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Kokoda track code of conduct urgently needed.



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33 George Street, Launceston 7250, Tasmania Australia Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600

Tel (03) 6334 1755 Fax (03) 6334 1624 Toll Free 1300 132 937 Tel (02) 6277 3603 Fax (02) 6277 3600

senator.barnett@aph.gov.au www.guybarnett.com

     

 

     

 

KOKODA TRACK CODE OF CONDUCT  URGENTLY NEEDED    

Sunday 23 August, 2009 

 

A code of conduct for the Kokoda Track currently being drafted by Australian tour operators needs to be finalised and implemented as a matter of urgency, according to Liberal Senator for Tasmania, Guy Barnett.

“The Australian tour operators involved are to be commended for their involvement in this initiative to ensure trekkers’ safety and that the Kokoda Track remains a premier tourist destination that sustains its remarkable historical, environmental, cultural and social traits,” Senator Barnett said this week in the Senate.

“The code of conduct relates to promoting sustainable tourism along the Kokoda Track; promoting the unique heritage of the area, especially its military history and culture; promoting responsible tourist behaviour; minimising impacts on the natural environment through best practice; supporting local communities; promoting excellence; and exercising a duty of care to clients and staff and so on.

“Under the proposal, the code of conduct is to be monitored by the Kokoda Track Authority and to be annually reviewed to ensure that it remains relevant, effective and up to date.

“Right now there are no mandatory minimum industry standards in place to regulate tours. It’s time the Australian Government stepped up its involvement.

“In 2001, only 76 people registered to walk the Track. Last year over 6000 Australians completed the 96 kilometre journey. In the past 15 months three Australians have lost their lives. The safety and welfare of Australians needs to be addressed.

“I urge the Government to ensure the Kokoda Track code of conduct is finalised and implemented as soon as possible.

“Every trekker must make the flight in or out of Kokoda. It is reasonable to expect certain standards of air safety are met.

“The Kokoda airstrip is one issue that the Government should address in improving air safety. The current airstrip is below standard. It is only capable of landing small planes. It is these small planes that have difficulty navigating the variable weather and mountainous terrain of inland New Guinea.

Guy Barnett Coalition Scrutiny of Government Spokesperson Liberal Senator for Tasmania

Media Release

33 George Street, Launceston 7250, Tasmania Australia Parliament House, Canberra, ACT 2600

Tel (03) 6334 1755 Fax (03) 6334 1624 Toll Free 1300 132 937 Tel (02) 6277 3603 Fax (02) 6277 3600

senator.barnett@aph.gov.au www.guybarnett.com

“I also urge the Government to consider the proposal of a small ex gratia payment to surviving Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels in recognition of their contribution in assisting Australian Soldiers during the Kokoda Campaign of World War II. This was one of the recommendations of a motion put

forward in the Senate 24 June 2008 by Senator Julian McGauran and myself and carried unanimously. The Government has failed to respond to this point, and I have written to the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence seeking answers.

“Australians and Papua New Guineans have a unique bond resulting from our shared military history. The Kokoda Track plays an important part in this history. Agreements need to be met so that Australians can continue to experience the Kokoda Track in a way that is sustainable and without unnecessary danger.

“Trekkers need to be assured of full disclosure of the dangers that they face, in order to make an informed decision before embarking on the trek. At the same time, more needs to be done to ensure that the risks are reduced,” Senator Barnett concluded.

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In April last year Senator Barnett, together with a group of 17 other trekkers from Tasmania, Victoria, NSW and the ACT walked the 96km Kokoda Track in Papua New Guinea. The trek was organised to honour the Diggers who stopped the Japanese advance on Port Moresby in 1942 and to raise funds for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund.

Attached: Speech to the Senate

MEDIA CONTACT: Claire Stewart â€ 0439 037 679