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Published on July 8th, 2009 | by john.weir

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Australia to stop tourists climbing Uluru

Australia today has announced plans to stop tourists climbing Uluru, the giant red rock sacred to Aborigines and formerly known as Ayers Rock, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

The move has come amid increasing fears that the tourists are causing both cultural and safety problems as there have been about 30 deaths among tourists making the arduous climb, and crticism from Aboriginal elders, who regard the site as sacred. Australian National Parks officials explained the move, saying that”For visitor safety, cultural, and environmental reasons the (national parks) director and the board will work towards closure of the climb.”

Regional officials immediately opposed the closure, arguing it would exacerbate Australia’s steady drop in tourism numbers.

“We have never supported the full closure of the climb at Uluru and that remains our position,” Northern Territory Tourism Minister Chris Burns told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Indigenous community spokesman Vince Forrester said Aborigines had wanted the climb banned -“You can’t go climb on top of the Vatican, you can’t go climb on top of the Buddhist temples and so on and so forth,”



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