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Tourist runs the gauntlet of Aboriginal protesters and ‘breaks into’ Uluru

Tourist runs the gauntlet of protesters to ‘break into’ Uluru – amid questions over how long the site will remain closed

  • The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is closed indefinitely due to the coronavirus 
  • Local Indigenous community members have blockaded the entrance to Uluru 
  • Traditional owners don’t want tourists in the park as they fear COVID-19 spread 
  • Jetstar flight with 42 visitors arrived in the region from Brisbane on Monday
  • A woman from the flight allegedly broke into the park and was caught by rangers

A tourist has been caught sneaking into the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park after it was closed indefinitely due to protests by Indigenous locals who wanted it shut to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Protesters blocked the park entrance on Monday morning after 42 passengers arrived on a Jetstar flight from Brisbane.  

NT Health officials said three of the passengers were from virus ‘hotspots’ – as declared by local officials – and were transported by bus to Alice Springs for the mandatory two-week quarantine. 

The Mutitjulu Aboriginal Community Corporation (MCAC) protested against letting anyone in and Parks Australia chose to indefinitely close the park from noon on Tuesday.

But a woman from the flight managed to sneak into Uluru when she bypassed an official entry point and was later found by rangers on Wednesday.

A tourist has allegedly been caught sneaking into the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park after it was closed indefinitely (stock)

Protesters blocked the park entrance on Monday morning after 42 passengers arrived at 10am on a Jetstar flight from Brisbane

Protesters blocked the park entrance on Monday morning after 42 passengers arrived at 10am on a Jetstar flight from Brisbane  

Sources within the park confirmed the allegation to the ABC.

‘They want to get in; they want to do whatever it takes to get in,’ MCAC chief executive Thalia Bohl-van den Boogaard said. 

While three of the 42 passengers were sent to quarantine in Alice Springs, the rest of the tourists were being flown back to Queensland on Thursday.

The decision to fly back was made before the alleged break-in was reported. 

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Northern Territory Police for comment.  

Parks Australia released a statement on Tuesday saying the national park was extending the closure indefinitely.

‘At the request of Mutitjulu Aboriginal Community Corporation (MCAC) and following further discussions with MCAC, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, the Central Land Council, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress and the Northern Territory Government, the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park will remain closed while re-opening protocols proposed by MCAC are considered,’ Parks Australia said. 

‘We have the utmost respect for Uluru-Kata Tjuta’s traditional owners and are continuing to work in good faith with them and all other parties to keep Mutitjulu residents safe.’ 

The Anangu are the owners of the land contained within the national park but lease it to Parks Australia.

Following the protest by the Mutitjulu Aboriginal Community Corporation (MCAC), Parks Australia chose to temporarily close the park until 12pm Tuesday

Following the protest by the Mutitjulu Aboriginal Community Corporation (MCAC), Parks Australia chose to temporarily close the park until 12pm Tuesday 

The organisation is now pushing for flights from coronavirus hotspots to Yulara, about 30 minutes from the park, to be cancelled, ABC reported.

This would also mean people from declared hotspots in the Northern Territory would not be allowed to fly to Yulara.  

Pictures from the entrance to the national park on Monday showed members of MCAC standing on the highway in protest with cars parked across the asphalt. 

‘We were told this flight would not be going ahead today after the NT declared Brisbane a COVID-19 hotspot on Friday,’ Mr Irvine said.

‘I watched most of the passengers enter Yulara this morning. This presents an egregious and totally unacceptable risk to the residents of Mutitjulu and the surrounding Lasseter region.’ 

An email from Parks Australia seen by the NT News revealed the organisation had previously refused to close the national park. 

Tourists are no longer allowed to climb Uluru but can still walk around the base of the rock

Tourists are no longer allowed to climb Uluru but can still walk around the base of the rock

The email stated Parks Australia’s position; that allowing tourists into Uluru would be safer for the local Aboriginal community because there would be less chance of transmission out in the open.

‘Closing the park now would result in visitors being confined in Yulara where the opportunity for contact with residents is much greater,’ the email reads.

Mr Irvine said traditional owners had been clear they did not want the visitors to enter the park and were left with no choice but to blockade the entrance after they were ignored.

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said he respects traditional owners views and said anyone arriving from a hotspot would need to go through mandatory quarantine.

Jetstar told Daily Mail Australia they are operating two flights between Brisbane and Uluru per week to deliver supplies and transport visitors.

The airline added it was following federal and state guidelines.

‘We advised all passengers including those from Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan areas they are subject to the travel restrictions that came into force on Saturday. Given these restrictions, we expect it will be largely outbound passengers and freight.’  

NT’S DECLARED HOTSPOTS 

 NEW SOUTH WALES  

Bayside Council

City of Blacktown

City of Blue Mountains

Municipality of Burwood

Camden Council

Campbelltown City

City of Canada Bay

City of Canterbury-Bankstown

Cumberland Council

City of Fairfield

Georges River Council

Hornsby Shire

Municipality of Hunter’s Hill

Inner West Council

Ku-ring-gai Council

Lane Cove Council

Liverpool City Council

Mosman Council

North Sydney Council

Northern Beaches Council

City of Parramatta

City of Penrith

City of Randwick

City of Ryde

Municipality of Strathfield

Sutherland Shire

City of Sydney

The Hills Shire

Municipality of Waverley

City of Willoughby

Municipality of Woollahra

Eurobodalla Shire

Port Stephens 

 

QUEENSLAND

City of Brisbane

City of Ispwich

Logan City

 

VICTORIA 

Alpine Shire

Ararat Rural City

Ballarat City

Banyule City

Bass Coast City

Baw Baw Shire

Bayside City

Benalla Rural City

Boroondara City

Brimbank City

Buloke Shire

Campaspe Shire

Cardinia Shire

Casey City

Central Goldfields Shire

Colac Otway Shire

Corangamite Shire

Darebin City

East Gippsland Shire

Falls Creek Alpine Resort

Frankston City

French – Elizabeth – Sandstone Islands

Gabo Islands

Gannawarra Shire 

VICTORIA (continued)  

Glen Eira City

Glenelg Shire 

Golden Plains Shire

Greater Bendigo City

Greater Dandenong City

Greater Geelong City

Greater Shepparton City

Hepburn Shire

Hindmarsh Shire

Hobsons Bay City

Horsham Rural City

Hume City

Indigo Shire

Kingston City

Knox City

Lake Mountain Alpine Resort

Latrobe City

Loddon Shire

Macedon Ranges Shire

Manningham City

Mansfield Shire

Maribynong City

Maroondah City

Melbourne City

Melton City

Mildura Rural City

Mitchell Shire

Moira Shire

Monash City

Moonee Valley City

Moorabool Shire

Moreland City

Mornington Peninsula Shire

Mount Alexander Shire

Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort

Mount Buller Alpine Resort

Mount Hotham Alpine Resort

Mount Stirling Alpine Resort

Moyne Shire

Murrindindi Shire

Nillumbik Shire

Northern Grampians Shire

Port Phillip City

Pyrenees Shire

Borough of Queenscliffe

South Gippsland Shire

South Gippsland Shire

Southern Grampians Shire

Stonnington City

Strathbogie Shire

Surf Coast Shire

Swan Hill Rural City

Towong Shire

Wangaratta Rural City

Warrnambool City

Wellington Shire

West Wimmera Shire

Whitehorse City

Whittlesea City

Wodonga City

Wyndham City

Yarra City

Yarra Ranges Shire

Yarriambiack Shire

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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