Traditional owners shut down calls to reopen Uluru for climbing

Traditional owners have poured cold water on a call to reopen Uluru for climbing as a way to reignite the tourism sector in the Northern Territory.

Dave Batic, chairman of Alice Springs Major Business Group and general manager of Alice Springs airport, has called for a “bold” plan to bring visitors back when borders reopen.

Batic proposed opening the climb for two-to-three years, in partnership with the traditional owners.

“The concept there is that the traditional owners would provide tours for paying climbers and have a safety harness system in place just like the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” he said.

“I guess it would be a grand opening or reopening of the Northern Territory.

“There’s three iconic destinations in Australia that we talk about: The reef, the rock and the Sydney Opera House. The rock is actually going to be our saviour from a tourism perspective.”

But Sammy Wilson, a member of the Uluru Kata-Tjuta Board of Management, flaty rejected the idea, saying the “word is no”.

“Enough is enough,” he said. “We don’t want to open a can of worms or put more logs on the fire.”

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is currently closed until June 18 when the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act is due to expire.