Australian government insults Aboriginal people with rejection of Uluru climing ban

Lindsay Murdoch

The Age

The Rudd Government has rejected a move to ban the climbing of Uluru.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett says he expects the climb to remain open for a number of years.

Many of 176 submissions the Government received about the rock, including from the area’s Aboriginal traditional owners, argued that climbing should be banned.

Tour operators revealed last year that tourists had been defecating on the rock for years.

In a statement, Mr Garrett said the Government had approved a new management plan for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which included a requirement that clear preconditions be met before the climb was closed.

These include that the climb is no longer a major reason for visiting the park.

Mr Garrett told radio 3AW the number of tourists who climbed the rock needed to drop from 38 per cent to less than 20 per cent before the ban was put in place.

‘‘What we want to do here is really take the opportunity to deepen the tourism experience out at the rock,’’ he said.

Mr Garrett said he expected the process to take up to four years.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has said publicly the rock should not be closed to climbers.

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