Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park

M A N A G E M E N T   P L A N   2 0 1 0 - 2 0 2 0

 

 

 

Tjukurpa Katutja Ngarantja


© Director of National Parks 2010

ISBN: 978 0 9807460 0 6

This work is copyright. Apart from any use permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Director of National Parks. Requests and inquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to:

Director of National Parks
GPO Box 787
Canberra ACT 2601

Director of National Parks Australian business number: 13051 694 963

This management plan provides the general public and park users with information about how it is proposed the park will be managed for the next 10 years.

A copy of the plan is available online at environment.gov.au/parks/publications/index.html or by contacting the Community Information Unit, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, by emailing ciu@environment.gov.au or calling 1800 803 772.

Designer – Papercut

Editor – Elizabeth Hutchings Editing

Indexer – Barry Howarth

Artworks – © Malya Teamay and © Jennifer Taylor

Photographs – Michael Nelson

Maps – Environmental Resources Information Network

Printed by Goanna Print using vegetable based inks on paper manufactured by an ISO 14001 certified mill using 55% recycled fibre (25% post consumer and 30% pre consumer) and FSC Certified pulp, which ensures that all virgin pulp is derived from well-managed forests and controlled sources.

‘Tjukurpa of Uluru’ © Malya Teamay: The painting depicts the important stories of Uluru. Uluru is represented in the centre of the painting by concentric circles. The different shades of colour surrounding Uluru show the different land and vegetation, which is all Tjukurpa, crossed by these ancestral beings on their journeys to Uluru. The ancestral beings (Tjukuritja) represented in this painting are: Kuniya the Python Woman with her eggs; Liru, the poisonous snake; Kurpany, the doglike creature represented by the pawprints; and Mala the rufous hare-wallaby represented by the wallaby tracks. The footprints and spears represent the warriors of the Warmala revenge party.

The Uluru–Kata Tjuta landscape is and will always be a significant place of knowledge and learning. All the plants, animals, rocks, and waterholes contain important information about life and living here now and for all time.

Anangu grandparents and grandchildren will always gain their knowledge from this landscape. They will live in it in the proper way. This is Tjukurpa.

The special natural and cultural features of this area, which have placed it on the World Heritage List, will be 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 our different cultural values and processes and their application.

Together we will apply Anangu Tjukurpa and practice and relevant Piranpa knowledge to:

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

The Aboriginal traditional owners of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park (Nguraritja) have looked after, and in turn been looked after by, the land for over one thousand generations. Aboriginal use of the land over that time is reflected throughout the Uluru–Kata Tjuta landscape, which is recognised as a World Heritage area of outstanding universal value. 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.

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.

Nguraritja and Parks Australia share 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 partners to continue the journey together.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management

 

 

The Director of National Parks and the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management are grateful to the many individuals and organisations who contributed to this management plan. In particular they acknowledge Anangu, Parks Australia staff, the Central Land Council, and the Northern Territory and Australian Government agencies that provided information and assistance or submitted comments that contributed to the development of this management plan.

Board of Management Vision                                        i

Foreword                                                      ii

Acknowledgments                                               ii

A description of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park                    1

Introduction                                                     2

The values of the park                                             2

Cultural values                                                  2

Natural values                                                   11

History of the park                                                12

Establishment of the park                                          14

Joint management                                                14

National and international significance                                   15

Management Plan for Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park               19

Part 1  Introduction                                               20

1. Background                                                  20

 1.1 Previous management plans                                    20

 1.2 Structure of this management plan                                20

 1.3 Planning process                                            21

2. Introductory provisions                                         22

 2.1 Short title                                                 22

 2.2 Commencement and termination                                 22

 2.3 Interpretation (including acronyms)                               22

 2.4 Legislative context                                           25

 2.5 Purpose, content and matters to be taken into account in a management plan   29

 2.6 IUCN category and zoning                                     30

 2.7 Lease agreement                                           30

 2.8 International agreements                                      32


Part 2  How the park will be managed                                  34

3.  IUCN category                                                34

 3.1 Assigning the park to an IUCN category                            34

4.  Joint management                                            36

 4.1 Making decisions and working together                            36

 4.2 Nguraritja interests                                          43

 4.3 Anangu employment, education and training                         46

5. Looking after culture and country                                  50

 5.1 A cultural landscape                                          50

 5.2 Cultural heritage places and material                              54

 5.3 The physical landscape                                       58

 5.4 Climate change                                             60

 5.5 Surface water and groundwater                                  62

 5.6 Native plants and animals                                      65

 5.7 Weeds and introduced plants                                   71

 5.8 Introduced and domestic animals                                 73

 5.9 Fire management                                           77

6. Visitor management and park use                                  81

 6.1 Tourism directions and recreational opportunities                      81

 6.2 Access and site management                                   84

 6.3 Visitor activities and experiences                                 89

 6.4 Visitor information, education and interpretation                       93

 6.5 Promoting and marketing the park                                96

 6.6 Filming, photography and audio recording                           97

 6.7 Commercial operations                                        101

 6.8 Visitor safety                                               104

7. Stakeholders and partnerships                                    106

 7.1 Mutitjulu Community                                         106

 7.2 Neighbours, stakeholders and partnerships                          112

 


8. Business management                                          114

 8.1 Capital works and infrastructure                                  114

 8.2 Compliance and enforcement                                   117

 8.3 Incident management                                         119

 8.4 Research, monitoring and knowledge management                    121

 8.5 Assessment of proposals                                      126

 8.6 Subleases, licences and associated occupancy issues               131

 8.7 Resource use in park operations                                 132

 8.8 New activities not otherwise specified in this plan                      134

 8.9 Management plan implementation and evaluation                     135

Appendices

A Provisions of Lease between Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust           138
 and the Director of National Parks

B World Heritage attributes of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park                  150

C National Heritage values of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park               153

D Commonwealth Heritage values of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park          155

E Key result area outcomes relevant to Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park           159

F EPBC Act listed threatened species of the Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park region   161

G EPBC Act listed migratory species occurring in Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park    163

H Management principle schedules in the EPBC Regulations relevant            166
 to Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park

I Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara words used in the English text of this plan          175

Maps

1 Approximate present day extent of Western Desert language speakers          9

2 Location of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park and distances from major cities       9

3 Aboriginal communities and their proximity to the park                      10

4 Some Anangu place names at Uluru                                57

5 Access to Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park – regional map                   87

6 Public vehicle access within Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park                 88

Tables

1 Guide to decision-making                                         42

2 Impact assessment procedures                                     128

3 Environmental impact assessment matters and considerations                129

Bibliography                                                    177

Index                                                         178

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ‘Working Together’ painting © Jennifer Taylor: The central circle represents Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. The twelve seated figures are the members of the Board of Management: four pairs of male and female Anangu (the brown) and four Piranpa (the white). They have surrounded the park with a yuu, a traditional windbreak. This is the protection that their decisions and policies provide both for the culture and the environment of the park, as well as for park visitors.

