Tapping tourist potential with employment boost

Tom Zaunmayr and Cally DupePilbara News
Picture: Cally Dupe
Camera IconPicture: Cally Dupe

Plans are under way to realise the tourism potential of the northern end of Murujuga National Park and boost indigenous employment, but it could spell the end of a popular four-wheel-driving rite of passage.

Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation is in discussions about improving access to the top end of the Burrup Peninsula, with talks of a sealed road and cultural interpretation facility also mooted. The plan is in its early stages and needs to be discussed further with elders, according to the corporation.

After addressing a crowd of 300 people at the New Pilbara Conference in relation to the plans, MAC general manager Nisha Keetels told the Pilbara News a lot of thought had gone into the concept.

“The area is culturally significant, the entire place is representative of the people of that country and that’s why we have to be tentative in our approach,” she said.

“There is also an infrastructure budget as part of the Murujuga Parks Council that we are waiting to be made available that will help with the walkways and to direct people to where they can and can’t go.

“(Our plan is) to disturb as little as possible, that could mean elevated walkways.”

Ms Keetels said MAC had “a lot of committed funds already” and there was “some estimated government funding, not confirmed”.

The News understands there have been discussions about closing the jump up, a 50-metre hill climb infamous among local four-wheel-drivers.

Former MAC chief executive Ron Critchley had been adamant the jump up would not close during his tenure, while Red Dog 4wd Club president Mark Hannon said it was disappointing to hear it may be closed.

“I believe the tourist point of view will be great but the closure for four-wheel-drive access is a sore point as we as a club use it a fair bit in training,” he said.

”The location at the moment can only be accessed by four-wheel-drive and impact on the place is very low.

”If you overpopulate the area with weekend warriors and tourists it will have a big impact on the area.”

City of Karratha Mayor Peter Long said the City was keen to supportthe development of a detailed study to determine the feasibility of potential access options.

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