The contribution of Montague Island Nature Reserve to regional economic development

Montague Island Nature Reserve is 350km south of Sydney, and 9km offshore from Narooma on the south coast of NSW.

The island is famous for its wildlife, including Australian fur seals, little penguins, crested terns, silver gulls and shearwaters. It also features an historic lightstation, and has significant Aboriginal heritage. Guided tours to the island cater to approximately 4,300 visitors each year.

This NPWS report assesses the contribution of the Montague Island Nature Reserve to the regional economy of the Eurobodalla Local Government Area (LGA), in which the island is situated.

This contribution arises from:

  • NPWS expenditure on managing and protecting the natural and cultural heritage values of the nature reserve
  • expenditure on goods and services made by visitors to the island, which accrues to the local economy.

Input-Output (I-O) analysis has been used in this study to assess the impacts of this expenditure on the regional economy of the Eurobodalla LGA.

The study estimated the direct and flow-on effects of NPWS management expenditure contribute $162,000 per year in gross regional product (value-added activity) to the regional economy. Expenditure made by visitors to the island contributes an additional $695,000 in gross regional product to the regional economy each year.

Total NPWS and visitor expenditure impacts were estimated to contribute $121,000 and $468,000 to household income in the region, respectively. This represents the equivalent of seven additional local jobs resulting from NPWS expenditure and 19 local jobs resulting from visitor expenditure.

The report discusses the implications of these findings from a management and regional development perspective.