Waiting and listening to the Board’s decisions are the Anangu and Piranpa rangers. The Anangu rangers are barefoot, representing their close connection with the land and knowledge derived from thousands of years of looking after the land. The Piranpa rangers wear shoes, representing their land management training and knowledge derived from European scientific traditions.

Surrounding all are two more yuu (windbreaks) representing the protection and support of Tjukurpa (Anangu traditional law) and the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act, which are working together to guide and protect the management of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park.

Undulating sand dunes and rich bushland circle the park.

 

 

 

 

 

A description of
Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park

 

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is part of an extensive Aboriginal cultural landscape that stretches across the Australian continent. The park represents the work of Anangu and nature during thousands of years. Its landscape has been managed using traditional Anangu methods governed by Tjukurpa, Anangu Law.

Within Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is Uluru, arguably the most distinctive landscape symbol of Australia, nationally and internationally. It conveys a powerful sense of the very long time during which the landscape of the Australian continent has evolved. Far from the coastal cities, and with its rich red tones, for some it epitomises the isolation and starkness of Australia’s desert environment. When coupled with the profound spiritual importance of many parts of Uluru to Anangu (Western Desert Aboriginal people, see Map 1), these natural qualities have resulted in the use of Uluru in Australia and elsewhere as the symbolic embodiment of the Australian landscape. As a consequence, Uluru has become the focus of visitors’ attention in the Central Australian region, while other parks offer a complementary range of experiences.

The park is owned by the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust. It covers about 1,325 square kilometres and is 335 kilometres by air and about 470 kilometres by road to the south-west of Alice Springs (see Map 2). The Ayers Rock Resort at Yulara adjoins the park’s northern boundary. Both the park and the resort are surrounded by Aboriginal freehold land held by the Petermann and Katiti Land Trusts (see Map 3).

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is a cultural landscape representing the combined works of Anangu and nature over millennia.

The importance of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park’s cultural landscape is reinforced by the inscription of cultural and natural values for the park on the World Heritage List and also on the Australian Government’s Commonwealth and National Heritage Lists. The listed World Heritage values for the park are described in Appendix B to this plan, National Heritage values in Appendix C and Commonwealth Heritage values in Appendix D.

Anangu is the term that Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara Aboriginal people, from the Western Desert region of Australia, use to refer to themselves. Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara are the two principal dialects spoken in Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park.

Aboriginal people and their culture have always been associated with Uluru. According to Anangu, the landscape was created at the beginning of time by ancestral beings. Anangu are the direct descendants of these beings and they are responsible for the protection and appropriate management of these lands. The knowledge necessary to fulfil these responsibilities has been passed down from generation to generation through Tjukurpa, the Law.

Ananguku Tjukurpa kunpu pulka alatjitu ngaranyi. Inma pulka ngaranyi munu Tjukurpa pulka ngaranyi ka palula tjana-languru kulini munu uti nganana kunpu mulapa kanyinma. Miil-miilpa ngaranyi munu Ananguku Tjukurpa nyanga pulka mulapa. Tjukurpa panya tjamulu, kamilu, mamalu, ngunytjulu nganananya ungu, kurunpangka munu katangka kanyintjaku.
   © Tony Tjamiwa

There is strong and powerful Aboriginal Law in this Place. There are important songs and stories that we hear from our elders, and we must protect and support this important Law. There are sacred things here, and this sacred Law is very important. It was given to us by our grandfathers and grandmothers, our fathers and mothers, to hold onto in our heads and in our hearts. ©

Tjukurpa unites Anangu with each other and with the landscape. It embodies the principles of religion, philosophy and human behaviour that are to be observed in order to live harmoniously with one another and with the natural landscape. Humans and every aspect of the landscape are inextricably one.

According to Tjukurpa, there was a time when ancestral beings, in the forms of humans, animals and plants, travelled widely across the land and performed remarkable feats of creation and destruction. The journeys of these beings are remembered and celebrated and the record of their activities exists today in the features of the land itself. For Anangu, this record provides an account, and the meaning, of the cosmos for the past and the present. When Anangu speak of the many natural features within Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park their interpretations and explanations are expressed in terms of the activities of particular Tjukurpa beings, rather than by reference to geological or other explanations. Primarily, Anangu have a spiritual interpretation of the park’s landscape. In traditional terms, therefore, they speak of the park’s spiritual meaning, not just of the shape its surface features take.

Tjukurpa prescribes the nature of the relationships between those responsible for the maintenance of Tjukurpa and the associated landscape, their obligations, and the obligations of those who visit that land. The central attributes of these relationships are integrity, respect, honesty, trust, sharing, learning, and working together as equals.

In all interactions with visitors to their land, Anangu stress the need for:

Tjurkulytju kulintjaku kuranyu nguru pinangku munu utira ngukunytja tjura titutjaraku witira kanyintjikitjaku kututungku kulira.
   © Tony Tjamiwa

Clear listening, which starts with the ears, then moves to the mind, and ultimately settles in the heart as knowledge. ©

Tjukurpa is the foundation of Anangu life. It encompasses:


Tjukurpa is also the foundation of joint management for the park. Anangu consider that, to care properly for the park, Tjukurpa must come first. Their description of what this means in practice is:

Nintiringkula kamila tjamula tjanalanguru. Wirurala nintiringu munula watarkurinytja wiya. Nintiringkula tjilpi munu pampa nguraritja tjutanguru, munula rawangku tjukurpa kututungka munu katangka kanyilku. Ngura nyangakula ninti – nganana ninti.
   © Barbara Tjikatu

We learnt from our grandmothers and grandfathers and their generation. We learnt well and we have not forgotten. We’ve learnt from the old people of this place, and we’ll always keep the Tjukurpa in our hearts and minds. We know this place – we are ninti, knowledgeable. ©


As a cultural landscape representing the combined works of nature and Anangu and manifesting the interaction of humankind and its natural environment, the landscape of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is in large part the outcome of millennia of management using traditional Anangu methods governed by Tjukurpa.

