Ferries, accommodation, bike hire and admission fees to Rottnest Island will be waived completely for WA’s most disadvantaged schools as the Cook Government moves to slash the cost of school camps for families struggling under the cost of living pressures. Around 280 public schools will qualify for a 100 per cent discount, a saving of $80 for an overnight excursion and $150 for a 3-night stay. A further 270 schools will receive a 75 per cent discount on accommodation and bike hire and 40 per cent off ferry transfers. The discount applies to term three next year, with eligibility determined by the individual school’s ranking on the Index of Community Socio-Education Advantage. Tourism Minister Rita Saffioti said Rottnest Island was an iconic destination and international drawcard that should not be out of reach for everyday West Australian kids. “We want to ensure students have the opportunity to enjoy all that Rottnest Island has to offer, and are really proud that we’re making it accessible for more schools across the State,” she said. “The island itself is an incredible experience with great education opportunities, and will give students lifelong memories to reflect on in years to come.” All school camps to Rottnest already receive a 40 per cent discount on group bookings. The principals of schools that qualify for the new rounds of subsidies will be contacted with information about how to apply this week. School camps to Rottnest Island have been a rite of passage for thousands of West Australians spanning multiple generations. Education Minister Tony Buti said every student looked forward to the opportunity to get away from the school campus. “Camps and excursions are a very exciting part of being a school student and are a fantastic way to provide students with new learning experiences outside the classroom,” Dr Buti said. “Rottnest Island provides a great hands-on teaching environment for lessons on conservation, culture, military history and the natural environment, so I hope eligible schools get on board with this wonderful initiative.” Despite its close proximity to Perth, Rottnest Island has built a reputation as a playground for the wealthy with accommodation often difficult to book and priced at a range well out of reach of many WA families. A procession of global celebrities snapping quokka selfies — including tennis superstar Roger Federer and actors Chris Hemsworth and Matt Damon — have also placed Rottnest firmly on the international tourism map, further boosting demand to visit the island.