Joint media release: Tourism master plan breathes new life into Kakadu National Park

15 February 2021

An exciting new chapter for Kakadu National Park, one backed by Traditional Owners and supported by key tourism organisations, has opened with the release of the Kakadu Tourism Master Plan.

The plan will guide a $276 million rejuvenation of the World Heritage area as a national and international tourism destination, a showcase for Indigenous culture, a home to Indigenous communities and as one of the country’s most significant natural environments.

With tourism, roads and infrastructure projects already under way, the plan has been developed in consultation with Traditional Owners to further support their outlook for the park and reflect their cultural history.

“We’ve listened and collaborated extensively with Traditional Owners and all stakeholders, and I made a point of extending the final consultation phase to ensure all voices were heard,” Minister Ley said.

“The plan reflects a landmark vision to breathe new life into one of Australia’s national treasures and it underlines our ongoing commitment to working with Traditional Owners.

“It will see Kakadu National Park build on its reputation as a world-class tourism site, one where visitors can experience and connect with the park’s unique cultural and natural values in a sustainable way.”

Over the next ten years, the plan outlines new tourism facilities, new experiences, and greater access to sites with recommendations including:
• A World Heritage visitor centre to showcase Kakadu’s significant cultural and natural values.
• New visitor services hubs at Mary River, South Alligator and East Alligator.
• New accommodation including ecolodges, wellness retreats, family holiday park and safari camps.
• Upgrades to viewing boardwalks, platforms and amenities at world-class rock art sites, Burrungkuy (Nourlangie) and Ubirr.
• Upgrades to campgrounds including major upgrades to popular visitor sites, Maguk and Karnamarr.
• An expanded major events calendar focusing on increasing cultural events with Bininj/Mungguy businesses, such as the Taste of Kakadu festival and seasonal ranger programs.
• Upgrades to tourism roads and access to key sites.
• Greater connectivity to improve mobile coverage and provide WiFi services. 

The Australian Government’s unprecedented $276 million investment will deliver vital road and tourism infrastructure upgrades for Kakadu, and provide support for the transition of Jabiru township to a tourism and regional services hub.

“Through Parks Australia, we will support an increase in Bininj/Mungguy employment and business activity within Kakadu, increase revenue for local commercial tourism, and contribute joint management and conservation of the park’s values,” Minister Ley said.

“The park’s Traditional Owners want to see culturally appropriate tourism grow and we will work with them to achieve that outcome.”

Projects already underway include the re-opening of Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre following upgrades and improvements to facilities, designs for upgrades to the popular Cahills Crossing viewing area, and work on raising the Jim Jim Creek Crossing to enable safe access to Twin Falls this year.

Senator for the Northern Territory, Dr Sam McMahon, said that the Morrison Government was supporting Northern Territory jobs and Australia’s tourism economy.

“This is both a plan for the future and a commitment to delivering jobs right now as projects ger underway,” Senator McMahon said.

“The Morrison Government is investing in the Northern Territory, in the communities who live here and in the tourism market that plays such a critical role in our economy.”

With plenty more updates to come in the new year, the implementation of the Growing Tourism in Kakadu Masterplan will be welcome support for the region’s economy and local communities.

“It is important to see progress being made as these ideas become a reality, and I’m looking forward to providing more updates as projects are delivered throughout the year,” said Minister Ley.

“We’re looking forward to working with Kakadu’s traditional owners, and in consultation with key stakeholders including the local tourism industry and the Northern Territory Government, to realise the vision set out in the Kakadu Tourism Master Plan in a culturally and environmentally appropriate way.”

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