The CLC and the Pitjantjatjara Council are extremely concerned that the enlightened gesture of the Commonwealth Government in granting Aboriginal people title to Uluru National Park has already been distorted by the NT Chief Minister Mr Everingham for perceived political advantage.
Before the facts are further muddied in the NT election campaign it is essential that the position of the traditional Aboriginal owners is clearly stated.
- The Aboriginal people have always recognised the legitimate tourist interest in the national park.
- They have always supported the concepts of leasing back the park to the Commonwealth.
- They have consistently asserted that the park will always be available for the benefit of all Australians.
- They have always supported a joint management scheme in which Aboriginal, conservationist and tourist interests would be represented.
- They have no intention of unreasonably limiting access to Uluru National Park.
- Basically for the visiting tourist it will be business as usual.
- Any rare and limited restrictions necessary for ceremonial purposes are likely to be confined to those sites already registered as sacred by the NT Government' s own Sacred Sites Authority (and already subject to restrictions).
- Such ceremonies should be respected as a vital part of traditional Aboriginal life.
- The Aboriginal traditional owners believe that Aboriginal ownership and involvement in Uluru substantially enhances the commercial tourist potential of the park.
- The Yulara project will not be affected by Aboriginal ownership of Uluru. The Aboriginal people have expressed no interest in seeking to operate motels within the national park.
- Indeed, Aboriginal traditional owners welcome the Yulara project in that it locates tourists away from their local Mutitjulu community and thereby reduces the impact of thousands of tourists a year on their way of life.
The Hawke initiative is an excellent measure which recognises the long standing spiritual attachment of the Aboriginal people to this area whilst preserving the interests of tourists and conservationists in the park.