Anangu’s knowledge of sustainable land use derives from a detailed body of ecological knowledge which includes a classification of ecological zones. This knowledge continues to contribute significantly to ecological research and management of the park. Anangu landscape management followed a traditional regime of fire management, and temporary water resources were husbanded by cleaning and protecting soaks and rockholes; Anangu landscape management methods are now integral to management of the park.

There are numerous specific sites of significance to Anangu in the park, and most of them are at or close to Uluru and Kata Tjuta. The significance of the sites is the way they are interconnected by the iwara (tracks) of the ancestral beings. Management of the landscape today is governed by Tjukurpa established by these beings. There are many hundreds of painting sites around the base of Uluru, generally associated with rock shelters. While there are fewer art sites at Kata Tjuta, there are stone arrangements and rock engravings. There are also numbers of known past habitation sites in the park. The park thus contains significant physical evidence of one of the oldest continuous cultures in the world.

Manta atunymananyi, kuka tjuta atunymananyi munu mai tjuta atunymananyi. Kaltja atunymananyi munu Tjukurpa kulu-kulu. Park atunymananyi. Kumuniti atunymananyi.
   © Judy Trigger

Looking after land. Looking after animals, and bush tucker. Looking after culture and Tjukurpa. Looking after park. Looking after community. ©

The area of Tjukurpa that relates to ecological responsibility is what Anangu usually refer to as ‘looking after country’. Caring for the land is an essential part of ‘keeping the Law straight’. From this area of Tjukurpa Anangu learn their rights and responsibilities in relation to sites within country, other people who are related to the land in the same way, and the ancestral beings with whom sites and tracks are associated. This is also where Anangu learn about the formal responsibilities of caring for the land. Creations that derive from Tjukurpa are not confined to geological features such as rock faces, boulders and waterfalls. Plants and animals derive from the creative period of Tjukurpa. Much of what Piranpa would call biological or ecological knowledge about the behaviour and distribution of plants and animals is considered by Anangu to be knowledge of Tjukurpa.

Such knowledge commonly forms part of the content of the stories about the ancestral beings’ activities and is taught in association with exploitation of food resources. Thus, whilst travelling the land to gather and hunt for food, Anangu learn how such activities are related to a unified scheme of life that stretches from the beginning of all things to the present. Tjukurpa also refers to the record of all activities of ancestral beings, from the beginning to the end of their travels.


With few exceptions, Tjukurpa within the park is part of much wider travels of ancestral beings. The relationship of the park area with other areas is traceable by sites along the tracks of ancestral beings on their way to or from Uluru or Kata Tjuta, thus making the park an important focus of many converging ancestral tracks.

Around Uluru, for instance, there are many examples of ancestral sites. The Mala Tjukurpa tells of mala (the rufous hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes hirsutus) that travelled to Uluru from the north. Subsequently mala fled to the south and south-east (into South Australia) as they attempted to escape from Kurpany, an evil dog-like creature that had been specifically created and sent from Kikingkura (close to the Western Australian border). It is important that planning in the park take into account the Anangu perception that, through these links, areas in the park derive their meaning from, and contribute meaning to, places outside the park. Links with other places form an integral part of the way in which Anangu ‘map’ the park’s landscape, which in turn has implications for their decisions about areas in the park and the strong relationships they wish to maintain with the entire Western Desert area.

The location of homelands in Anangu lands bordering the park has been heavily influenced by such landscape ‘mapping’. The homelands also reinforce the social connections and ritual obligations among Nguraritja. Taken together, they mean a responsibility for looking after country. Thus the homelands are integral to the Tjukurpa of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park.

Anangu have used landscape ‘maps’ for many management purposes during the operation of previous plans. This knowledge has assisted with the location of park developments, identifying animal and plant colonies, and interpreting landscape features for visitors to the park. The Liru and Mala Walks, in particular, were constructed on the basis of landscape ‘maps’ derived from Tjukurpa.

Anangu have lived in and maintained the landscape and Tjukurpa at Uluru and Kata Tjuta for many thousands of years. The story of this occupation and land use can be reconstructed from archaeological deposits, from the rock art and engravings Anangu created to depict events from Tjukurpa and their own lives, and from the personal histories of people living in the park today. Anangu history is an important part of the park’s cultural significance and is worthy of record and preservation. Preservation of rock art is a core aspect of park management and the park has an ongoing oral history program.

Iriti Anangu walytja-piti tjuta ninti nyinangi, panya yaaltji-yaaltji wirura tjukaruru nyinanytjaku. Yangupala tjutanya tjilpingku munu pampangku nintipungkupai ka mamangku munu ngunytjungku wirura maingka tjitji kanyilpai. Kuwari nganana park atunymananyi munula nyanga alatji ngarantjaku mukuringanyi.
   © Pulya Taylor

In the old way families knew how to behave and live well. The young were taught by the old and the parents provided for them all. Now we have the park to look after and we want it to work in this way. ©

 


Like any body of law, Tjukurpa is the source of rules of appropriate behaviour that relate people to other people and people to the land. The first area of appropriate behaviour deals with day-to-day things such as protocol, the relationship between men and women, marriage, child rearing, and the relationships between the old and the young and between various other categories of kin. From earliest times, throughout the entire Western Desert area, Anangu have been able to establish through kinship or family ties their social relationships with other people so as to be able to use kin terms comfortably. They then deal with each other as family (walytja), even if they have never before met. This is how Anangu are able to refer to themselves as ‘one people’. These structured relationships carry intricate economic, social and religious rights and responsibilities. One of the advantages of such social organisation is that it supports cooperative strategies for movement over the land and for exploitation of the land’s resources, even by people who cannot be constantly in contact with one another.

Employment arrangements for Anangu working in the park take into account social and religious obligations by allowing for considerable flexibility in work hours. Where Anangu have been required to go away for several weeks at a time for religious ceremonies or to honour other social or family responsibilities, Parks Australia has been able to adapt work requirements so as not to disadvantage Anangu and not to affect overall park management responsibilities. The park was closed for three hours in 1987 to allow the unobserved transit through the park of Anangu who were engaged in ceremonial activity. Since this time parts of the park have sometimes been closed for ceremonial reasons. These closures are effected in a way that minimises disruption to visitors.

