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New grant program to support Aboriginal tourism experiences in Northern Territory national parks

Callan Morse -
NT

The Northern Territory government has announced a new grants program to support Aboriginal tourism experiences in the state's national parks.

A first of its kind, the $1.4 million Aboriginal Tourism Development in NT Parks and Reserves Grant Program aims to support Aboriginal Territorians share their culture with visitors to the Northern Territory's 33 jointly managed parks and reserves.

Aboriginal-owned businesses and organisations can apply for grants ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 to develop Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences and tourism products.

Northern Territory Minister for Parks and Rangers, Selena Uibo said the scheme will be beneficial for Aboriginal Traditional owners who jointly manage 33 of the NT's 85 parks and reserves, empowering them to make decisions about their land and delivering employment and economic opportunities for local communities.

"The Aboriginal Tourism Development in NT Parks and Reserves Grant Program will help progress some of the major aims of joint management including creation of economic and employment opportunities for Traditional Owners and improving and creating more cultural tourism experiences for park visitors," the Nunggubuyu and Wanindilyakwa woman said.

"From Top End parks along the coast such as Garig Gunak Barlu National Park to Karlu Karlu / Devils Marbles Conservation Reserve in the Barkly to Rainbow Valley Conservation Reserve in Central Australia, the Territory's parks offer the perfect location to learn about and experience Aboriginal culture."

This grant program is jointly funded by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth governments with the new commitment of $6 million for the delivery of strategic Aboriginal tourism projects to strengthen Aboriginal Territorians' participation in Australia's tourism industry and deliver strong economic outcomes for the Northern Territory.

Northern Territory Minister for Tourism and Hospitality, Joel Bowden said ancient Aboriginal cultures are a significant draw card to the Northern Territory for international and domestic visitors.

"We want visitors to connect with one of the world's oldest cultures through immersive tourism experiences, which sustain Aboriginal tourism," Mr Bowden said.

"This new grant program will spearhead Aboriginal tourism offerings in our national parks and allow visitors to discover the natural beauty of our landscapes while immersing themselves in one of richest cultural histories in the world."

To be eligible, applicants must be a Northern Territory Aboriginal-owned business or organisation with a goal to develop Aboriginal cultural tourism experiences and tourism products for park visitors in a Northern Territory joint managed park or reserve.

The grant program is open from 29 April and closes 29 November, with applicants encouraged to reach out to Tourism NT's Aboriginal Tourism team via 08 8999 7420 to discuss ideas prior to submission.

More information, including grant guidelines is available via the GrantsNT website.

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