New opportunities for economic development and jobs for local Aboriginal people will be opened up in Watarrka National Park, with the NT Government investing $5 million into a new walking trail as part of the Turbocharging Tourism stimulus package.
The trail concept, running through one of Australias most beautiful locations, is currently in development with Matutjara Traditional Owners working closely with the NT Government and the Central Land Council.
Traditional Owners are working with the NT Government to provide adequate protections for sacred sites and other areas of significance within the National Park, while developing suitable concepts for a multi-day walking trail with high-end eco-camp accommodation.
The project will generate local jobs through construction of the trail and associated camp infrastructure as well as opening up new commercial opportunities, such as accommodation options along the route.
Commercial investment will be sought to support the project, in partnership with the Matutjara people.
Meanwhile, works on a new viewing platform at the end of Kings Creek walk are underway after the original platform was destroyed in a rock fall. The design concept for the viewing platform was done in conjunction with Traditional Owners and local Alice Springs architectural firm, Tangentyere Designs. It will give visitors an up close and personal view of the majestic canyon walls. Local Alice Springs company M & C Fior Constructions, trading as Bullant Building, is building the platform, with work due to be finished in June 2019.
As noted by Minister for Tourism, Sport and Culture, Lauren Moss:
The Territory Labor Government continues to invest in our Parks and the tourism industry because creating jobs for Territorians is our number one priority.
Home to Kings Canyon, Watarrka is one of Australias most unique locations and is in the top five parks for visitors in the Territory, attracting more than 250,000 visitors every year.
Infrastructure investments into our Parks ensure that we are delivering excellent experiences for visitors, which in turn, helps us to build tourism advocates through word of mouth.
It is exciting to be working with the Traditional Owners to develop new opportunities and offer unique experiences like sleeping under the stars in the heart of Australia. The turbocharged investment will create jobs, and establish a vibrant, sustainable tourism industry in Watarrka National Park.
There will be amazing opportunities opening up which will enhance one of the Territorys iconic Parks and contribute to the economic future of this region.
As noted by Member for Namatjira, Chansey Paech:
We are working with traditional owners and stakeholders to maximise tourism growth in the Watarrka region and create jobs and business opportunities.
The world famous Kings Canyon is a major attraction for visitors to Central Australia and this investment will further develop the region.
As stated by Traditional Owners involved in the project:
We are pleased to be involved in this process and look forward to working together with the NT Government and prospective tourism partners.
We see this as an important opportunity for our families and future generations, to achieve better living conditions through jobs and business ownership.