Tourists take in the awe-inspiring scene of Uluru at sunset at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
. Picture: AAP
Tourists take in the awe-inspiring scene of Uluru at sunset at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park . Picture: AAP

Treating Uluru as a toilet ‘contributed’ to climb ban

DISRESPECT shown by people defecating and urinating on top of Uluru contributed to the decision to close the rock climb, the chief executive of the Central Land Council says.

Joe Martin-Jard told Sky News cultural and spiritual factors were not the only reason traditional owners had decided to close the climb.

"They've wanted to see it closed for a very long time, for spiritual reasons, for cultural reasons, but if you speak to them they'll also tell you that it's for safety reasons, they've had to take down bodies off the rock, people have fallen off the rock and it really hurts them when they see visitors being hurt," he said.

"They're a bit disappointed with people going to the toilet once they're up there and leaving things like children's kimbies (nappies) behind, and when we have the rare event of rain that pee and crap flows down the rock into very fragile water holes and rock holes that animals drink from."

Debate has raged across the country about the decision to close the rock climb, with tourists flocking to Uluru in record numbers ahead of the official closure on October 26.

"We need to remember that when we hear things like the rock belongs to all Australians it's not actually true, if you look at the underlying tenure it's actually owned by Anangu people and they've generously allowed people to go there for decades and I think you've got to respect them now," Mr Martin-Jard said.

Parks Australia say tourist numbers have increased about 30 per cent this year, but Mr Martin-Jard said he was confident people would continue to visit after the climb's closure.

"(The traditional owners) want people to keep visiting," he said. "As one person said to me, is that you can see more of the rock from the ground than from on top of it.

"We would be concerned if the numbers did drop but we don't think they will. What we're hearing from people who are intending to visit is that they're waiting until the climb is closed so they can get to enjoy being at Uluru without people crawling all over it."

WATCH Matt Cunningham's report on the closure of the climb at Uluru in the special episode of Paul Murray Live from Alice Springs. Thursday from 7:30pm on Sky News, Foxtel Ch 600.