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Media Release
Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment and Heritage

22 March 2000


What better place to learn the finer details of the hospitality industry than in the heart of the Kakadu National Park in Australia's tropical north?

Twenty one indigenous trainees have hosted a luncheon at the Gagudju Crocodile Hotel in Jabiru for invited guests from local businesses and Aboriginal Associations. The luncheon provided an opportunity for the trainees to display their newly acquired skills in hospitality and service.

Mr Bob Collins, Chair of the Kakadu Region Social Impact Study (KRSIS) Implementation Team said the luncheon demonstrated the success of a new indigenous hospitality traineeship program run by Kakadu Tourism Pty Ltd.

"Tourism is vital to the Kakadu National Park, recognised internationally as a World Heritage Property with outstanding natural and cultural values."

Federal Environment and Heritage Minister Robert Hill congratulated the trainees on the success of luncheon and their progress through the traineeship program. "This wonderful initiative gives indigenous Australians the opportunity to learn more about the hospitality industry, while also gaining important business management skills," Senator Hill said.

"They will be working at the Gagadju Crocodile Hotel and Cooinda Lodge, and if the program proves to be successful, Jabiru may become a basis for further indigenous hospitality training."

The trainees will spend three months in Jabiru as part of the live-in training program, which includes formal course work through the Northern Territory University and on-the-job training at a range of locations throughout the Kakadu National Park. Six of the 21 trainees are from the Kakadu region, with the others being drawn from locations all around the country

The program is jointly funded by the Northern Territory University, the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business, the Northern Territory Department of Employment, Training and Youth Affairs and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission's Commercial Development Corporation.

Mr Collins said the training program flows on from the Kakadu Regional Social Impact Study, undertaken in 1997. "The study was in response to a request by Aboriginal groups to examine the social and economic impacts of mining over the previous 20 years. It resulted in a number of recommendations to manage the impacts of mining on Aboriginal communities in the Kakadu region.

"These are being implemented through an implementation team comprised of Aboriginal Associations in the area, Commonwealth and Northern Territory governments, the Northern Land Council and resources company ERA."

Mr Collins said it was sad that the founding Chairman of the Gagudju Association, Mr Mick Alderson, did not witness the success of yesterday's luncheon. Mr Alderson had been Chair up until his untimely death a few weeks ago, and had been the driving force behind the construction of both hotels in the region and the call to see more indigenous staff employed in Gagudju's hotels.

For more information, contact:
Bob Collins, Chair, KRSIS Implementation Team : 0419 816 261
Helen Garner, Parks Australia North: (08) 8946 4311

Commonwealth of Australia