Australia to ban climbing on Uluru from 2019

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Uluru

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Uluru is a sacred site for Aboriginal Australians

Climbing on Australia’s iconic Uluru landmark will be banned from October 2019, local authorities have confirmed.

The board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park voted unanimously to end the climb over indigenous sensitivities.

The giant red monolith in the Northern Territory is a sacred site for Aboriginal Australians.

Traditional owners of the region have long asked visitors not to climb Uluru.

“It is an extremely important place, not a playground or theme park like Disneyland,” board chairman Sammy Wilson said on Wednesday.

“Closing the climb is not something to feel upset about but a cause for celebration. Let’s come together; let’s close it together.”

Only 16% visitors of visitors made the climb between 2011 to 2015, the board said. The journey has claimed at least 35 lives since the 1950s.

The World Heritage-listed monolith, formerly known as Ayers Rock, was handed back to its traditional owners in 1985. The ban will commence on 26 October, 2019 – the 34th anniversary of the handover.

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Tourism Central Australia said it supported the decision, pointing out that the public could still access much of the site respectfully.

However, not all have supported the idea of a ban in recent times.

Last year, Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles sparked debate when he described the suggestion as “ludicrous”.

“We should explore the idea of creating a climb with stringent safety conditions and rules enforcing spiritual respect,” Mr Giles, who is Aboriginal, said.

More than 250,000 people visit Uluru each year, according to the national park’s website.

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