Park staff receive instruction in aspects of social behaviour that affect Anangu work practices. This includes avoidance relationships (kin not permitted to talk to or look at each other), the appropriate type of work for men and women, and the precedence of old people over the young in decision-making. These aspects of social behaviour are taken into account in the development of work programs.

Wangkanytjaku iwara patu-patu wirura tjunkunytjaku minga tjutaku munu alatjinku ngura Tjukuritja tjuta wirura anga kanyintjaku munu minga tjuta safe kanyintjaku.
   © Millie Okai

Talk about the proper place to put the roads for visitors and safeguard sacred areas and keep visitors safe. ©

For Anangu, an essential part of ‘keeping the Law straight’ involves ensuring that knowledge is not imparted to the wrong people and that access to significant or sacred sites is not gained by the wrong people, whether ‘wrong’ means men or women, Piranpa visitors, or certain other Anangu.

It is as much a part of Anangu religious responsibility to care for this information properly as it is for other religions to care for their sacred precincts and relics. The same holds true for sites and locations on ancestral tracks where events that are not for public knowledge took place. Neither knowledge of nor access to such sites is permissible under Anangu Law. Even inadvertent access to some sites constitutes sacrilege. Special management measures have been taken to help Anangu continue protecting Tjukurpa whilst allowing visitors to enjoy


the park. One of the main objectives of the park’s interpretive strategy is to enhance visitors’ knowledge and appreciation of what constitutes culturally appropriate behaviour as part of the experience of visiting a jointly managed national park.

Policies and regulations in relation to visitor management have been developed in such a way as to emphasise Anangu perceptions of appropriate visitor behaviour. Of particular importance are policies and guidelines developed by the Board of Management for commercial filming and photography and the fencing off of certain areas around the base of Uluru, to ensure visitors do not inadvertently contravene Tjukurpa restrictions.

The Uluru–Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre has greatly increased opportunities for visitors to learn
about Tjukurpa, Anangu culture and the park. Within the bounds of appropriate access, Tjukurpa provides a basis for most of the interpretation of the park to visitors. Anangu want visitors to understand how they interpret this landscape. Tjukurpa contains information about the landscape features, the ecology, the plants and animals, and appropriate use of areas of the park. Tjukurpa has been passed down through the generations and can be shared with visitors. In addition, Anangu believe that visitors’ understanding of the park can be enhanced by providing information about how Anangu use the park’s resources and the history of their use of these resources.


Map 1 – Approximate present day extent of Western Desert language speakers

 

 

Map 2 – Location of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park and distances by air from major cities

 


Map 3 – Aboriginal communities and their proximity to the park

 

The park’s landscape is dominated by the iconic massifs of Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Uluru is made from sedimentary rock called arkose sandstone. It is 9.4 kilometres in circumference and rises about 340 metres above the surrounding plain. Kata Tjuta comprises 36 rock domes of varying sizes made from a sedimentary rock called conglomerate. One of the domes, rising about 500 metres above the plain (or 1,066 metres above sea level), is the highest feature in the park. These two geological features are striking examples of geological processes and erosion occurring over time and of the age of the Australian continent. The contrast of these monoliths with the surrounding sandplains creates a landscape of exceptional natural beauty of symbolic importance to both Anangu and non-Aboriginal cultures. The Uluru and Kata Tjuta massifs, rocky slopes and foothills contribute to the park’s high biodiversity. The many other patterns and structures in the landscape reflect the region’s evolutionary history and give important clues about limitations on resource use and management (Gillen et al. 2000).

The Uluru–Kata Tjuta landscape is a representative cross-section of the Central Australian arid ecosystems. The main ecological zones in the park are:

The park has a particularly rich and diverse suite of arid environment species, most of which are unique to Australia. The park supports populations of a number of relict and endemic species associated with the unique landforms and habitats of the monoliths. Uluru and Kata Tjuta provide runoff water which finds its way into moist gorges and drainage lines where isolated populations persist in an environment otherwise characterised by infertile and dry dunefields. In addition, an exceptionally high species diversity is associated with the transitional sandplain that lies between the mulga outwash zone around the monoliths and the dunefields beyond.

Across the park’s ecological zones 619 plant species have been recorded, among them seven rare or endangered species, which are generally restricted to the moist areas at the bases of Uluru and the domes of Kata Tjuta. These include five relict species – Stylidium inaequipealum, Parietaria debilis, Ophioglossum lusitanicum subsp. coriaceum, Isoetes muelleri and Triglochin calcitrapum. In addition, the main occurrence of the sandhill wattle Acacia ammobia is just east of Uluru. The park’s flora represents a large portion of plants found in Central Australia.

A total of 26 native mammal species, including several species of small marsupials and native rodents and bats, have been recorded in the park. These include the recently reintroduced mala. Reptile species are found in numbers unparalleled anywhere in the world and are well adapted to the arid environment; 74 species have been recorded to date, including a newly described species in 2006. As well, 176 native bird species, four amphibian species and many invertebrate species have been recorded. An unusually diverse fauna assemblage occurs in an area extending north from Uluru to the west of Yulara town site and west to the Sedimentaries.


The legless-lizard Delma pax is represented by an apparently relict population at Uluru. The great desert skink (Egernia kintorei) is known from the transitional sandplain in the park. The scorpion Cercophonius squama, a temperate species, occurs at Mutitjulu on the southern margin of Uluru. Several relict plants are confined to moist gorges at Uluru and Kata Tjuta: Stylidium inaequipetalum, Parietaria debilis, Ophioglossum lusitanicum coriaceum, Isoetes muelleri, and Triglochin calcitrapum. The grass Eriachne scleranthoides is confined to Kata Tjuta and one other location.

There are significant populations of the southern marsupial mole (Notoryctes typhlops), the striated grasswren (Amytornis striatus), the rufous-crowned emu-wren (Stipiturus ruficeps), the scarlet-chested parrot (Neophema splendida), the grey honeyeater (Conopophila whitei), the desert mouse (Pseudomys desertor), and a skink Ctenotus septenarius.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is located in the Greater Sandy Desert bioregion which includes parts of the Northern Territory and Western Australia. This bioregion has less than five per cent of its total area within protected areas – the park is one of only five reserves and plays a significant role in contributing to long-term biodiversity conservation in the region. Within the bioregion, the park is representative of a broad landform structure that is a recurring pattern in arid Central Australia (Gillen et al. 2000).

