Morpeth Commons

Agreement puts Dungog mountain biking on tourism track

A historic agreement between the NSW Government and Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council, has secured Dungog’s future as a national mountain biking destination.

The Upper Hunter is on the rise to become Australia's tourism hotspot, says Deputy Premier John Barilaro, as Dungog's mountain biking network continues to grow. Since developing the Dungog Commons into a mountain biking destination, tourism for the shire has increased dramatically as it becomes recognised as a world-class biking destination.

The newly announced agreement between NSW Government and Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council will allow further growth to the Dungog tracks, and will be accompanied by a $650,000 investment from the NSW Government to be spent on initiatives across Dungog Common, including new mountain bike tracks.

“The silver lining of COVID has been an increase in domestic tourism and riders come from all over the State to ride the Dungog tracks. As a result, business is booming, with eight new businesses, including two new bike shops, now open,” Mr Barilaro said.

“This investment will protect Aboriginal culture and heritage while allowing Ride Dungog to add more tracks, maintain and repair existing trails and provide training workshops for young people wanting to get involved in this great sport.”

This funding comes off the back of a strong local campaign, which saw more than $70,000 raised to put towards the Ride Dungog initiative. The mountain biking project for Dungog Commons has seen support across communities, council, state government, and now the Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council.

Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council Chairperson Michelle Perry said the agreement is delivering an opportunity for the Karuah community to both protect the culture and heritage of the area, and also be part of the exciting future of the Dungog Common.

“Our community is overjoyed with this outcome. The partnership returns the Crown land on which Dungog Common is located to our people while guaranteeing continued community use and access, delivering joint social, economic and tourism benefits for the region.”

Ride Dungog President Chloe Chick said the partnership with Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council will deliver the certainty needed to grow Dungog into an even more impressive drawcard for mountain biking enthusiasts.

“Working together we’ll be able to achieve community driven social, economic and environmental outcomes for our region, especially for our young people, through mountain biking,” Ms Chick said.

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