By Mickey Kavera – EM TV News, Port Moresby
Locals based along the Kokoda Track have called on security to be made a priority along the trek.
They say security is a concern for not only tourists tackling the trek, but for locals as well.
In a meeting convened yesterday, the group reached an understanding to work with the relevant authorities to beef up security.
One of the resolutions following the meeting is for community leaders to take ownership of the law and problems in their respective communities.
“We have agreed to work with Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) and local associations to ensure safety along the trek,” the group said.
“We also want KTA to firm up its policies to safeguard the interests of the people and users of the trek.”
They also want to see KTA funded separately by the government to manage its own affairs. This is because the trekking fee of K350 per trekker is paid to KTA and part of it used for its administration costs.
“If the government can fund the operations of KTA, the people will see the fully benefit of the trekking fee, but as it stands there is hardly any development on the ground as the benefit of the trekking fee is not fully realised,” they said.
The sustainability of the trek is also crucial for the economy and livelihood of the people, and they are committed to restoring its good image.