Northern Territory’s $446 Million Plan to Save Township


A strategic half-billion dollar masterplan for the town of Jabiru will transform the region from a battered mining town into a cultural and tourism hub as the town returns to Aboriginal ownership.

The project was developed in collaboration with the Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation on behalf of some of the traditional owners the Mirarr People, in a plan that will see the introduction of urban infrastructure as part of a broader $446 million masterplan.

Architects Stafford Strategy, NAAU and Enlocus are the design team behind the Jabiru vision, which sits 253 kilometres east of Darwin, and is located in northern Australia’s World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.

The vision is to create a vibrant future for the Jabiru community based on socially sustainable tourism in Kakadu’s internationally recognised environmental and cultural heritage.

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The cost of redeveloping Jabiru is estimated at $446m, including $256.3m in publicly funded projects.
The cost of redeveloping Jabiru is estimated at $446m, including $256.3m in publicly funded projects.

Established in 1982 as a mining town, Jabiru is owned by Energy Resources Australia.

The Ranger Uranium Mine is scheduled to close in 2021, with the mine site and township transitioning back to traditional ownership.

The town, home to a resident population of 1100, had been scheduled for demolition come 2021.

The tourism model aims to transition the region from its mining past to a sustainable future for the local community through its master plan which includes reorienting access to the town to arrive at a World Heritage Centre, the inclusion of a five star hotel, and glamping options for incoming tourism.

Crocodiles will be removed from the Jabiru lake to offer year-round swimming, along with a suite of exclusive accommodation options are proposed along the lake frontage.

New community infrastructure, including a Bininj (Traditional Owner) Resource Centre and housing strategy is proposed within the plan and is expected to benefit from the incoming tourism infrastructure.

“These new buildings are designed around incremental layers of enclosures,” Naau director Ben Milbourne said.

“This is a sensitive respect for local building tradition and the way that traditional owners occupy buildings within the community.”

The region’s heritage includes the oldest known record of human settlement in Australia, revealing that Aboriginal people have been in continuous occupation of the Kakadu region for more than 50,000 years.

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