THERE are big plans afoot in the largely Indigenous community of Ngukurr, located about 320 kilometres south east of Katherine, but they are almost exclusively dependent on government at both levels supporting significant improvements to the road which leads there. The Yugul Mangi Development Aboriginal Corporation, the body which represents a section of Indigenous peoples who live in Ngukurr, right to the Gulf of Carpentaria, is striding forward in pushing the tourism, mining and other industrial opportunities which exist for these South East Arnhem Land people. But as Yugul Mangi chief executive Bill Blackley has had bumper stickers made which proclaim, ‘It’s all happening in Ngukurr’, he adds that there is an infrastructural caveat upon which many future growth ideas ultimately hinge. “We have a series of tag-along tours beginning here and taking in Gulf country which are simply breath-taking and magical,” Mr Blackley said. “This is the Traditional Owners’ product, it is their initiative, and Yugul Mangi will support them in getting this running. “We have almost completed Stage One of our 13-room Darlala Motel here, with sewage and power connectivity still being finalised, and an official opening set for January. “We are developing a $1.5 million camp site at Munbililla, or Tomato Island, 5.5 kilometres upstream of Ngukurr, on the Roper River, to have provision of shower, ablutions blocks, power, a kiosk, fire pits and barbecues,” Mr Blackley said. “Then there is the proposed South East Arnhem Land Indigenous Protected Area around here which will require a complete land management program,” he said. “This will include areas designated for tourism, feral animal and weed control programs, controlled burning, fisheries patrols, all involving local rangers and guides,” Mr Blackley said. “We are looking at establishing a new rangers’ facility at Ngukurr, and making it a centre of land use management, which could mean thirty jobs right there,” he said. “Our board is very excited about developing mining in this area, and working with companies like Western Desert as we are now, to secure training and jobs for our young people,” Mr Blackley said. However, Mr Blackley points out that all this potential, and all these hopes and plans, especially those which revolve around tourism, must be facilitated by improvements to basic access to Ngukurr. The last 70 kilometres of the Roper Highway to Ngukurr is unsealed, and not only that, but terribly uneven, loose, fissured and crevassed with holes and cracks. And it is something which Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adam Giles says is firmly on his radar. “Road safety and roads maintenance across the Territory is a priority of the newly elected Country Liberals Government,” he said. “The Member for Arnhem, Larissa Lee, has already raised with me how quickly Ngukurr is progressing as an economic hub in her region.&nbsp; “She has raised how the infrastructure needs to also help support tourism and economic growth. In that regard I am scheduling a visit soon to Ngukurr,” the Minister said. “I will specifically be looking at issues relating to the Roper Highway and bridges out to Ngukurr to begin to identify what further infrastructure works can provide better access to the town and local community.&nbsp; “$300,000 is currently being spent on gravel re-sheeting of affected areas of the unsealed section of the Roper Highway, which is expected to be completed by the end of next month.&nbsp; “Another $300,000 has been spent for resealing work on the highway and ongoing maintenance for other sections of the highway will also be completed throughout the year,” Mr Giles said. “I have also recently written to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese pursuing the construction of two bridges over the Roper and Wilton rivers and strengthening and widening of the Roper Highway which was included as one of six roads announced as part of the $106m Regional Roads Productivity Package (RRPP) jointly funded by the Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government,” he said.