The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park board decided unanimously yesterday to ban Uluru climbs from 26 October 2019.
The board, made up of eight traditional owners and three representatives from National Parks, made the decision after consulting with the wider Anangu community. Senior traditional owner and chairman of the board, Sammy Wilson, who spoke at Uluru for the announcement, said it was time to observe Uluru’s cultural significance, noting that it was not a ‘theme park’.
“It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland.
“The Government needs to respect what we are saying about our culture in the same way it expects us to abide by its laws.
“After much discussion, we’ve decided it’s time.”
The date of 26 October 2019 was chosen to coincide with the 34h anniversary of the return of Uluru to its traditional owners.
“Whitefellas see the land in economic terms, where Anangu see it as tjukurpa [cultural law]. If the tjukurpa is gone, so is everything,” Wilson said. “We want to hold on to our culture – if we don’t it could disappear completely in another 50 or 100 years.”
World Expeditions’ Responsible Travel Manager, Donna Lawrence, said the company welcomed the unanimous decision.
“Ceasing climbing of Uluru aligns with our core responsible travel value of consulting with local communities about what’s best for the host community and educating travellers accordingly.
“World Expeditions has a long history of successful collaboration with local indigenous communities, including the Arrente people in Central Australia on the Larapinta Trail, which has allowed us to develop a world class walk through some of Australia’s remotest and most spectacular landscapes.”