Why you could soon be fined for photographing this stunning mountain – as tourists are banned from entering
- Management of Mt Warning near Byron Bay handed to small Aboriginal authority
- The group has banned the public from accessing the popular hiking spot
- Now even photos, drawings and paintings of the site could also be disallowed
Photographs of the stunning Mt Warning summit near Byron Bay could soon be banned under a new plan by the Aboriginal group which now controls the site.
NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet handed over management of Wollumbin National Park and Mt Warning to the small Wollumbin Consultative Group who promptly banned visitors to the once popular hiking spot.
The group made of Indigenous families and community organisations caused an uproar when they claimed allowing females, including those of Indigenous heritage, on the site would ruin its cultural significance.
As part of the Wollumbin Aboriginal Place Management Plan the traditional owners now want to ban using photos or images of the mountain for tourism, advertising or business purposes.
Australia’s iconic Mt Warning has been closed to visitors and even photos, drawings and painting of the peak could soon be disallowed
The is was the first place in Australia to see each sunrise, making it a popular hike
One person hoped other mountains or natural landmarks wouldn’t also be made inaccessible
This could even include drawings or paintings of the site – with a government department last week demanding a Herald Sun cartoonist take down his work that featured the similarly sacred Uluru, formerly Ayers Rock.
Parks Australia, which manages the nation’s national parks said images of Uluru were ‘commericialisation of Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property’.
The government department backed down on that occasion after lawyers were brought in but, with a similar claim being made for Mt Warning, it seems anyone using images of the mountains could increasingly be targeted.
North Coast Indigenous woman Stella Whielden, who is pursuing an international human rights case over the ban on women at Mt Warning, said while the structure of handover agreement was different to Uluru, there is no precedent for banning images of a natural landmark.
‘It appears to be a misuse/misinterpretation of cultural and intellectual copyright moral rights legislation, but again there is no basis for copyrighting a mountain’s image,’ she told Newscorp.
Even so much as a drawing of the mountain used for commercial purposes could lead to hefty fines
NSW One Nation leader Mark Latham said handing control of national park to a small Indigenous group who have not made a formal land rights claim was unnecessary.
‘Given the nature of the parks, it’s not clear what special Indigenous affinity or use they have.
‘They should be fully public assets available for open public use, without ridiculous restrictions like permission to use images.’
Local community groups are continuing to oppose the public ban, that is enforced with hefty fines, on visiting what is now known as the Wollumbin Aboriginal Place.
The next protest will be on January 14 in the nearby town of Murwillumbah.
The spot was once a very popular hiking destination for locals and international visitors
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