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Joint Media Release
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment snd Heritage
Federal Member for Flinders
Greg Hunt MP
&
Australian Flexible Learning Framework
Charles Darwin University

12 August 2005

Tour guide training goes online


Greg Hunt MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage said today that Kakadu and Uluru -Kata Tjuta National Parks will soon be offering web-based training for tour guides.

"I'm delighted that the 2005 Australian Flexible Learning Framework has awarded $50,000 to Parks Australia and Charles Darwin University to help them develop online courses," Mr Hunt said.

"The tourism industry and the Uluru and Kakadu Boards of Management have long called for flexible training. E learning provides an excellent way to meet this need and caters for the high turnover of guides who may not always be able to attend on-park training workshops.

"The flexible training course will become compulsory for all tour guides and will cover the following key areas of competency: visitor safety; accurate interpretation of the parks' natural and cultural values; minimising environmental impact; and compliance with permit conditions. In addition, traditional owners and park staff will continue to provide the on-park workshops two or three times a year. They will remain optional and provide further training for tour guides."

"E-learning provides an affordable and accessible solution to remote learning," said Charles Darwin University's Alicia Boyle, NT Network Coordinator of the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre.

"The tools available through online training include live discussions and other audio and visual tools - they can be very interactive. The tour guide training package will also be developed in CD-ROM and print-based formats.

Mr Hunt said the e-learning training package will be developed in close consultation with the tourism industry and traditional owners of Kakadu and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Parks. "Greater access to tour guide training, particularly on visitor safety, will also help to address calls for a certification system for tour guides in the Northern Territory," Mr Hunt said.

Jenny Dodd, Project Manager for the 2005 Framework's Industry Engagement Project said the Parks Australia / Charles Darwin University partnership is one of nine groups from around the country currently receiving funding from the 2005 Framework to develop e-learning business solutions for use in a wide range of industries.

"The online training forms part of the 2005 Framework's goal to support the uptake of e-learning within the vocational education and training (VET) system. We expect that this e-learning demonstration will have wider application to other park agencies and the tourism industry across Australia," she said.

It is expected that the online training will be available in 12 months. For more information on the e-learning Exemplar projects visit www.flexiblelearning.net.au/industry.

Media enquiries:
Fiona Murphy (Mr Hunt's Office) 0423 577 045
Peter Hurt (Charles Darwin University) 0438 466 439
Suzie Brodie (2005 Framework Media Liaison) 07 3235 4017

Commonwealth of Australia