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Joint Media Release
Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
David Tollner MP
Member for Solomon
Senator Nigel Scullion
Senator for the Northern Territory

11 May 2005

Kakadu benefits from Budget

The Howard Government has delivered on its election promise to provide $16.4 million to Kakadu National Park over four years.

The funding replaces revenue which would have been gained in entrance fees, ensures Kakadu will still be adequately resourced and removes a disincentive for Territorians to visit the park.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Greg Hunt MP, Senator for the Northern Territory, Nigel Scullion, and Member for Solomon, David Tollner MP, have heralded the confirmation of the funding for Kakadu.

"The Government promised last July to abolish the park use fee at Kakadu. We honoured that pledge on 19 December and now we've delivered on our commitment to provide money to replace entrance fees," Mr Hunt said.

"Latest figures show that the Government's decision to remove park entrance fees is having a positive effect on encouraging Territorians to visit.

"Park visitor surveys in February and April showed about 26 per cent of visitors were locals. In previous visitor surveys only five per cent of visitors across the year were Territorians.

Mr Tollner said that since the abolition of fees the park has invested in new technology to better understand who is coming to Kakadu.

"Technology is already helping us to plan more effectively for the future. Our new traffic counter tells us more locals with fishing boats are entering the park.

"Other anecdotal evidence from tour operators also confirms there are more Territorians visiting.

"This is proof that removing park entrance fees was the key to attracting local people to use the park and enjoy the world-renowned wonders in their own back yard.

Senator Scullion said the Government's delivery of its funding commitment to replace entrance fees will ensure Kakadu thrives over the coming years.

"Attracting more Territorians is part of the Shared Vision for the park. Locals are reconnecting with the park and rediscovering the awesome wonders right on their doorstep.

"There is now great incentive for Territorians to visit the park year-round and the delivery of $16.4 million over four years demonstrates the Government's commitment to ensure Kakadu remains open and attractive to all.

"Making the park more accessible by removing the entry fee is delivering great tourism experiences to visitors as well as economic benefits to traditional owners and tour operators."

The latest visitor surveys showed 28 per cent of visitors to Kakadu were from interstate and 46 per cent from overseas.

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's office)  0423 577 045
David Tollner 0414 690 109
Joe Nyhan (Senator Scullion's Office) - (08) 8948 3555 or  (02) 6277 3456 or  0408 288 567

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