Parks Australia

Friday 30 September 2022


Statement from Director of National Parks, Jody Swirepik

I want to express my ongoing commitment to the protection of cultural sites in Kakadu National Park to preserve the natural and cultural heritage of the Park now and into the future. 

We have been working closely with Traditional Owners of Kakadu National Park to move forward together.

Following productive meetings with Traditional Owners from the Gunlom Land Trust and the Northern Land Council, designs for the realignment of a section of the Gunlom track have received approval and an Authority Certificate has been obtained from the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

Work is well underway. Part of the track has now been removed and work commenced this week on the new segment of track. Two Indigenous cultural advisors representing the Gunlom Land Trust are working with us at Gunlom to supervise the work. 

I take the concerns raised by Traditional Owners about the Gunlom matter very seriously and Parks Australia has taken steps to ensure Traditional Owners are properly consulted on infrastructure work in Kakadu. 

This court decision today was about constitutional issues and did not turn on the particular facts of the Gunlom walking track matter. Irrespective of the outcome of the court case, I will continue to work with all parties in the future to ensure that there is a robust framework for protecting sacred sites. 

I again express my regret that the Gunlom walking track works undertaken in 2019 caused distress to the Traditional Owners of the Gunlom region and other members of the community, and I want to thank them for working together in good faith since that time to resolve the issues at the site.