LAST year, the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) distributed K347,888 to the 14 ward development bank accounts as a combination of tourism services, track maintenance and Conservation Volunteers Australia payments.
“Unfortunately, many communities have complained to the KTA that the funds have not been distributed wisely throughout the communities,” KTA chairman James Enage said.
This year, KTA will only distribute further tourism services funding to ward development bank accounts where individual ward development committees submitted full
2009 acquittals to KTA that are accompanied by copies of the bank statements.
Mr Enage said: “These acquittals will be displayed in each village and endorsement will be required from the community.
“KTA is very happy to work with ward development committees to help in preparing their acquittals. They can do this by arranging to meet with our finance manager.
“Those who wish to discuss this arrangement further can approach the KTA operations manager who will be walking the track in February and myself in March.
“If acquittals are not received at the KTA office by March 26, then KTA will help any community that wishes to seek legal action against the ward development committee to gain accurate and complete acquittals.”
He said the tourism services funding was a major benefit to the Kokoda track communities and KTA was seeking to ensure the benefits flow directly to the communities.
“If the ward development committees proved to be ineffective, then alternative arrangements will be made to distribute future payments,” he said.