New upgrades enhance tourism offerings


An Aboriginal-owned motel has literally brought luxury to the outback.

The Safari Lodge Motel in Tennant Creek has refurbished all of its 18 rooms and reception.

It has also installed reverse-cycle air conditioning and a new hot water system.

Landscaped gardens have been created and the car park re-concreted and fenced, making it fully secure.

“The Barkly hasn’t had anything like this for a long time,” says motel manager Leah Johnstone.

“We wanted to show faith in the region’s future by bringing a bit of luxury to the outback.”

The motel, which was bought by the Manungurra Development Corporation in 2018, used two Northern Territory (NT) Government grant programs to help pay for the major upgrade - the Aboriginal Business Development Program and Smarter Business Solutions.

Both are delivered by the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade.

Ms Johnstone says applying for the government support was an easy process with efficient help from grant officers.

The motel wants to help drive regional economic development by providing high-quality accommodation for tourists, business people and government officials.

The Aboriginal Business Development Program helps Aboriginal people interested in starting or expanding an existing business.

Support is offered with:

  • business growth and sustainability
  • creating new enterprises
  • increasing the number of Aboriginal owned and operated businesses
  • increasing your knowledge and skills
  • creating new employment
  • developing new skills.

Recipients are given one-on-one support from a NT Government small business champion.

Smarter Business Solutions offers grants to businesses, Aboriginal enterprises and not-for-profit organisations to help reduce day-to-day energy, water, waste and material costs.

Support includes:

  • advice on efficient technologies and practices
  • a walk-through site survey to identify potential savings opportunities
  • grants to encourage and support cost savings or initiatives - up to 50% the cost for efficiency improvements up to $20,000; up to 20% for the installation of off-grid renewable energy systems up to $20,000; and up to 10% for the installation of on-grid renewable energy systems up to $10,000.
Leah and Matt Johnstone
Leah and Matt Johnstone: ... the motel was upgraded with help from Territory Government business support programs

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