Author: Charlie

Database Evaluation of the Kokoda Tourism Industry: 2003-2019

Official data, based on the number of Trek Permits issued by the Kokoda Track (Special Purpose) Authority (KTA), reveals that villagers across the Kokoda Trail have suffered a cumulative loss of K49.7 million in foregone income opportunities since the DFAT-Kokoda Initiative assumed responsibility for its management in 2009.   A Kokoda Livelihoods Study by Pacific Islands Projects revealed the DFAT-Kokoda Initiative allocates just 1% of their budget to ‘income generating projects’ for villagers across the Trail.

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Analysis of the proposed DFAT bill for a new ‘Kokoda Track Management Authority (KTMA) Act

This is not a PNG bill – it’s an Australian environment bill being imposed on PNG in a clandestine manner.

There is no record of any consultation with key stakeholders in Kokoda pilgrimage tourism in the drafting process of the bill as required by PNG law.

The bill seeks to extend the influence of foreign aid-funded officials by expanding the gazetted boundaries of the Kokoda Trail to include a large part of the Owen Stanley Ranges and protecting their aid-funded careers with another layer of unnecessary environmental legislation.

The bill fails to acknowledge that the Kokoda Trail is PNGs most popular pilgrimage tourism destination and should therefore be managed on a commercial basis as a tourism enterprise owned by Traditional Resource Custodians (TRCs) for the benefit of their village communities.

Following are comments on each section of the proposed bill along with serious questions that need to be answered by the proponents of the bill before it is considered any further.

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‘Chanting bogans’ lower the Pilgrimage Values of Kokoda

A trek across the Kokoda Trail should be regarded as a respectful pilgrimage in the footsteps of the brave – through a rugged jungle shrine linked to our Australian military heritage in the ‘land of the unexpected‘!
It should not be degraded as a ‘bucket-list’ item; a ‘Tough Mudder‘ event; or a ‘bogan challenge‘ complete with guitars and cringeworthy ‘Ozzie, Ozzie Ozzie – ‘Oi, ‘Oi, ‘Oi’ chants.

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