Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia Pty Ltd

Connellan Airport Upgrades and Accommodation

Learn how Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia transformed Connellan Airport, boosting the Yulara region's economy, providing job opportunities, and ensuring continued emergency services for remote communities.

Investment Decision

May 2018

Sector

Social Infrastructure

Location

Yulara, NT

Voyages Indigenous Tourism Aerial View Of Resurfaced Connelan Airport Front Yulara on Connelan Airport upgrades and Accommodation

LOAN DETAILS

NAIF Loan Amount up to

$27.5m

Total Project Value

$27.5m

Length of Loan

20 years

PUBLIC BENEFIT

$370m

Forecast Jobs

400

Project Status

Operational

Connellan Airport is the gateway to the World Heritage Listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the Central Australian outback. With NAIF’s backing, Voyages Indigenous Tourism was able to upgrade the airport and enable the continued safe provision of emergency services and flights for remote communities in the region.

About Voyages Indigenous Tourism

Voyages Indigenous Tourism manages the Ayers Rock Resort, which is located 10 minutes from Connellan Airport.

Offering immersive experiences in Uluru, Voyages gives guests unique and memorable getaways unlike anything else in Australia.

Project Overview

The project involved the upgrade and resurfacing of the 2,600 m airport runway, taxiway and apron, as well as the improvement of runway lighting. 

Construction was completed in December 2019 and included the building of permanent accommodation to support workers during the runway upgrade and future refurbishment projects.

The construction work was led by the principal contractor Downer EDI Works. The runway lighting was completed by specialist aircraft lighting contractor Airside Technical.

How We Helped

NAIF supported Voyages by providing finance for a number of improvements at the Connellan Airport. The loan helped extend the useful life of the runway, securing the economic future of the area.

Public Impact

The project is a key economic enabler for the Yulara region, particularly tourism to the world-heritage Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, and has provided significant Indigenous training opportunities. 

It has also allowed the continued availability of emergency services and flights for remote communities in the region.

Australian Industry Participation (AIP)

Australian Industry Participation (AIP) requirements ensure full, fair and reasonable opportunity for Australian industry to compete for work. This includes work in major public and private projects in Australia, and procurements or projects receiving Australian Government funding of $20 million or more.

NAIF projects must comply with the Australian Government’s AIP policy.

The AIP Plan developed by Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia is available here.

Related Links

Indigenous Engagement

Traditional owners of this land

  • The Pitjantjatjara people

The Pitjantjatjara people are the Traditional Owners of the land on which Ayers Rock Resort and Connellan Airport are located. The Pitjantjatjara people refer to themselves as Anangu (people), and have inhabited their lands for around 10,000 years.

Their lands cover a portion of Central Australia, centred around the borders of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, and include the communities of Yulara and Mutitjulu. They are the custodians of one of Australia’s most famous natural landmarks, Uluru.

Indigenous Engagement Strategy Commitments

Voyages’ IES includes commitments in key areas such participation, employment, procurement and community development.  

Key participation commitments include creating opportunities for long term employment through the establishment of the Real Jobs Program, and long-term job retention through the existing Wellbeing program. Voyages have also committed to a 3% Indigenous Procurement target. 

Voyages is also committed to supporting opportunities for further education and training through initiatives such as the Education Pathways Program and the National Indigenous Training Academy. 

Key community development commitments include building community engagement and relationships through the establishment of the Anangu Advisory Group, and the Anangu Communities Foundation

Indigenous Engagement Strategy Outcomes

As of March 2023, key outcomes delivered from Voyages’ IES include achieving 5.4% Indigenous Procurement, exceeding the 3% target outlined in the IES.  

A total of 193 Indigenous people (representing 27% Indigenous employment) working on site at Ayres Rock Resort, including 14 people who were employed through the Anangu Real Jobs Program, and 43 trainees and apprentices were enrolled in programs through the National Indigenous Training Academy.  

Voyages appointed two new senior Anangu leaders to the Voyages business which means 43% of team members within the Indigenous Engagement team are Anangu, including the two senior management positions. This is a first for the VITA and the highest level of Anangu employment achieved by VITA to date.

Voyages have also supported community initiatives such as the Anangu Media and “Songlines” Exhibition, which was done in partnership with Maruku Arts.  

Voyages worked in partnership with the Mutujulu Aboriginal Corporation to construct new shade shelters in the Mutujulu community.  

Voyages have also worked in partnership with the National Parks Conservation Trust to help support the Keeping Anangu Law and Culture Strong at Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park program.