Bullock Island coastal café to drive tourism in 2022

Published: 20 Oct 2021

Pelicans on sandbar with bushland in backgroundWhen it opens in the second half of 2022, a café built on Bullock Island in Gippsland will be a huge tourism boost for the region.

Positioned as a gateway to Lakes Entrance nudging the Bass Strait entrance channel, thousands of visitors are expected to cross the bridge and head to Bullock Island once the venue opens next year.

Lure of a strong fishing identity

Maritime history will be a major tourism draw for the site.

The Lakes Entrance Fishermen's Co-Op has become a leader in commercial fishery since opening in 1968, and the region is famous for its tiger flathead, whiting, Eastern tiger and school prawns, plus Bass Strait scallops.

Jobs for locals

Jobs will also be part of the flow-on effect.

The café will create up to six new roles and generate associated tourism earnings for other local businesses as the region recovers from drought, bushfires and the impacts of the pandemic.

A multi-million game plan

In addition to receiving a $1.5 million investment from the Victorian Government, the café is one of many improvements taking place on the island backed by government support.

The Bullock Island Masterplan received $1.87 million through the Building Works Package and is taking place alongside the development of an on-water café, thanks to the Government’s earlier investment of $1.5 million announced during the lead up to the 2018 state election. The combined projects are expected to generate up to 13 jobs during construction and the Masterplan works will upgrade parking, fishing platforms, public toilets, picnic facilities, shelters, a playground, a kiosk and landscaping to recreational areas.

This is very much a time of renewal for the entire island.

The café is part of a long-term goal for the island to transition from a primarily fishing-oriented economy to one that is also improved by an enhanced tourism experience.

Honing that tourism aspect will help put money in the pockets of locals. That’s key, as while Bullock Island produces about 500 tonnes of seafood and contributes about $40 million to the Victorian economy each year, creating a stronger tourism economy to complement its fishing economy will grow ongoing employment prospects for the area now and into the future.

Beyond Bullock Island

Big things are also happening at other sites dotted across Gippsland, and the Victorian Government is busy helping ensure those island businesses also thrive.

For instance, we’re investing $3 million to help establish the Metung Hot Springs, $1 million for the Nunduk Spa and Eco-Resort, $5.1 million to redevelop the Paynesville seafront as well as providing funding for the Lakes Entrance Slipway, Riviera Nautic and Raymond Island Koala Sanctuary.

Page last updated 24 Jun 2022
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