Historic investment in iconic National Parks

The Hon Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment

Senator The Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

The Hon Nola Marino MP, Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories

The Morrison Government has today announced the biggest single investment made in Australia’s Commonwealth National Parks, with more than $233 million injected into tourism and other infrastructure, creating more than a thousand jobs for regional and remote communities.

The funding for Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu, Booderee on the NSW south coast, Christmas Island, and the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra will provide a much-needed boost for tourism and play an important role in helping tourism businesses and the economy.

“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,” Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said.

“This is an unprecedented funding injection for Parks Australia which has been planned over recent months to attract more visitors while providing jobs, improved accommodation and better facilities for staff and Traditional Owners.

“These parks are the greatest showcase of our unique natural environment – from the red rocks of Uluru-Kata Tjuta to the wetlands of Kakadu and the crystal-clear waters and white sand beaches in Booderee – the world adores the Australian landscape because of these icons.

“The funding is on top of $216 million the Morrison Government is already injecting into Kakadu and the announcement this week of tendering for a new viewing platform at one of the nation’s best-known croc sites Cahill’s Crossing.

New infrastructure and upgrades to Commonwealth National Parks announced today include:

  • Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park: Major upgrades to the cultural centre, renewal of walking tracks (including the Uluru Base Walk) and viewing platforms, upgrades to shelters and water stations at visitor sites, as well as $51 million in infrastructure upgrades for the Muṯitjulu community.
  • Kakadu National Park: Upgrades to campgrounds including improved fresh water storage, improvements to the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Centre, road repairs, improved staff housing, workshop and utility buildings, improved fuel storage and supply facilities.
  • Booderee National Park: A new visitor centre to welcome visitors and showcase Aboriginal culture, upgrades to campground amenities, roads and car parks, the Murrays Beach Boardwalk and Boat Ramp, walking tracks and viewing platforms.
  • Christmas Island National Park: New viewing platform at the Margaret Knoll Lookout, a popular bird watching destination which overlooks the Indian Ocean

Federal Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham said new and upgraded tourism facilities would enhance the visitor experiences within our Commonwealth National Parks at a time when we need to get visitors flowing again.

“Tourism is the lifeblood of many of the communities in and around these parks, and it’s absolutely critical that we boost economic activity by helping to attract more people into these regions,” Minister Birmingham said.

“We know that Australians continue to make the most of our incredible nature and wildlife offerings, with over half of all domestic overnight holidays involving outdoor or nature-based activities.

“Enhancing the visitor experiences within our National Parks will help to increase visitation, especially when we want Australians holidaying here and supporting our local tourism businesses.

“We also shouldn’t underestimate the huge positive flow-on effects increased visitation to the Parks could have on the surrounding regions. Every extra visitor has the potential to inject more tourism dollars into these regions by visiting other attractions, sleeping in local hotels and dining in local restaurants.”

Assistant Minister for Regional Development and Territories Nola Marino said she welcomed the record investment in Commonwealth National Parks.

“This announcement shows how important our National Parks are to the people living in our Territories,” Mrs Marino said.

“Tourism is a vital part of the economy for our Territories and this announcement means significant investment in that sector.”

The nation’s peak tourism operators have welcomed the announcement saying that it was important news for tourism operators.

“This comes at a critical moment for Australia’s regional tourism recovery,” Chief Executive of the Tourism & Transport Forum Margy Osmond said.

“As we encourage Australians to support local tourism where they can, it is important they can see investment taking place that provides the amenities needed to improve the visitor experience and supports local tourism operators who have been hit so hard.”

The Chief Executive of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Grant Hunt A.M said the upgrading of visitor facilities within Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park as well as essential infrastructure in the Muṯitjulu community is a significant boost for tourism in Central Australia.

“In particular, renewal of the Cultural Centre, the cultural heart of the National Park, is great news for visitors and for the Anangu artists and businesses who base themselves there,” he said.

“This funding could not have come at a better time.”

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