• Kakadu NP. Tourism NT.
    Kakadu NP. Tourism NT.
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There's political drama going on in Top End with a stoush between Kakadu traditional owners and Canberra-based Parks Australia which has escalated dramatically with calls to remove the bureaucrats in charge of Australia's six Commonwealth-run national parks.

Kakadu's board of management has pushed forward a unanimous no-confidence vote against the park's federal government managers, centring on director of national parks, James Findlay.

"The traditional owner board members have lost all faith, confidence and trust in the ability of the park manager, assistant secretary, and director of national parks to effectively manage Kakadu … in partnership with the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land," the board's resolution read.

The board's move comes after weeks of frustration from traditional owners and tourism operators about Parks Australia's staged reopening of Kakadu, which they said was poorly communicated and happened with little consultation.

The independent board contains 10 Aboriginal traditional owners representing different clan groups, along with five non-Indigenous representatives of the NT Government, tourism and environment sectors.

Dr Findlay is responsible for overseeing the management of the world heritage listed Kakadu and Uluru Kata Tjuta National Parks, as well other parks in various far-flung Australian territories.

He is ultimately accountable to the Federal Minister for Environment, Sussan Ley, who said she had "asked the director of National Parks to urgently prepare a report on the issues raised".

"I want to ensure that the issues are properly addressed and that we can continue to work collaboratively with the traditional owners in managing the park," Ms Ley said.

The no confidence motion marks the culmination of a long breakdown between stakeholders in the national park and bureaucrats from Parks Australia.

Northern Land Council CEO Marion Scrymgeour said it was appropriate Dr Findlay "fall on his sword".

"I think that Parks management, including the director of Parks, has dismissed the concerns of Aboriginal people," Ms Scrymgeour said.

Stay tuned.

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