During the 1870s expedition parties headed by explorers Ernest Giles and William Gosse were the first Europeans to visit the area. As part of the colonisation process, Uluru was named ‘Ayers Rock’ and Kata Tjuta ‘The Olgas’ by these explorers in honour of political figures of the day. Further explorations quickly followed with the aim of establishing the area’s potential for pastoral expansion. It was soon concluded that the area was unsuitable for pastoralism. Few Europeans visited over the following decades, apart from small numbers of mineral prospectors, surveyors and scientists.

In the 1920s the Commonwealth, South Australian and Western Australian Governments declared the great central reserves, including the area that is now the park, as sanctuaries for a nomadic people who had virtually no contact with white people. Despite this initiative, small parties of prospectors continued to visit the area and from 1936 were joined by the first tourists. A number of the oldest people now living at Uluru can recall meetings and incidents associated with white visitors during this period. Some of that contact was violent and engendered a fear of white authority. From the 1940s the two main reasons for permanent and substantial European settlement in the region were Aboriginal welfare policy and the promotion of tourism at Uluru. These two endeavours, sometimes in harmony and sometimes in conflict, have determined the relationships between Europeans and Anangu.


In 1948 the first vehicular track to Uluru was constructed, responding to increasing tourism interest in the region. Tour bus services began in the early 1950s and later an airstrip, several motels and a camping ground were built at the base of Uluru. In 1958, in response to pressures to support tourism enterprises, the area that is now the park was excised from the Petermann Aboriginal Reserve to be managed by the Northern Territory Reserves Board as the Ayers Rock–Mount Olga National Park. The first ranger was the legendary Central Australian figure Bill Harney.

Post-war assimilation policies assumed that Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara people had begun a rapid and irreversible transition into mainstream Australian society and would give up their nomadic lifestyle, moving to specific Aboriginal settlements developed by welfare authorities for this purpose. Further, with increasing tourism development in the area from the late 1950s, Anangu were discouraged from visiting the park. However, Anangu continued to travel widely over their homelands, pursuing ceremonial life, visiting kin, and hunting and collecting food. The semi-permanent water available at Uluru made it a particularly important stopping point on the western route of these journeys.

By the early 1970s Anangu found their traditional country unprecedentedly accessible with roads, motor cars, radio communications and an extended network of settlements. At a time of major change in government policies, new approaches to welfare policies promoting economic self-sufficiency for Aboriginal people began to conflict with the then prevailing park management policies. The Ininti Store was established in 1972 as an Aboriginal enterprise on a lease within the park offering supplies and services to tourists; this became the nucleus of a permanent Anangu community within the park.

The ad hoc development of tourism infrastructure adjacent to the base of Uluru that began in the 1950s soon produced adverse environmental impacts. It was decided in the early 1970s to remove all accommodation related tourist facilities and re-establish them outside the park. In 1975 a reservation of 104 square kilometres of land beyond the park’s northern boundary, 15 kilometres from Uluru, was approved for the development of a tourist facility and an associated airport, to be known as Yulara. The campground within the park was closed in 1983 and the motels finally closed in late 1984, coinciding with the opening of the Yulara resort.

Confusion about representation of Anangu in decision-making associated with the relocation of facilities to Yulara led to decisions being made which were adverse to Anangu interests. It was not until passage of the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976 (Land Rights Act) and the subsequent establishment of the Central Land Council that Anangu began to influence the ways in which their views were represented to government.

On 24 May 1977 the park became the first area declared under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 (NPWC Act), under the name Uluru (Ayers Rock–Mount Olga) National Park. The NPWC Act was replaced by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) in 2000; the declaration of the park continues under the EPBC Act. The park was declared over an area of 132,550 hectares and included the subsoil to a depth of 1,000 metres. The declaration was amended on 21 October 1985 to include an additional area of 16 hectares. The Territory Parks and Wildlife Commission (the successor to the Northern Territory Reserves Board) continued with day-to-day management. During this period Anangu indicated their interest in the park and its management, including requesting protective fencing of sacred sites and permission for houses to be built for older people to camp at Uluru to teach young people.

In February 1979 a claim was lodged under the Land Rights Act by the Central Land Council (on behalf of the traditional owners) for an area of land that included the park. The Aboriginal Land Commissioner, Mr Justice Toohey, found there were traditional owners for the park but that the park could not be claimed as it had ceased to be unalienated Crown land upon its proclamation in 1977. The claimed land to the north-east of the park is now Aboriginal land held by the Katiti Aboriginal Land Trust.

At a major ceremony at the park on 26 October 1985, the Governor-General formally granted title to the park to the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust. The inaugural Board of Management was gazetted on 10 December 1985 and held its first meeting on 22 April 1986. In 1993, at the request of Anangu and the Board of Management, the park’s official name was changed to its present name, Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park.

Because of continuing opposition from the then Northern Territory Government to the new management arrangements for the park, the situation whereby the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory carried out day-to-day management on behalf of the Director became untenable. During 1986 the arrangements that had been in place since 1977 were terminated, and staff of the Australian National Parks and Wildlife Service, now Parks Australia within the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, have carried out day-to-day management since that time.

Joint management is the term used to describe the working partnership between Nguraritja and relevant Aboriginal people and the Director of National Parks as lessee of the park. Joint management is based on Aboriginal title to the land, which is supported by a legal framework laid out in the EPBC Act.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is inscribed on the World Heritage List under the World Heritage Convention for its outstanding natural and cultural values. The first listing was declared for the park’s natural values in 1987 and the second listing was declared in 1994 for the park’s cultural values. Uluru is one of the few sites that are listed under the World Heritage Convention for both cultural and natural values. At the time of preparing this plan, the park is one of only 25 World Heritage sites listed for both its natural and cultural heritage. Appendix B to this plan summarises the park’s listing against the World Heritage criteria.

The independent International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), which assessed the cultural values of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park for the World Heritage Council, gave international recognition of:

In 1995 the Director and the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management were awarded the Picasso Gold Medal, the highest award given by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), for outstanding efforts to preserve the landscape and Anangu culture and for setting new international standards for World Heritage management.

