After the climb: how new tourism opportunities can empower the traditional owners of Uluru



The Anangu community of Mutitjulu stands in stark contrast to the sleek tourism infrastructure in the neighbouring town of Yulara.
Lukas Coch/AAP

Barry Judd, Charles Darwin University; Amanda Kearney, Flinders University; Chris Hallinan; Christine Schlesinger, Charles Darwin University; Joseph M. Cheer, Wakayama University, and Keir James Reeves, Federation University Australia

Last weekend marked 34 years since the land title to Uluru was handed back to the local Yankunytjatjara-Pitjantjatjara peoples. It was also when joint management of the Uluru-Katja-Tjuta National Park began between the traditional owners (Anangu people) and Parks Australia.

The arrangement recognised Anangu title to the land and ensured the direct involvement of Anangu in the development of tourism in the area.

The agreement also coincided with the relocation of tourism facilities from the southeast base of Uluru to the purpose-built resort town of Yulara. The old hotels and other tourist sites were discarded and became the base for the Anangu community of Mutitjulu.

However, if joint management aimed to deliver improved economic and social outcomes for Anangu residents, it has proven to be a spectacular failure.




Read more:
Closing Uluru to climbers is better for tourism in the long run


Today, Yulara and Mutitjulu stand in stark contrast. Yulara is filled with cashed-up, bucket-list travellers from all over the world, while Mutitjulu is an outpost of lingering disadvantage where overcrowding, underemployment, poverty, high rates of suicide and preventable diseases remain pervasive problems.

Mutitjulu was also the epicentre of the controversial Northern Territory National Emergency Response in 2007, commonly referred to as the intervention, when the federal government took control over more than 70 Indigenous communities in response to allegations of child sexual abuse.

Over a decade later, the intervention has done little to close the gap in these communities.

Mutitjulu is emblematic of what academic Jon Altman refers to as the persistent need to reestablish trust between Indigenous Australians and the institutions that for so long failed to ensure their basic human rights were protected.

An end to climbing brings new opportunities

The end of climbing at Uluru provides an opportunity to reset the relationship between the traditional owners and the tourism sector, and look for new ways for Anangu to be integrated into the industry.

Central to this is how the Anangu can meaningfully develop their cultural assets within the park to ensure the long-term benefit of their people, particularly through direct employment.




Read more:
Why we are banning tourists from climbing Uluru


There would appear to be ample opportunities for the people in Mutitjulu to take advantage of the 1,000-plus tourism jobs in Yulara, which are currently staffed largely by Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from outside the community.

The closure of Uluru to climbing also necessitates the development of alternate visitor experiences, particularly more educational and immersive experiences that would entail learning from and interacting respectfully with traditional owners.

The decision to end climbing at Uluru has been a cause for celebration by Indigenous communities.
Lukas Coch/AAP

Obstacles to developing an Indigenous tourism economy

Yet, structural impediments prevent this from becoming a reality at Uluru, as well as other remote parts of Australia.

These obstacles include a lack of education and training options specific to Indigenous needs to help them set up and run their own businesses. Another issue is that land rights and native title claims have tended to benefit a few legally recognised landowners and haven’t been conducive to whole-of-community development.

Both the Anangu and key tourism stakeholders in central Australia, including Voyages Indigenous Tourism and Tourism NT, are keenly aware of the need to reform the local tourism industry.




Read more:
How Indigenous tourism can help bring about reconciliation in Australia


Enabling greater access to commercial bank loans is critical to Indigenous business development, as is collaborative planning between Indigenous groups and the government. Likewise, scientific and traditional Indigenous knowledge could be combined in new ways to drive tourism growth in areas like land and wildlife management.

The Anangu must also be empowered to start micro-enterprises grounded in Knowledge of Country that would strengthen their community, culture and language. One example of this is the Indigenous Ranger and Protected Area program, which involves Indigenous rangers managing their own lands based on traditional cultural practice.




