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$250,000 funding for work on Kokoda Track.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon Peter Garrett AM MP Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

PG /289 10 June 2009


Environment, Heritage and the Arts Minister, Peter Garrett, today announced funding for Papua New Guinea for immediate upgrades to the Kokoda Track.

“The Australian Government is channelling funding of $250,000 directly into urgent upgrades to the Kokoda Track that will improve conditions for trekkers,” Mr Garrett said.

“Walking the Track has become a significant tourist attraction, enticing over 5000 visitors per year and injecting around $9 million dollars annually into the PNG economy.

“Supporting the development of the Track as a world class trekking experience will increase the benefits which flow to local communities, while also preserving the historic values of the Track,” Mr Garrett said.

“This funding will go to track maintenance projects including constructing emergency bridges for use during flooding, improving trekking facilities along the Track such as toilets, and reducing erosion.”

As well as providing this money to improve and preserve the Track itself, the Australian Government is directing a further $1 million to the Kokoda Development Program. This brings the total funding for activities to improve the living standards for local communities that live along the Track to $2.67 million.

“We are working hard to improve access to basic services on the ground,” Mr Garrett said.

“To date the health centre at Efogi village has been refurbished; the health radio network has been upgraded and health workers in villages along the Track trained; schools have been supplied with curriculum materials; children have been vaccinated; and transport assistance has been provided to get teachers to villages.

“Over the next 12 months we will continue to roll out activities to improve health and education services, access to clean water and better sanitation. We will also trial a subsidised flight program to improve access to markets and services,” Mr Garrett said.

This funding is part of Australia’s $14.9 million commitment to assist the Government of Papua New Guinea to protect the Kokoda Track and Owen Stanley Ranges and to improve the livelihoods of local communities along the Track corridor.

The Kokoda Track passes through 96 kilometres of the stunningly beautiful and rugged Owen Stanley Ranges, and was the site of a bitterly fought World War II campaign.