This study was funded by the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism and Rio Tinto. The aim of the study was to investigate the opportunities for mining operations to support the development of Indigenous tourism ventures in remote and regional Australia.

Many Indigenous communities have cultural traditions and local heritage sites that are of interest to tourists. Especially when they are located close to national parks, World Heritage Areas and other pristine landscapes, these areas have considerable tourism potential.

While remote destinations and iconic natural and cultural landscapes are attractive to many visitors, a certain level of infrastructure is required to develop the tourism potential of these areas. Accommodation facilities, sewage and water services, transport corridors and vehicles (hard infrastructure) are basic requirements, as are people with the skills to run stores and motels, act as tour guides and maintain facilities (soft infrastructure).

One way to develop the tourism potential of northern Australia is for Indigenous communities and mining companies to collaborate in using 'soft' and 'hard' mine infrastructure to support tourism ventures. Developing synergies between Indigenous communities and mining companies can have a range of benefits, including:

" The development of sustainable regional industries that will continue beyond the life of the mines

" Opportunities for Indigenous people to develop skills, qualifications and business knowledge

" Increased tourist awareness of Indigenous culture and perspectives

" Greater investment in the management and protection of natural resources and environmental conservation.

" Practical demonstration of the commitment of mining companies to sustainable development in the communities and

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