Read more:
Indigenous rangers don’t receive the funding they deserve – here’s why


Another approach that has shown promise is embracing Indigenous knowledge systems as part of the tourist educational experience. This is gaining currency in the NT as remote community arts centres seek to become visitor destinations in their own right.

These approaches to bottom-up initiatives have the greatest potential for growth and long-term empowerment in Uluru.

A model for other Indigenous communities

A major tourism rethink also requires addressing the structural impediments that prevent Indigenous peoples from starting businesses.

For example, new incentives could be built into the Australian tax code for those who invest in businesses on Aboriginal-owned land. However, such measures will only succeed if they are supported by bespoke educational and training programs for Anangu wanting to work in tourism.

The closure of Uluru to climbing should not simply focus on the limits the Anangu have imposed on visitors, but rather on the new possibilities this presents to leverage tourism for a more sustainable and resilient future.

This could also provide a model for traditional owners elsewhere who want to reclaim decision-making authority over tourism and other cultural activities on their lands.

And it signals to the broader Australian public that a greater respect for the rights of Indigenous people might just be the catalyst that helps drive a brighter Indigenous future.The Conversation

Barry Judd, Professor, Indigenous Social Research, Charles Darwin University; Amanda Kearney, Matthew Flinders Fellow, Professor of Australian and Indigenous Studies, Flinders University; Chris Hallinan, Research Associate; Christine Schlesinger, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Science and Ecology, Charles Darwin University; Joseph M. Cheer, Professor in Sustainable Tourism, Wakayama University, and Keir James Reeves, Professor of History, Federation University Australia

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Australia: Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park – Uluru Climb Closed


Dolphin-Eating Sharks Close Australian Beaches for 7 Days Straight


TIME

Two great white sharks have been spotted in the waters of Newcastle, Australia, prompting officials to shut down the beaches for seven consecutive days.

The sharks, one estimated around three meters long, the other five meters, have been spotted chasing, attacking and feeding on dolphins, whose carcasses now float in the water and wash up on shore.

Newcastle City Council announced that it is “not safe for anyone to be in the water,” and will not re-open the beaches again until at least 24 hours have passed since the last sighting.

[The Sydney Morning Herald]

Read next: Marine Biologists Capture Rare Photo of a Shark Birth

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Media Release: Myall Coast Beaches Closed to 4WDs


The link below is to a media release concerning the closure of Myall Coast beaches to vehicles due to weather conditions.

For more visit:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/OEHmedia1306201300.htm

Media Release: Wollumbin National Park


The link below is to a media release concerning the summit track at Wollumbin National Park, which was closed following extensive damage by ex-tropical cyclone Oswald in January 2013.

For more visit:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/OEHmedia13053002.htm

Gap Creek Falls


Kevin's Daily Photo, Video, Quote or Link

I thought I would go to Gap Creek Falls today, which is about 1.5 hours drive from where I live, in the Watagan Mountains. So you can imagine my disappointment when about 5 km from the falls at most I came across this.

Road Closed

I couldn’t believe it. So, I had to do other things which I’ll post about over the next day or so.

So what had I intended to visit and walk to? The picture below is Gap Creek Falls. My favourite place in the region and one of my favourite places in New South Wales.

Gap Creek Falls

ABOVE: Gap Creek Falls Barely Flowing BELOW: Palms at Gap Creek

Palms at Gap Creek Falls

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Australia: New South Wales


Tracks Reopen in Time for Easter

Two tracks will reopen in New South Wales, just in time for the Easter break.

The Giant Stairway walking track at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains National Park will soon be reopened following repairs to the track. A landslide on the 17th February closed the track and over 50 metres of handrails and barriers were replaced.

For more, visit:
http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/media/DecMedia12040202.htm

 

The Cumberland State Forest trail in the Cumberland State Forest at West Pennant Hills has now reopened. The trail was closed for the Bunya Pine fruiting season, as very large falling cones were considered very dangerous to walkers.

For more, visit:
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/news/recent-news/forests/state-forest-trail-reopens