Management and protection strategies at Uluru
The Uluru–Kata Tjuta landscape will always be a significant place of knowledge and learning. All the plants, animals, rocks, and waterholes contain important information about life and living there. The natural and cultural features of this area, which have placed it on the World Heritage List, are protected. Its importance as a sacred place and a national symbol will be reflected in a high standard of management. This will be achieved through joint management of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park where Anangu and Piranpa will work together as equals, exchanging knowledge about their different cultural values and processes. Joint management brings together cultural and scientific knowledge and experience, different governance processes, and interweaves two law systems – Piranpa law and Tjukurpa. Working together means learning from each other, respecting each other’s cultures and finding innovative ways to bring together different ways of seeing and interpreting the landscape and its people.
There are a number of ways to experience the majesty of Uluru. Although it is possible to climb Uluru, the traditional owners do not because of its great spiritual significance, and in respect of their culture ask that others do not climb it either. At the base of the climb signs discourage people from climbing and explain that this is a site which is sacred to the local Anangu Aboriginal people. Demands to close the only climb in respect to the rock’s significance have been made many times. But Uluru is an icon of international value for Australia’s tourism industry. When yet another call for its closure was made in early 2010 the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, NT Chief Minister Paul Henderson and Environment Minister Peter Garett were compelled to call for Uluru to be kept open because “the future for this internationally significant icon lies in visitor experiences that reflect its World Heritage values.Most of the people who visit Uluru today choose not to climb. They choose not to climb for many reasons, including their own fitness, but most people tell us it is out of respect for Anangu.
Climate Change and Carbon Footprint
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park covers an area of 132,566 hectares, the park's landscape is dominated by the iconic massifs of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. These two geological features are striking examples of geological processes and erosion occurring over time. The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Climate Change Strategy 2012-2017 identifies the strategies that park managers and Anangu will need to implement to manage the consequences of climate change and reduce the carbon footprint of the park. This strategy is consistent with the policies and actions of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Management Plan 2010-2020 and the objectives pointed out in the Parks Australia Climate Change Strategic Overview 2009-2014. Climate change is a long term issue and this strategy is but an incremental 'first step' to what must be a far longer and enduring response. The strategy is an adaptive tool subject to ongoing review and management responses will be amended to take account of improvements in the understanding of the implications of climate change on the park.
Management and protection strategies involve drawing on the traditional practices and knowledge of land in relation to the seasons and how the Anangu would have used the land through the seasons of each year. They believe it is important to have a connection to sites of significance, maintaining those sites of significance, whether it be waterways or just country in general.
Many places in the park are of enormous spiritual and cultural importance to Nguraritja. The park also contains features such as Uluru and Kata Tjuta which have become major symbols of Australia.
Effectiveness of these Strategies
By combined the knowledge by from both Anangu Tjukurpa and Piranpa:
- keep Tjukurpa strong
- look after the health of country and community
- help Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park to become known as a place of learning, knowledge, and understanding about culture, country and custom
- ensure a strong future for Anangu in the management of the park and ensure Anangu benefit from the existence of the park
- protect World Heritage natural and cultural environments of the park in harmony with Australian social and economic aspirations
Tjukurpa guides the development and interpretation of park policy as set out in the Plan of Management. Plans of Management are developed in discussion with Anangu and a wide range of individuals and organisations associated with the park. Park Management programs are guided by Tjukurpa. The Park Manager is responsible to the Director and Board of Management for the overall management of the park. Anangu are consulted about all Park programs and employed as consultants, rangers and contractors and through the CLC joint management officer and the Mutitjulu Community liaison officer.
Staff in the park take part in day to day patrols, maintenance and operations. They carry out interpretation and education programs, design programs to care for the natural and cultural resources of the park, carry out land and cultural management projects, day to day administration as well as staff training.
- Anangu (Aboriginal people, especially from central Australia)
- Piranpa (non-Anangu)
Future of Uluru
Nguraritja and Parks Australia share the decision making for the management of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park. This plan will set out how this cultural landscape and iconic national park will be managed for the next 10 years. It embraces the challenges, builds on lessons learnt, and above all recognises the good will of the joint management to continue the journey together.
"We would like all visitors and people with an interest in this place to learn about this land from those who have its knowledge. We would like you to respect this knowledge, behave in a proper way, enjoy your visit, and return safely to your homes and families to share the knowledge you have gained." -Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management
'I think Aboriginal people and Parks Australia have been working together really well... the traditional owners and Parks Australia are experts the way we look after our great national park for all Aboriginal people and for the people of Australia and overseas visitors to come and see and enjoy.' - Yami Lester - Board Chairman 1986 - 1996