Traditional owners ban Uluru climb


From 2019 visitors to Uluru won't be allowed to climb the sacred rock, traditional owners have decided.

Uluru is not a theme park and a ban on climbing the sacred rock is righting an historic wrong that is long overdue, indigenous leaders say.

Visitors will be barred from climbing Uluru from October 2019 following a decision by its traditional owners.

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Board imposed the restriction on Wednesday because of Uluru's cultural significance.

The Central Land Council said the board was to be congratulated for its move and said "nobody will miss the climb".

"This decision has been a very long time coming and our thoughts are with the elders who have longed for this day but are no longer with us to celebrate it," land council director David Ross said.

"The CLC congratulates the board on righting an historic wrong."

Council executive member and park chairman Sammy Wilson said the board had been considering a ban for some time.

"It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland. We want you to come, hear us and learn," Mr Wilson said.

"Over the years (traditional owners) Anangu have felt a sense of intimidation as if someone is holding a gun to our heads to keep it open.

"Please don't hold us to ransom. This decision is for both Anangu and non-Anangu to feel proud about."

The ban will be imposed under the terms of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Management Plan.

The plan includes a provision to stop visitors scaling the rock if the proportion who chose to make the trek fell below 20 per cent.

Figures from Parks Australia indicated only 16 per cent of visitors to the park made the climb between 2011 and 2015, down from about 74 per cent in the 1990s.

Federal Indigenous Affairs minister Nigel Scullion said he was comfortable with any decision by the traditional landowners and was not worried about losing tourism in the area.

"They are very thoughtful about these matters and know a great deal about the economics around the rock," he told Sky News.

"They are very focused on ensuring this cultural decision is a good decision for them culturally and the impact on employment."

Uluru has around 300,000 visitors each year with Australian tourists the most likely to climb the rock followed by the Japanese, according to the park's figures.

The last day of climbing will be October 26, 2019.

Source AAP

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