A 1400% increase in the number of Australians trekking Kokoda after the opening of the Isurava Memorial in 2002 would normally be hailed an outstanding result for PNG tourism, and our shared wartime heritage. But, for Canberra based envirocrats lurking in the corridors of power within Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), it had all the hallmarks of an environmental armageddon!Read More
Category: KOKODA TRACK AUTHORITY
Ownership of the naming rights of the Kokoda Trail has been contested in Australia in recent...Read More
It seems the PNG Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) will ignore the villagers, guides and porters they were established to represent and proceed with their ‘forum’ in Brisbane to get their riding instructions for next year...Read More
Hidden away in this newsletter, written by the Australian CEO assigned to the Kokoda Track Authority by the Department of Environment in Canberra, is the following innocuous paragraph: Following are the Australian Parks...Read More
The welfare of PNG guides and carriers has been a contentious subject for some years however the recent death of a carrier who was allegedly overloaded by an Australian trek operator has brought the issue of their exploitation to to the forefront of the debate.
A recent forum organised by the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) in Brisbane resulted in the CEO of PNG Tourism calling for a response to the issues that were raised – but could not be properly addressed due to agenda/time constraints.
Following is the submission by Adventure Kokoda on the issue of welfare for PNG guides and carriers engaged in the Kokoda Trekking Industry:
This response to the draft Minutes of the KTA Forum conducted in Brisbane on 28 November 2018 is based on the collective views of Adventure Kokoda trek leaders who have a combined total of 130 years professional army experience and who have led more than 520 expeditions across the trail over the past 27 years. Our ‘experience’ in protecting the welfare of our local guides and carriers is in line with the conclusions reached by Dr Geoffrey Vernon, Regimental Medical Officer for the 39th Battalion during the Kokoda campaign.
The KTA Forum was conducted at short notice with insufficient time to prepare detailed submissions for discussion. As it transpired it was more of a briefing session. No Notices of Motions were provided, none were moved and the only substantive decision taken was to have another forum in May 2019!
The Minutes of the previous Tour Operators Forum held in Cairns on 14-15 November were not tabled nor discussed in accordance with normal protocols. These minutes have now been outstanding for more than a year and the fact that they have never been produced after trek operators went to considerable expense to attend is indicative of either negligent administration or a cover-up of some sort.
Our Adventure Kokoda response to the forum will be in two parts.
Part 1 will address the most important issue that can no longer be postponed because it concerns the welfare protection of the local guides and carriers for the 2019 trekking season..
Part 2 will address the other issues presented at the forum and will be submitted early in the New Year.
Air Niugini’s Paradise magazine describes a visit to Ower’s Corner, where ‘the road becomes a footpath that connects the start of the Kokoda Trail . . . just an hour and a half from downtown Port Moresby’.Visitors who make the...Read More