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30 March 2010
The Australian Government has committed an additional $3.1 million to fund further safety projects along the Kokoda Track.
Australian Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts, Peter Garrett, and Papua New Guinean Minister for Tourism and Culture, Charles Abel, said today marked the release of the second tranche of funding for this important joint initiative.
The first tranche of $1.8 million announced in September 2009 helped fast-track vital safety enhancements along the Kokoda Track following the tragic plane crash in August 2009.
The second tranche of $3.1 million will fund additional, major safety projects associated with airstrips, roads, bridges, footbridges, communications and trekking health and safety.
Specific safety measures made possible by this funding are:
Since September 2009, the Kokoda Safety Package has already addressed some key areas including maintenance and equipment for Kokoda Track airstrips and audits of their conditions, upgrades to radio communications and urgent repairs to the Owers Corner road and nearby bridges.
"This season is expected to see a record number of visitors to Kokoda, and while all the risks associated with this challenging walk cannot be completely removed they can be reduced.
"The Government is really pleased to be working with the PNG Government to improve safety on the Kokoda Track, as well as assisting the communities along the track."
Mr Abel said that the new projects funded under the second tranche of the Safety Package will help ensure the visitor experience to the Kokoda Track is not only exciting and memorable, but also as safe as possible.
"It is also important that the communities along the track are looked after in this regard because of their support for trekkers along the way," Mr Abel said.
"The Government of Papua New Guinea is making a contribution to this package through providing for ongoing maintenance of the Owers' Corner Road, and funding for the Kokoda Track Authority to support management, maintenance and safety activities along the Track."
This second tranche of funding builds on the $14.9 million already provided by the Australian Government for the Kokoda Initiative to protect the Kokoda Track and improve the lives of communities along the Track.