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Funding for Kakadu a big win for Top End tourism

January 14, 2019 Headline News No Comments

Australia’s biggest political parties are jostling to offer cash support to Northern Territory tourism, with Kakadu National Park now set to receive a AUD 216 million upgrade in a bid to lure more visitors, more investment and more jobs.

As part of a plan announced yesterday by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the neighbouring township of Jabiru will receive support to switch its economy to a tourism base.

Morrison visited Jabiru yesterday to announce the Coalition’s AUD 216 million package, which includes AUD 70 million for road upgrades and up to AUD 111 million to improve tourism infrastructure.

The Labor opposition is promising even more, pledging AUD 220 million for Kakadu if it wins government. Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, was set to travel to the NT last night.

World-Heritage Listed Kakadu is Australia’s largest national park and one of the country’s most iconic. A statement from the Prime Minister’s office yesterday said together with the new Kakadu Tourism Master Plan “this major investment will help attract greater numbers of visitors to this uniquely Australian tourism destination”.

Ranger viewing Jim Jim Falls, Kakadu National Park

Kakadu currently attracts some 261,000 visitors each year, sustaining many local jobs and businesses. However, the NT has failed to share in the growth in visitor numbers achieved across the rest of Australia in recent years.

The new investment is designed to provide the access, infrastructure and attractions to build Kakadu into a tourism hero for Australia, supporting more indigenous business and employment.

With new and upgraded tourism facilities, the visitor-experience at Kakadu will be taken to the next level with existing camping grounds to be upgraded, along with walking tracks, viewing platforms, signage, mobile and Wi-Fi services.

“Better services and infrastructure for Kakadu will mean more visitors and that means more jobs not just for Jabiru, but for the whole Territory,” the Prime Minister said.

Ranger pointing out birds on the wetlands to a visitor on Mamukala Wetlands Walk, Kakadu National Park

“With the closure of the Ranger mine set for 2021 we’ll be looking to partner with the NT Government to co-invest in this national tourism icon and future-proof the Park and the town.

“We want to ensure Kakadu and Jabiru and all the families and jobs they support are set for the future.”

The Ranger mine is a uranium mine surrounded by, but separate from Kakadu National Park, 230 km east of Darwin.

Written by Peter Needham

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