while ensuring this unique ecosystem and its resident wildlife is protected for future generations to enjoy.

Even as employees living and working on the island, if you are found to be negatively impacting the island or are in breach of the regulations during your daily work or leisure activities, you may be issued an infringement and asked to leave the island.

Hear from one of the Rottnest Rangers about what it’s like living and working on Rottnest Island.

A range of tools and resources are available to help you manage your day-to-day lives in the most sustainable way, and get the support you need while on the island. These will be supplied to you directly.

Get in touch with us to find out more