Aurecon provides planning and stakeholders consultation to the Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory.


Kakadu Tourism Master Plan and Roads Strategy, Northern Territory, Australia

Guiding sustainable tourism in collaboration with Traditional Owners

  • Aurecon’s role: Infrastructure advisory, road engineering
  • Client: Parks Australia, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Project partners: PwC
  • Aurecon expertise: Infrastructure advisory, Roads & transport networks
  • Status: Completed 2020

The UNESCO World Heritage Kakadu National Park, in Australia’s Northern Territory, is an ancient landscape of exceptional beauty and unique biodiversity.

Aurecon, in collaboration with PwC Australia, helped to capture the unique attributes of the place and guide associated investment opportunities through the Kakadu Tourism Master Plan (2020-2030) and Roads Strategy.

The documents advise how to grow long-term visitation to this living cultural landscape in a sustainable way and include prioritisation of works for the AUD 70 million of funding for road upgrades within the park, along with a further AUD 111 million for tourism planning and infrastructure – including the development of a Tourism Master Plan and Roads Strategy for the Park, made available by the Australian Government.

A co-designed Tourism Master Plan

The Tourism Master Plan is the overarching framework to support recovery in the short- and medium-term due to the COVID-19 pandemic, while staying strongly focused on the long-term vision for growing tourism in Kakadu National Park and the Northern Territory more broadly.

Aurecon identified initiatives to improve and develop visitor experiences in a sustainable way and transform infrastructure with appropriate investment.

At the heart of our approach was extensive stakeholder consultation and collaboration with Traditional Owners, Aboriginal communities (Bininj/Mungguy), government, and the tourism industry. Spending the time travelling extensively throughout Kakadu National Park, the project team was able to engage with stakeholders one-on-one and ensure their passions and ideas were reflected in the final plan.

Stakeholders were asked to evaluate the current state of Kakadu National Park and imagine future possibilities for growing tourism and highlighting its unique character through existing and new experiences.

Another central element of the plan is the introduction of initiatives which support jobs and the development of a tourism economy for the nearby township of Jabiru, such as commercial tour operations, accommodation, and tourism services.

Roads to the future

The Roads Strategy prioritises investment in road upgrades to deliver the tourism initiatives identified in the Tourism Master Plan.

The Tourism Master Plan consultations were the main platform for generating information pertaining to the road network and informed the development of the strategy. The information and knowledge gained during this engagement and consultation process, combined with engineering considerations, informed the development of a list of upgrade options. These were prioritised using a multi-criteria analysis process, followed by action plans to guide the implementation of the strategy.

For example, stakeholders noted that roads were a key concern to maintain access and capacity, retain investment, and be true to the adventurous spirit of Kakadu National Park.

Improved road access was therefore a key priority to enhance the visitor experience and provide certainty of access to sites. Road upgrades enable opportunities for the Bininj/Mungguy communities to continue education, employment and business throughout the tourism season.

Alignment of the Roads Strategy with the Tourism Master Plan will ensure that Kakadu National Park continues as one of Australia’s iconic UNESCO World Heritage sites, recognised internationally for memorable visitor experiences.

Aurecon demonstrated that strategic planning, in consultation with key stakeholders and alignment of their needs, can help prioritise investment in a way that delivers long-term outcomes which are culturally, environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.

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