Thursday, July 25, 2024

More accessible tourism for Top End parks: Bowden, Ah Kit, Uibo

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The Hon. Joel Bowden, Minister for Tourism and Hospitality (NT), The Hon. Ngaree Ah Kit, Minister for Disabilities (NT), The Hon. Selena Uibo, Minister for Parks and Rangers and Member for Arnhem (NT), Joint Media Release, 8 July 2024

The Lawler Labor Government is making tourism more accessible in our Territory parks.

A tender has been released to improve disability access for the lower plunge pool at Edith Falls, to supply and install a hoist to provide visitors in wheelchairs safe access into the plunge pool.

The hoist will be designed to fit in with the natural landscape and will be fitted with a mechanism so the person in the wheelchair can operate it in a safe manner. 

The existing pathway will also be extended to allow better access to the plunge pool.

Edith Falls in Nitmiluk National Park is located 60km northeast of Katherine and boasts one of the most popular destinations in the Territory with approximately 120,000 visitors annually. 

Other infrastructure upgrades delivered to Nitmiluk National Park includes:

  •  More than 20km of shared walking and mountain bike trails
  •  A new jetty to enable ramp access and for Nitmiluk Tours to run for longer during the Wet Season
  • Upgrades to the first gorge crossover on the Wet Season path
  • A new Katherine River crossing and upgraded 17 Mile Valley track to support Nitmiluk Tours’ Biddlecombe Cascades glamping experience, which will mean earlier access after the Wet Season
  • Refurbishment of the 20-year-old Nitmiluk Visitor Centre to update the building with new facilities including a kitchen, bathroom, decking, interpretive displays and landscaping
  • A new car-park to support the Cultural Touring site

The project is aligned with the NT Parks Masterplan 2023-53, which commits to improving accessibility and safety for all park users, particularly for parks and reserves located near urban centres, taking into account all age ranges, needs and abilities by ensuring parks and reserves have comprehensive accessibility and safety audit reports. 

There are many parks and reserves across the Territory that already enable disability access, including pathways, viewing platforms, amenity blocks and associated infrastructure.  

Litchfield National Park has paths and viewing platforms at Tolmer Falls, and recently upgraded toilet facilities at Shady Camp in the very popular Mary River National Park have been constructed to ensure increased accessibility opportunities.

The Lawler Labor Government has invested $70M in Territory parks since coming to government in 2016 to deliver first-class tourism experiences in our parks.

Attributable to Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Joel Bowden:

“Accessible tourism initiatives ensure tourist attractions are accessible to all regardless of their physical limitations, disabilities or age. We want to showcase the Territory as an inclusive and accessible destination to all visitors.” 

Attributable to Minister for Disabilities Ngaree Ah Kit:

“The Territory is a place that truly embraces inclusivity and our accessible tourism industry – It’s fantastic to see the lower plunge pool at Edith Falls will have wheelchair accessibility. This will add to the many parks and reserves across the Territory that already enable disability access.”

Attributable to Minister for Parks and Rangers and Member for Arnhem Selena Uibo:

“Attractions, experience and facilities have successfully grown and improved in Nitmiluk National Park, and it continues to be one of the most popular destinations for tourists and Territorians alike.”

“I am so pleased to see the delivery of this project. Our Lawler Government will always support accessibility in our parks for all.”
 

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