Tourists will be able to visit Australian landmark locations such as Uluru without paying for a park pass as part of the government’s coronavirus response.
Entry fees to Uluru-Kata Tjuta, Kakadu and Booderee National Parks will be waived from March 16 until the end of the year.
The decision is the first to be funded through a $1 billion kitty aimed at boosting tourism, as part of the government’s stimulus plan in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The usual cost for a three-day family pass for the parks is $65.
Tourism Minister Simon Birmingham is steering the fund and says it will be used to boost visitor numbers to areas hardest hit by the coronavirus.
“Tourism is the lifeblood of the communities in and surrounding these national parks, and it’s absolutely critical that we help to get people back visiting these areas that rely on tourism,” he said.
The federal government will continue supporting traditional owners, who receive a portion of park pass fees.
More than 820,000 visitors usually visit the three national parks each year.
The nations’ leaders are expected to discuss how best to use the money in the fund during the Council of Australian Governments meeting on Friday.