A new $351.7 million joint government infrastructure funding agreement has been approved to develop the post-mining era of Jabiru in the Northern Territory, aiming to attract more tourism to the region.
With the Ranger Uranium Mine due to cease production in 2021, Jabiru’s Mirrar Traditional Owners envisage their ancestral lands transforming into the tourism heart of Kakadu National Park; a sustainable, eco-destination that celebrates the oldest continuous culture on earth.
The Australian Government’s $216.2 million investment over ten years will support the establishment of a world heritage interpretive centre, along with a tourism masterplan, and road upgrades to boost year round accessibility to key sites within the Kakadu National Park. It will also support land remediation works following the closure of the mine.
The Northern Territory Government’s funding agreement will also support the establishment of the Bininj Resource Centre, along with upgrades to local Jabiru infrastructure, a new power station, a government services hub, upgraded health clinic and a designated education precinct.
The two levels of government are also co-investing to improve mobile phone coverage across Kakadu National Park.
The Jabiru Masterplan, informed by the Mirrar vision for the town, is supported by the independent Jabiru Business Case report, which estimates that in the first year of new attractions and development projects, Kakadu visitation numbers will increase by nearly 100,000.
Additionally, the report estimates 125 ongoing jobs will be created in Jabiru as a result of the planned development projects and initiatives.
Development opportunities include an eco-recreation hub, a wellness centre, a five-star lodge with glamping, a Lake Jabiru boardwalk and a croc-proof swimming enclosure.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Selena Uibo said the Kakadu National Park is already an iconic tourist destination and it is a cultural asset with intrinsic and intangible value for the Mirrar traditional owners, who have had an uninterrupted connection to the lands for more than 65,000 years.
“By drawing upon the Mirrar’s knowledge of these lands, their wisdom, their heritage and their dreamings, the unspoiled natural beauty and ancient wilderness of Kakadu will only be enhanced by the sharing of this incomparable Aboriginal cultural experience,” Ms Uibo said.
“The Territory Labor Government is investing in the future of this very special part of the Territory, to improve the visitor experience for people from all over the world and to support the Mirrar people to unlock the social and economic potential of their land.”
CEO of Qantas’ domestic arm, Andrew David, congratulated the Australian and Northern Territory governments on the funding deal and said the “large and bold investment in infrastructure” would boost domestic and international visitors to the region.
Mr David said the funding is exactly what the Northern Territory needs – a large and bold investment in infrastructure which will help drive visitation, both domestic and international.
“This plays to the Territory’s unique strengths of natural beauty and Aboriginal culture. The Federal and Northern Territory governments should be congratulated.
“As the national carrier, we’re are proud to promote the Territory to travellers from around the world and in our own backyard, and we have no doubt this will help get more visitors to the region.”