The Morrison Government will turbo-charge Australia’s Indigenous tourism sector with the establishment of a new $40 million fund to encourage the development of new and expanding Indigenous owned and operated tourism enterprises.

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said the Fund would build on the huge potential of Indigenous tourism across Australia and drive opportunities to grow Indigenous businesses and employ more Indigenous Australians.

“We want to support Indigenous Australians to take full advantage of the increasing demand for Indigenous tourism experiences,” Minister Birmingham said.

“International visitors are increasingly looking for personalised, unique and authentic holiday experiences and nothing could be more unique than Australia’s natural wonders and the oldest continuous living culture in the world.

“Over the last five years we’ve seen the number of international tourists participating in Indigenous experiences increase by more than 40 per cent and there is huge potential to grow this further.

“When tourists visit Kakadu, Uluru or the Kimberley, it should be local Indigenous people who are operating local tourism businesses and sharing Australia’s rich Indigenous history and culture.

“That’s why this fund will help new or expanding Indigenous businesses purchase capital assets like a vehicle, boat or accommodation facility that we know are often the barrier for new Indigenous entrepreneurs.”

“As part of our $50 million tourism icons program, we’re also supporting local Indigenous communities by funding initiatives to preserve and showcase the rich local Indigenous history and culture at places such as Rottnest Island and Tasmania’s Freycinet National Park.

Minister for Indigenous Affairs Nigel Scullion said the Coalition Government has overseen an exponential growth in the number of new Indigenous businesses and has been the best friend Indigenous businesses and entrepreneurs had ever had.

"Indigenous tourism operators now have even more reasons to be confident about their future with the establishment of this new dedicated fund today,” Minister Scullion said.

"Over the last five years of our government, we’ve seen the number of international tourists participating in an Indigenous experience increase by more than 40 per cent, but we want to see that number grow even further.

"Higher visitor numbers have also driven higher spending, with expenditure up by 8 per cent each year on average since 2013, delivering more income, more jobs and more prosperity to Indigenous tourism businesses and to remote communities around the nation.

The $40 million fund will seize on this potential in the Indigenous tourism sector and drive the growth of new or expanding Indigenous tourism enterprises.

A re-elected Morrison Government would allocate $10 million a year of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) to the Fund and will build on the success of the Indigenous Entrepreneurs Fund and complements Tourism Australia’s Discover Aboriginal Experiences Program.

It’s expected the Fund will prioritise start-ups and new ventures in regional and remote areas, but will also be available for established businesses. It will also support tourism planning work with Indigenous communities and entrepreneurs interested in pursuing tourism opportunities.

The delivery of the Fund will include extensive consultation with Indigenous stakeholders, including the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council.