The park is representative of one of the most significant arid land ecosystems in the world. As a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme, it joins 13 other biosphere reserves in Australia and an international network aiming to preserve the world’s major ecosystem types.

Numerous migratory species that occur in Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park are protected under international agreements such as the Bonn Convention for conserving migratory species, and Australia’s migratory bird protection agreements with China (CAMBA), Japan (JAMBA) and Korea (ROKAMBA). Appendix G to this plan lists the migratory species that occur in the park.

The park is listed on the National Heritage List for its Indigenous cultural heritage and for its natural heritage. At the time of preparation of this plan, the National Heritage List values are the same as the World Heritage values.

 

The national park status and effective conservation management of Uluru–Kata Tjuta contribute significantly towards meeting the objectives of a number of Australian national conservation strategies. These include the following:

Tourism is a major export industry in Australia and is actively promoted by governments at all levels. Along with other places of natural beauty in Australia such as Kakadu National Park and the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru has become a major tourism attraction for overseas visitors.

Nguraritja mayatja tjutangku munu park mayatja tjutangku tjungungku wangkara rule tjuta palyanu munu tjakultjunanyi yaaltji-yaaltji Piranpa ranger tjuta wirura tjungu Anangu-wanu munu kumuniti-wanu warkaringkunytjaku.
   © Topsy Tjulyata

Nguraritja and park leaders talked together and made rules and they explain how the non-Anangu rangers can work well in cooperation with Anangu and through the Community. ©

The park was one of the first jointly managed parks in Australia. Protected area and land management authorities and groups of Indigenous people interested in joint management from within Australia and overseas regularly visit the park to better understand how joint management arrangements operate.

Park-angka unngu munu park-angka urilta Tjukurpa palunyatu ngaranyi kutjupa wiya. Ngura miil-miilpa tjuta park –angka ngaranyi – uwankara kutju ngaranyi, Tjukurpangka.
   © Tony Tjamiwa

It is one Tjukurpa inside the park and outside the park, not different. There are many sacred places in the park that are part of the whole cultural landscape–one line. Everything is one Tjukurpa. ©

It is an expressed view of Nguraritja that this management plan should acknowledge the links, through Tjukurpa, between the park and adjoining lands in the region. These links have direct implications for the practice and maintenance of Tjukurpa associated with the park.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park includes habitats not well represented in other protected areas in Central Australia. Other parks in the Central Australian region generally cover hill, mountain range or riverine country and are managed under relevant Northern Territory and state legislation.

The park is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List for its Indigenous cultural heritage and for its natural heritage.

Several species in the park have conservation status in the Northern Territory – there are six Northern Territory listed vulnerable animal species, one endangered mammal species and two endangered plant species.

The Central Australian community supports a number of tour operators and others who derive a significant proportion of their income from visitors to the park. Tourism is central to the regional economy, particularly in terms of employment, and it is important that tourism development in the park is compatible with other plans for regional development. The standard of visitor facilities that Parks Australia develops and maintains in the park greatly influences the quality of tourists’ experience of the region.


 

‘Looking After Uluru’ © Malya Teamay: The painting depicts the main features of the management plan, clockwise from top left: the Tjukurpa of Uluru; a map of the park showing Uluru and Kata Tjuta–inside the park’s boundary sits the Board of Management with Anangu and Piranpa Board Members working together to look after the park; the interpretation of the park’s values, and education about the park; administration and law enforcement; natural and cultural resource management; the Mutitjulu Community; and park infrastructure including bores, roads and telecommunications; the different coloured background shows that Tjukurpa is everywhere, both inside and outside the park.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Management Plan for

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park

 


Part 1 – Introduction

Part 1 of the plan sets out the context in which this 5th Plan was prepared. It describes previous plans and the network of legislative requirements, lease agreements and international agreements which underpin the content of the plan.

This is the 5th Management Plan for Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park. The 4th Plan came into operation on 13 September 2000 and ceased to have effect on 28 June 2007.

The structure of this plan reflects the Parks Australia Strategic Planning and Performance Assessment Framework, a set of priorities based on Australian Government policy and legislative requirements for the protected area estate that is the responsibility of the Director of National Parks.

The outcomes in the plan are developed against the following Key Result Areas (KRAs) reflected in the Strategic Planning and Performance Assessment Framework:

KRA 1: Natural heritage management (see Section 5 of the plan)

KRA 2: Cultural heritage management (see Section 5)

KRA 3: Joint management (see Section 4)

KRA 4: Visitor management and park use (see Section 6)

KRA 5: Stakeholders and partnerships (see Section 7)

KRA 6: Business management (see Section 8).

Appendix E details outcomes for the KRAs, which are also used to structure the State of the Parks report in the Director of National Parks’ Annual Report to the Australian Parliament.

Section 366 of the EPBC Act requires that the Director of National Parks and the Board of Management (if any) for a Commonwealth reserve prepare management plans for the reserve. In addition to seeking comments from members of the public, the relevant land council and the relevant state or territory government, the Director and the Board are required to take into account the interests of the traditional owners of land in the reserve and of any other Indigenous persons interested in the reserve.

The Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management resolved that consultations be undertaken with Anangu to seek comments on issues related to the management of the park. These meetings covered a range of park management issues including decision-making procedures; natural and cultural resource management; visitor management and park use and Anangu employment. A number of Board meetings were also conducted to enable the Board to consider the draft management plan and submissions received from members of the public.

Other stakeholder groups and individuals that were consulted during the preparation of this management plan include:

 


2. Introductory provisions

This management plan may be cited as the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Management Plan or the Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park Management Plan.

This management plan will come into operation following approval by the Minister under s.370 of the EPBC Act, on a date specified by the Minister or the date it is registered under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003, and will cease to have effect 10 years after commencement, unless revoked sooner or replaced with a new plan.

In this management plan:

Aboriginal means a person who is a member of the Aboriginal race of Australia

Aboriginal land means

(a) land held by an Aboriginal Land Trust for an estate in fee simple under the Land Rights Act; or

(b) land that is the subject of a deed of grant held in escrow by an Aboriginal Land Council under the Land Rights Act.

