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Federal Government to provide $233 million backing for tourism in national parks
In a move to help the struggling tourism sector recover from the impacts of Coronavirus, the Federal Government will spend $233 million on tourism and infrastructure projects across five major natural attractions.
The money will go to the Parks Australia-managed Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks in the Northern Territory, Christmas Island, Canberra's Australian National Botanic Gardens and the Booderee National Park on the NSW South Coast.
Advising that the funding is aimed at assisting with the "economic challenges" of COVID-19, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said today's announcement was in addition to $216 million the Commonwealth had already pledged to spend in Kakadu, and a previously announced tender to build a new viewing platform at Cahill's Crossing.
Minister Ley advised “it is the biggest single investment in our Commonwealth national parks.
"It is about lifting the infrastructure, making these iconic destinations truly as good as they possibly can be as we come out of COVID."
With the Northern Territory to benefit from the largest slice of the investment, some of the money will go towards upgrades to the cultural centre in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park as well as a revamp of walking tracks and viewing platforms and upgrades to shelters and water stations at visitor sites, while $51 million will go toward upgrades for the nearby Mutitjulu community.
Christmas Island National Park will receive a new viewing platform at the Margaret Knoll Lookout and a bird watching destination that overlooks the Indian Ocean.
In Kakadu National Park, there will be upgrades to campgrounds including improved fresh water storage, improvements to the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, road repairs, improved staff housing, workshop and utility buildings, as well as improved fuel storage and supply facilities.
Booderee National Park will be getting a new visitor centre, upgrades to campground amenities, roads and carparks, walking tracks and viewing platforms.
Works at the Australian National Botanic Gardens will include upgrades to firefighting infrastructure.
Noting that the investment would support more than 1,000 jobs over the next three years and attract more visitors to the parks, Minister Ley added “new and improved infrastructure means more tourism, more jobs and better outcomes for Australians living in regional and remote areas, which is vital as we move through the economic challenges of COVID.
"More than 50% of domestic tourism bed nights are spent doing something with the natural environment. So our parks are front and centre of this."
Images: Both the Uluru-Kata Tjuta (top) and Kakadu National Parks (below) in the Northern Territory will benefit from the funding. Lower image courtesy of Ayers Rock Resort/Aaron Collins.
18th June 2020 - Uluru and Kakadu National Park set to reopen
4th April 2020 - Kakadu Tourism closes facilities in response to COVID-19
16th March 2020 - Free entry announced for Commonwealth National Parks
13th February 2020 - Attraction upgrades set to deliver a new era for Kakadu tourism
6th January 2020 - Researchers put a value on national parks’ impact on mental health
5th November 2019 - Parks Australia proposes rise in entry fees to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
26th October 2019 - Uluru climb closes as hundreds scale sacred site on final day
31st October 2017 - Parks Australia looks to appoint Kakadu Park Manager
22nd March 2016 - Parks Australia looks to develop ecotourism concepts on Christmas Island
20th November 2014 - IUCN summit delivers major commitments to save Earth’s most precious natural areas
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