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Bright future for Kakadu and Jabiru

15 January 2019

Kakadu National Park and Jabiru have made headlines this week following the announcements by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten to invest in the revitalisation of the World Heritage-listed park.
Prime Minister Morrison visited Jabiru on Sunday, January 13 to announce the funding promise at the Bowali Visitor Centre. The commitment includes $216 million to upgrade key areas of Kakadu to ensure better services and infrastructure within the tourist destination which will, “ensure Kakadu and Jabiru and all the families and jobs they support are set for the future,” the Prime Minister said.
“With the closure of the Ranger mine set for 2021 we’ll be looking to partner with the NT Government to co-invest in this national tourism icon and future-proof the Park and the town.”
The funding includes upgrades to campground infrastructure, moving the visitor centre to Jabiru, $3.5 million to develop a Kakadu tourism masterplan, $20-60 million for a new indigenous-led visitor centre, mobile and WiFi upgrades, asbestos remediation works in Jabiru and upgrading road access to key Kakadu tourist sites.
Meanwhile, Mr Shorten made the announcement to invest $220 million in infrastructure and community development projects in Kakadu if Labor wins government this year. This was made at the Jabiru Lake on Monday, January 14, alongside Chief Minister of the Northern Territory Michael Gunner, Member for Lingiari Warren Snowden, Member for Solomon Luke Gosling and Senator Malarndirri McCarthy.
The investment will include upgrades of four key access roads in the Park, environmental and park infrastructure upgrades, $25 million for a new Kakadu visitor and world heritage interpretive centre in Jabiru and improvements to mobile connectivity.

A further $2.5 million will be invested for a new tourism masterplan, $45 million to undertake asbestos remediation work in Jabiru and $1 million for a new roads strategy.
“Kakadu is one of Australia’s most recognisable tourist destinations and a World Heritage listed environmental and cultural site. Cared for by its Aboriginal custodians for 65,000 years, Kakadu is home to spectacular scenery, pristine environment, and immense cultural value. It is a natural wonder that should be celebrated and shared with the world,” Mr Shorten said.
“With the Ranger mine coming to an end in the next few years, Jabiru’s businesses and residents face an uncertain future. They need economic activity and jobs for their region – and that means more tourism.”
Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation has welcomed both announcements to back the town’s masterplan and for the revitalisation of Kakadu and will now work closely with both the federal and Northern Territory levels of government to transition the town from its mining past to a future destination for visitors from across Australia and the globe.
“We look forward to welcoming more people to Jabiru and Kakadu to share our country and cultural heritage,” said Mirarr Traditional Owner Simon Mudjandi. 
“As the town changes, we hope Jabiru will be recognised around the world as a significant Australian cultural destination, a place where learning about living culture is accessible in a meaningful way.”