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Australia to ban climbing on Uluru from 2019

02 November 2017
Australia to ban climbing on Uluru from 2019

The traditional owners of Uluru will today decide whether or not to close the rock permanently to climbers.

The ban will come into effect on October 26, 2019, giving tour operators time to clear pre-booked visitors.

It made a decision to close the rock to climbers from October 26, 2019 - 34 years to the day since it was handed back to its traditional owners, the Anangu people, the Northern Territory News reports.

The board of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park voted unanimously to end the climb because of indigenous sensitivities, the BBC reported.

He said the Anangu people had felt intimidation over the years to keep the climb open because it was a top tourist attraction, but they wanted to close it because of its cultural significance.

Australian tourists are most likely to climb the rock followed by the Japanese, according to the park's figures. However, the park's board has been unable to vote on a formal ban until now due to an agreement that required the number of visitors making the climb to drop below 20 percent before a ban was considered.

Uluru's land title was handed back to its traditional owners in 1985, but was immediately leased to the Australian federal government to be jointly managed as a national park for 99 years.

The traditional landowners, the Anangu, refuse to climb Uluru considering it sacred and the site is often closed to climbers after the passing of important Indigenous figures as a mark of respect.

A sign at the base of Uluru urges visitors to reconsider climbing the sacred site, explaining it is not permitted under traditional law.

In addition to being incredibly disrespectful, climbing Uluru is often risky, and has led to a number of deaths over the years.

The iconic sandstone monolith, also known as Ayers Rock, will be placed off limits to climbers in 2018.