Iconic Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre enters administration

Craig DuncanSouth Western Times
A popular tourist spot has hit rough water in recent years and has had to go into voluntary administration to stay afloat.
Camera IconA popular tourist spot has hit rough water in recent years and has had to go into voluntary administration to stay afloat. Credit: SimonMettler/Pixabay (user SimonMettler)

A tourist icon of WA’s South West that has hit rough waters in recent years has been thrown into further turmoil after it was placed into voluntary administration.

Bunbury’s Dolphin Discovery Centre has been a staple of the South West after first opening in 1994, giving visitors a glimpse into the undersea world and an opportunity to interact with wild dolphins.

However, in recent years the conservation-based aquarium has been struggling to stay afloat with the ongoing pressure of COVID-19, rising supply costs and staff shortages.

The aquarium has now appointed professional services firm RSM Australia as voluntary administrators of the centre, who released a statement announcing the changes this week.

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RSM administrator Jerome Mohen said it would be “business as usual” for most facilities in the centre, with some temporary modifications to hospitality operations.

Mr Mohen said the centre would continue to run initiatives and programs that benefited the community, despite the change in administration.

It would also continue to focus on marine conservation, education, research and promote tourism in the South West region.

“We understand the significance of the Dolphin Discovery Centre to the local community,” Mr Mohen said.

“Especially the numerous locals who continue to volunteer their time to the association, and we appreciate their and the community’s continued support ... whilst the necessary changes to funding and operations can be implemented.”

Mr Mohen said aquariums and tours would remain open during the administration period, including the upcoming school holidays.

RSM will primarily be evaluating the hospitality competent of the centre.

“It is anticipated that the restaurant offering may be reduced in the short term,” Mr Mohen said.

“We will be working closely with relevant stakeholders, including the board, staff, volunteers and local government, with the view to restructure the ongoing funding and operations of the centre, intended to ensure the long-term future and ongoing viability of the Dolphin Discovery Centre.”

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