Aboriginal tradition means the body of traditions, observances, customs and beliefs of Aboriginals generally or of a particular group of Aboriginals and includes those traditions, observances, customs and beliefs as applied in relation to particular persons, sites, areas of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park, things and relationships

Anangu means an Aboriginal person or people generally (and more specifically those Aboriginal people with traditional affiliations with this region)

Australian Government means the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia

BFC means the Bushfires Council established by the Bushfires Act (NT)

Board of Management or Board means the Board of Management for Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park established under the NPWC Act and continued under the EPBC Act by the Environmental Reform (Consequential Provisions) Act 1999

CAMBA means the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the Protection of Migratory Birds and their Environment, informally known as the China–Australia Migratory Bird Agreement

CLC or Land Council means the Central Land Council established under the Land Rights Act

Commonwealth reserve means a reserve established under Division 4 of Part 15 of the EPBC Act

Community means the Mutitjulu Community

CSMS means the Cultural Site Management System


Director means the Director of National Parks under s.514A of the EPBC Act, and includes Parks Australia and any person to whom the Director has delegated powers and functions under the EPBC Act in relation to Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park

Domestic animal means an animal that is non-native to the local region, including a dog which is part dingo (Canis lupus dingo), which is owned by and/or has a dependent relationship with a person or persons

EPBC Act means the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, including Regulations under the Act, and includes reference to any Act amending, repealing or replacing the EPBC Act

EPBC Regulations means the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Regulations 2000 and includes reference to any Regulations amending, repealing or replacing the EPBC Regulations

Feral animal means a member of a domesticated species that has escaped the ownership, management and control of people and is living and reproducing in the wild

Gazette means the Commonwealth of Australia Gazette

GIS means geographic information system

ICIP means Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property

ICOMOS means the International Council on Monuments and Sites

Introduced species or animal means a species that is non-native to the local region which has been introduced to the park either by human or natural means. For the purposes of this plan, species that were once native to the region and have been reintroduced are excluded

IUCN means the International Union for Conservation of Nature

JAMBA means the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of Japan for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Danger of Extinction and their Environment, informally known as the Japan–Australia Migratory Bird Agreement

Land Rights Act means the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976

Land Trust means the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust established under the Land Rights Act

Lease or Park Lease means the lease agreement between the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust and the Director in respect of the park, shown as Attachment A to this plan

Management plan or plan means this management plan for the park, unless otherwise stated

Management principles means the Australian IUCN reserve management principles set out in Schedule 8 of the EPBC Regulations (see Section 3 and Appendix H of this plan)

MCAC means the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation

Minister means the Minister administering the EPBC Act

Nguraritja means the traditional Aboriginal owners of the park


NPWC Act means the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 and the Regulations under that Act

NT means the Northern Territory of Australia

NTFRS means the Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service

OHS means occupational health and safety

Park means Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park

Parks Australia means the Director of National Parks and the agency that assists the Director in performing the Director’s functions under the EPBC Act. At the time of preparing the plan, the agency assisting the Director is the Parks Australia Division of the Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts

Pest means any animal, plant or organism having, or with the potential to have, an adverse economic, environmental or social impact

Piranpa means non-Aboriginal people (literally white)

Ramsar Convention means the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance Especially as Waterfowl Habitat

Relevant Aboriginals means the traditional Aboriginal owners of the park, Aboriginal people entitled to use or occupy the park and Aboriginal people permitted by the traditional Aboriginal owners (Nguraritja) to reside in the park

Relevant Aboriginal Association means the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation or any other incorporated Aboriginal association or group whose members live in or are relevant Aboriginals in relation to the park which is the successor to the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation and which is approved as such in writing by the Central Land Council

ROKAMBA means the Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the Republic of Korea on the Protection Of Migratory Birds, informally known as the Republic of Korea–Australia Migratory Bird Agreement

Traditional owners means the traditional Aboriginal owners as defined in the Land Rights Act (see also Nguraritja)

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park means the area declared as a national park by that name under the NPWC Act and continued under the EPBC Act by the Environmental Reform (Consequential Provisions) Act 1999

UHF means ultra-high frequency

UNESCO means the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation

World Heritage Convention means the Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage

 

All of the park is Aboriginal land under the Land Rights Act with title held by the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust. The Land Trust has leased its land to the Director in accordance with the Land Rights Act for the purpose of being managed as a Commonwealth reserve.

Objects of the Act

The objects of the EPBC Act as set out in Part 1 of the Act are:

(a) to provide for the protection of the environment, especially those aspects of the environment that are matters of national environmental significance; and

(b) to promote ecologically sustainable development through the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of natural resources; and

(c) to promote the conservation of biodiversity; and

(ca) to provide for the protection and conservation of heritage; and

(d) to promote a co-operative approach to the protection and management of the environment involving governments, the community, land-holders and Indigenous peoples; and

(e) to assist in the co-operative implementation of Australia’s international environmental responsibilities; and

(f) to recognise the role of Indigenous people in the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of Australia’s biodiversity; and

(g) to promote the use of Indigenous people’s knowledge of biodiversity with the involvement of, and in cooperation with, the owners of the knowledge.

Establishment of the park

The park was declared under the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act 1975 (NPWC Act) which was replaced by the EPBC Act in July 2000. The park continues as a Commonwealth reserve under the EPBC Act pursuant to the Environmental Reform (Consequential Provisions) Act 1999, which deems the park to have been declared for the following purposes:

Director of National Parks

The Director is a corporation under the EPBC Act (s.514A) and a Commonwealth authority for the purposes of the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997. The corporation is controlled by the person appointed by the Governor-General to the office that is also called the Director of National Parks (s.514F of the EPBC Act).

 


The functions of the Director (s.514B) include the administration, management and control of the park. The Director generally has power to do all things necessary or convenient for performing the Director’s functions (s.514C). The Director has a number of specified powers under the EPBC Act and EPBC Regulations, including to prohibit or control some activities, and to issue permits for activities that are otherwise prohibited. The Director performs functions and exercises powers in accordance with this plan and relevant decisions of the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management

The Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management was established under the NPWC Act in 1985 and continues under the EPBC Act. A majority of Board members must be Indigenous persons nominated by the traditional Aboriginal owners of land in the park. The functions of the Board under s.376 of the EPBC Act are:

-           prepare management plans for the park; and

-           monitor the management of the park; and

-           advise the Minister on all aspects of the future development of the park.

