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Wednesday, 24 August 1994
Page: 210

Senator TAMBLING (1.29 p.m.) —I take the opportunity today to refer to the recent Northern Territory Tourism Development Masterplan that has been produced for the Northern Territory, and four additional regional tourism development plans. Tourism is a dynamic industry in the Northern Territory. It employs 10,000 territorians, generates nearly $600 million for the economy, and attracts almost one million visitors per year. By 1998-99 tourism in the territory is expected to employ more than 12,000 people, generate more than $790 million, and attract some 1 1/4 million visitors a year.

  For these reasons, the new five-year Northern Territory Tourism Development Masterplan comes at an important time in the development of territory tourism. The masterplan, which was launched by the Northern Territory Minister for Tourism, Mr Barry Coulter, in May of this year, establishes a framework for government and industry decision making through to the year 1999. It sets directions for the development of facilities and services and lays the foundation for a more vigorous and diverse industry that will extend its benefits throughout the territory.

  In the foreword, Minister Coulter describes the release of the masterplan as heralding an important stage in, and maturing of, the Northern Territory tourism industry. He states:

This document establishes that the Territory must capitalise on its natural assets, represented through an extensive National Parks network, and its rich heritage.

It puts forward plans to cater for increasing numbers of visitors seeking an exposure to nature and keen to experience the character of the outback.

In doing so, it encourages industry investment in developing both new and higher quality amenities, to a product and services in concert with Government initiatives.

The masterplan calls on the territory to capitalise on its natural resources and, not surprisingly, it highlights the importance of parks and reserves to territory tourism. It goes a step further, recommending that Kakadu and Uluru national parks be brought under territory control, to `ensure a coordinated approach to management, marketing, planning and expansion.'

  I was particularly attracted to the section of the masterplan document entitled `Aboriginal cultural tourism'. This sets out a number of very important aspects and issues that affect Aboriginal people, in particular the aims of Aboriginal cultural tourism. They are to encourage Aboriginal people to become involved with tourism in the Northern Territory by sharing their vibrant culture with interested visitors; to ensure that Aboriginal people enter the tourism market at their own pace and survive in the market; to ensure high quality experiences for people interested in Aboriginal cultural tourism; and to capitalise on the growing global interest in indigenous cultures.

  Accompanying the masterplan are four regional tourism development plans covering the top end, Katherine, the Tablelands and Central Australia. Each of these provide regional specific plans and project initiatives. The Northern Territory government is itself a major player in territory tourism, simply because of the nature of the industry in the Northern Territory. The tyranny of distance, for example, means a greater role for government in transport development. The Northern Territory Tourism Development Masterplan is evidence of the successful partnership between government and the private sector in the territory. I commend the Northern Territory government on this visionary document and I seek leave of the Senate to table the documents.

  Leave granted.