Where do your park permit fees go?

Where do your park permit fees go?

Written by: Cameron Ward

Published: 05/15/2020

Reading time: 3 mins

To enter the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park you must first obtain a permit.

If travelling as part of a tour group, you might not have even realised you required a permit because your tour operator will organise it for you. Whether you get your permit or someone else sorts it out for you, a common question is where does the permit money go?

Parks Australia is incredibly transparent with the use of permit earnings. 25% of total earnings go to the Anangu, the traditional landowners, as lease payments for the use of the park. 15% goes towards rangers and cultural activities. 20% is devoted to natural and cultural preservation such as protection of rock art, oral histories, and biodiversity management. The final 40% is put towards operations such as incident response, site preparations, and mentoring or training opportunities.

While it can sometimes feel like a burden to have to pay to enter national parks, when you see it all laid out like that it makes it easier to understand where the charges go. There’s one particularly interesting use of permit money here and it is the lease payments to the Anangu.

Anangu own this land, it is rightfully theirs and they have acted kindly to allow visitors from across the world come to it. There are many ways they use this money to support their community.
You see, the Anangu live across so much more land than just that of where Uluru sits. Their lands are far and wide around this place, and their financial savvy has seen them stretch their earnings in ingenious ways.

One of the most successful community projects they have funded with their lease payments is a public swimming pool in a township on the “other” side of Uluru. Opened in 2013, the pool has been a haven for locals to escape the heat. In a community of just 350 people, the pool has well over 6,500 visits each year. But the pool is so much more than just a fun place to splash about. It has directly improved health, been attributed to an increase in school attendances and even provided an accessible activity for mobility-impaired and older community members.

However, there are many other great projects the lease pays form. From school camps and community amenities to support projects to protect culture and history, the money from park permits are supporting isolated communities every day.

Park permits are an incredibly important source of income to local communities. Park permits provide finances to make important infrastructure improvements and protect and honour centuries-old culture to ensure the Anangu maintain their history for generations to come.

So, when you book your Uluru tour you can rest assured that your park permit is directly supporting Anangu people and culture. Uluru is an incredibly culturally significant place and it is nice to know that your visit will help to protect this land for years to come.

Related article: The Art and Culture of the Anangu People

Cameron Ward
Cameron Ward
Managing Director at Sightseeing Tours Australia

Cameron Ward turned his travel passion into a thriving Australian tourism business. Before he co-founded his own business, Sightseeing Tours Australia, he was enjoying being a Melbourne tour guide. Even now, Cameron delights in helping visitors from all around the world get the most out of their incredible Australian trip. You’ll see Cameron leading tours or writing about his favourite Australian places where he shares his local insights.