Photo: AAP Image/ Michael Franchi
Tourism will secure and drive much needed jobs and investment for the NT with an investment of up to $216 million from the Federal Government to upgrade Kakadu National Park and support the township of Jabiru transition to a tourism-based economy.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said backing tourism for the dual World Heritage listed destination, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, was key to delivering a stronger economy for the Northern Territory.
“Kakadu is one of Australia’s most important environmental and heritage assets, biggest tourism icons and home to 60,000 years of living Indigenous culture.
“As a Government we are committed to our stewardship responsibilities to this unique national treasure and supporting the thousands of Australians whose livelihoods and communities depend on it.
“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.
“The Park already plays host to more than 200,000 tourists each year and we’ve been working closely with CLP candidate for Lingiari Jacinta Price and NT Senator Nigel Scullion on how we can deliver Kakadu the infrastructure and facilities it needs to be shown off to the world.
“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 investment builds on the Government’s record support for the NT including announcements in the last year of a $260 million GST top-up payment for essential services like health and education, $550 million for Indigenous housing and $100 million for the Darwin City Deal.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said a mix of up to $70 million for roads to open up Kakadu and up to $111 million for tourism infrastructure and attractions would back the regional community by providing greater opportunity to grow the local economy and support Indigenous businesses and employment.
“From upgraded campgrounds to walking tracks, viewing platforms, signage, mobile and WiFi services, our support through infrastructure investment will lock Kakadu in as one of the jewels of Australian tourism,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Our Government’s investment in the NT will help to drive tourism and drive jobs.
“One of the most important elements of this initiative will be the new Kakadu Tourism Master Plan, to help grow tourism in the top end and ensure the region can reach its potential.”
The Park and town already support a significant portion of the 1,600 jobs and $103 million the Kakadu Arnhem region brings to the NT economy.
Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said Australia’s largest national park was already the envy of the world and that these upgrades would put it in a league of its own.
“We want to see people flocking to Kakadu from all over the world to see this incredible part of Australia,” Minister Price said.
“One of the most exciting initiatives will be an Indigenous-led World Heritage Kakadu Visitor Centre in Jabiru that we will fully fund with between $20-60 million alongside commercial partners.
“We’re also ensuring Jabiru and its community are supported into the future. That’s why we’re investing $35 million to support remediation of Jabiru and supporting local jobs and industry with this massive investment in Kakadu infrastructure.”
The Commonwealth will now seek to finalise this deal by entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the NT Government, Energy Resources of Australia, and Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation on the transition of Jabiru, with the NT to take ongoing responsibility for municipal and essential services.