Kokoda Track Sustainability
As some of you maybe aware, Our Spirit have been working very hard behind the scenes to help resolve the mining issues that threaten the sacred Kokoda Track.
On 11th April 2008, I attended a workshop (called by the Rudd Government in Canberra) and was given the opportunity to voice my concerns about the future of the Kokoda Track. In addition, I was selected, along with 7 other track operators and a PM’s envoy, to be part of a special committee to create a much needed “code of ethics” for all operators on the Kokoda Track.
After finishing the Kokoda Track with the NSW Police on 24th April, I met with the Hon. Peter Garrett at Bomana Cemetery and re-iterated my concerns for the Kokoda Track (some as a result of witnessing inappropriate and unacceptable behaviour during this trek). Having the previous day signed the “Just Understanding” agreement between Australian and Papua New Guinean governments; Mr Garrett was as motivated as I am to ensure this new “code of ethics” reflects the urgent need to address the integrity and sustainability of the Kokoda Track for future generations of locals and visitors alike. I’m also pleased to report that most of the concerns I raised at the workshop were addressed in the "Just Understanding” agreement.
It is comforting to know that the Australian Government and indeed Mr. Rudd himself has issued a directive insisting on maintaining the integrity of the Kokoda Track. We believe it is time for the Kokoda Track to be acknowledged as a historical pilgrimage (from both an Australian and PNG point of view) and as such its history must be accurately narrated by all trek operators. The people who undertake this remarkable journey have the right to hear the true history of the Kokoda Track as endorsed by each of the remaining battalions.
The “Just Understanding” agreement also outlines the restructuring of the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) which is essential in providing adequate and credible management of the Kokoda Track moving forward.
I commit to keeping you informed of the outcomes as these newly formed agreements take effect and look forward to being an honourable representative of the diggers who fought for our freedoms.
Written by Aidan Grimes, Founding Director of Our Spirit