FAST FACTS | 1992: Fewer than 100 Australians trekked Kokoda prior to 1992 – no income was generated for local subsistence villagers. 2008: 5621 Australians trekked Kokoda – generating approximately $3 million (K7.8 million) directly into village economies (wages, campsite fees, village purchases). 2009: DFAT-Environment assumed control of the Kokoda Trail. Trekker numbers have since declined by 42% to 3300 resulting in a direct annual loss of $1.2 million (K3.1 million) for village communities across the Trail.Read More
Category: MANAGEMENT ISSUES
The Minister for Veterans Affairs has allocated $10 million for commemorative projects in Papua...Read More
Prior to the 50th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign in 1992 tourists rarely trekked across the Kokoda Trail. An Anzac trek led by Major Charlie Lynn on the 50th anniversary of the Kokoda campaign reawakened Australia’s interest and generated some rare positive publicity for Papua New Guinea. Over the next few years Charlie’s Kokoda treks featured positive stories in every major television and media network throughout Australia – this led to a surge in interest in trekking across the Trail.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.