news.com.au: Kakadu National Park to get funding boost
13th January 2019
Kakadu National Park will get a boost worth more than $200 million, with both major parties committing to revitalise the World Heritage-listed Northern Territory site.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit the town of Jabiru on Sunday to announce the coalition's $216 million package.
The government's plan includes $70 million for road upgrades and up to $111 million to improve tourism infrastructure.
"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," Mr Morrison said in a statement.
Australia's largest national park will receive a funding injection regardless of which party triumphs at this year's federal election.
Labor has pledged $220 million for Kakadu if it wins government with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten set to travel to the NT on Sunday night.
Labor's plan includes $100 million to upgrade four key access roads, $45 million for urgent asbestos work in Jabiru and $25 million for a new visitor centre in the town.
Both packages aim to arrest a decline in tourist numbers, which have fallen from 300,000 a year in the late 1980s to about 185,000.
Mr Shorten said tourism and the environment of Kakudu had been neglected for too long.
"I genuinely don't mind if the prime minister wants to take some of our ideas and announce them," he told reporters in Melbourne.
"I don't care about the politics. I care about the issues."
Kakadu Tourism chair Rick Allert welcomed the announcements, saying better services and access were essential to getting more visitors to the area.
"Our Cooinda and Jabiru properties are fully indigenous owned and have provided the lifeblood of Kakadu's tourism industry for many decades," Mr Allert said.
"But there is no doubt that tourism infrastructure has really held back the industry from progressing since the pinnacle of the Crocodile Dundee days."
The park and town support a significant portion of the 1600 jobs and $103 million the Kakadu Arnhem region brings to the NT economy.