Kakadu tourism investment must be fast-tracked to bring tourists back to this Top End jewel and support jobs in the Northern Territory.
The Morrison Government’s release of a draft tourism master plan for Kakadu comes 648 days after the plan was first announced.
It’s about time!
Kakadu is an Australian icon – with breathtaking landscapes, rich ecosystems, abundant wildlife and, at its heart, a connection to indigenous culture and country.
At its peak Kakadu attracted around 300,000 visitors a year.
But after years of underinvestment by the Liberal-National Federal Government, visitation has since dropped to only 185,000 a year.
Since Scott Morrison and Michael McCormack announced up to $216 million for Kakadu upgrades in January 2019:
- The Australian National Audit Office release a scathing report criticising the Government’s handling of its national parks, including Kakadu;
- Tourism operators have been pleading for answers from the Government about when they will be able to access key sites;
- And talks between Parks Australia and Traditional Owners broke down.
Today, the NT tourism industry is understandably pushing back against being given two weeks to provide feedback on a plan the Government took more than 92 weeks to deliver.
Yesterday’s announcement is an important step but is sadly yet another clear example of a Government focused only on announcements and headlines but failing when it comes to delivery and deadlines.
With the draft plan complete, the Morrison Government must commit to a clear timeline for delivering the funding it promised and the upgrades that will return Kakadu to the top of tourists’ must-visit lists.