Recent actions to disrupt the Kokoda Track Operations, specifically by Kokoda Adventures and the operational team, has irked and prompted a strong statement from the Hiri-Koiari MP to respect the mandated authority in place responsible for the management of this National Heritage Site.
“Any operator on the Kokoda Track needs to respect the Kokoda Track Authority, as it is the legally mandated authority that acts on behalf of the state, to promote and manage the track while also improving the quality of life of communities along the Track.”
He said failure to recognize the KTA is a failure to recognize the Papua New Guinea (PNG) Government and such actions will be dealt with firmly and legally.
“Industry operators must not dictate terms and use local groups to drive their agendas. Such actions disregard the interests and well-being of the communities, and we will not tolerate any behaviour that undermines the communities’ interests.”
He said the recent cause of action of creating blockades is unacceptable and demonstrates a lack of respect for the Kokoda communities and the trekking industry’s interests.
“PNG takes a strong stance against any form of disruption to the Kokoda Track and will not hesitate to take necessary legal action against any parties involved. Any Australian operator found guilty of inciting violence among local communities will be dealt with accordingly.”
He said that the KTA will continue to promote and manage the Kokoda Track for the benefit of all stakeholders, including the communities living along the track, the operators, and the tourists. Any anti-social behaviour will not change this.
“The KTA is committed to protecting the Kokoda Track’s cultural and historical heritage while ensuring its economic potential is realised. We encourage all Kokoda operators to continue to bring guests to the Kokoda and to enjoy the strong bonds we share between PNG and Australia.”