Management plans

The EPBC Act requires the Board, in conjunction with the Director, to prepare management plans for the park. When prepared, a plan is given to the Minister for approval. A management plan is a ‘legislative instrument’ for the purposes of the Legislative Instruments Act 2003 and must be registered under that Act. Following registration the plan is tabled in each House of the Commonwealth Parliament and may be disallowed by either House on a motion moved within 15 sitting days of the House after tabling.

A management plan for a Commonwealth reserve has effect for 10 years, subject to being revoked or amended earlier by another management plan for the reserve.

See Section 2.5 in relation to EPBC Act requirements for a management plan.

Control of actions in Commonwealth reserves

The EPBC Act (ss.354 and 354A) prohibits certain actions being taken in Commonwealth reserves except in accordance with a management plan. These actions are:

These prohibitions, and other provisions of the EPBC Act and Regulations dealing with activities in Commonwealth reserves, do not prevent Aboriginal people from continuing their traditional


use of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park for hunting or gathering (except for purposes of sale) or for ceremonial and religious purposes (s.359A).

The EPBC Act also does not affect the operation of s.211 of the Native Title Act 1993, which provides that holders of native title rights covering certain activities do not need authorisation required by other laws to engage in those activities (s.8 EPBC Act).

Mining operations are prohibited in Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park by the EPBC Act (ss.355 and 355A) except when authorised under a management plan.

The EPBC Regulations control, or allow the Director to control, a range of activities in Commonwealth reserves, such as camping, use of vehicles, littering, commercial activities, and research. The Director applies the Regulations subject to and in accordance with the EPBC Act and management plans. The Regulations do not apply to the Director or to wardens or rangers appointed under the EPBC Act. Activities that are prohibited or restricted by the EPBC Regulations may be carried on if they are authorised by a permit issued by the Director and/or they are carried on in accordance with a management plan or if another exception prescribed by r.12.06(1) of the Regulations applies.

Access to biological resources in Commonwealth areas is regulated under Part 8A of the EPBC Regulations. Access to biological resources is also covered by ss.354 and 354A of the EPBC Act if the resources are members of a native species and/or if access is for commercial purposes. Access is covered by r.12.10 of the EPBC Regulations if it is in the course of scientific research; in that case access must be in accordance with a management plan.

Environmental impact assessment

Actions that are likely to have a significant impact on ‘matters of national environmental significance’ are subject to the referral, assessment and approval provisions of Chapters 2 to 4 of the EPBC Act (irrespective of where the action is taken).

At the time of preparing this plan, the matters of national environmental significance identified in the EPBC Act relevant to Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park are:

In the case of World Heritage and National Heritage places, the matter of national environmental significance protected under the EPBC Act is the listed World Heritage and the listed National Heritage values of the properties and places.

The referral, assessment and approval provisions also apply to actions on Commonwealth land that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment and to actions taken outside Commonwealth land that are likely to have a significant impact on the environment on Commonwealth land. The park is Commonwealth land for the purposes of the EPBC Act. Places on the Commonwealth Heritage List are defined as forming part of the environment for the purposes of the EPBC Act. In this case, the listed Commonwealth Heritage List values are the matter protected.


Responsibility for compliance with the assessment and approvals provisions of the EPBC Act lies with persons taking relevant ‘controlled’ actions. A person proposing to take an action that the person thinks may be or is a controlled action should refer the proposal to the Minister for the Minister’s decision whether or not the action is a controlled action. The Director of National Parks may also refer proposed actions to the Minister.

Wildlife protection

The EPBC Act also contains provisions (Part 13) that prohibit or regulate actions in relation to listed threatened species and ecological communities, listed migratory species, cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and listed marine species. Appendix F to this plan identifies species in the park that are listed as threatened under the EPBC Act and Northern Territory legislation, and Appendix G identifies migratory species that are listed under the EPBC Act and under international conventions, treaties and agreements at the time of preparing this plan.

Heritage protection

As noted above, the listed World Heritage, National Heritage and Commonwealth Heritage values of the park are protected under the EPBC Act.

Sections 313 to 324 of the EPBC Act provide for the protection of World Heritage properties, including the protection of values and the requirements for management, including the preparation of management plans. As required by the Act, Australia’s obligations in relation to the park under the World Heritage Convention have been taken into account in preparation of this management plan for the park.

In addition to the protection provided to the park by the EPBC Act as a World Heritage property, the park is listed on both the National Heritage List and the Commonwealth Heritage List under the EPBC Act.

In terms of National and Commonwealth Heritage listed places, the EPBC Act heritage protection provisions (ss.324A to 324ZC and ss.341A to 341ZH) relevantly provide:

i. make a written plan to protect and manage the Commonwealth Heritage values of each of its Commonwealth Heritage places;

ii. prepare a written heritage strategy for managing those places to protect and conserve their Commonwealth Heritage values, addressing any matters required by the EPBC Regulations, and consistent with the Commonwealth Heritage management principles; and

iii. identify Commonwealth Heritage values for each place, and produce a register that sets out the Commonwealth Heritage values (if any) for each place (and do so within the time frame set out in their heritage statements).


The prescriptions within this management plan are consistent with World Heritage, National Heritage and Commonwealth Heritage management principles and other relevant obligations under the EPBC Act for protecting and conserving the heritage values for which the park has been listed.

Penalties

Civil and criminal penalties may be imposed for breaches of the EPBC Act.

The purpose of this management plan is to describe the philosophy and direction of management for the park for the next 10 years in accordance with the EPBC Act. The plan enables management to proceed in an orderly way; it helps reconcile competing interests and identifies priorities for the allocation of available resources.

Under s.367(1) of the EPBC Act, a management plan for a Commonwealth reserve (in this case, the park) must provide for the protection and conservation of the reserve. In particular, a management plan must:

(a) assign the reserve to an IUCN protected area category (whether or not a Proclamation has assigned the reserve or a zone of the reserve to that IUCN category); and

(b) state how the reserve, or each zone of the reserve, is to be managed; and

(c) state how the natural features of the reserve, or of each zone of the reserve, are to be protected and conserved; and

(d) if the Director holds land or seabed included in the reserve under lease—be consistent with the Director’s obligations under the lease; and

(e) specify any limitation or prohibition on the exercise of a power, or performance of a function, under the EPBC Act in or in relation to the reserve; and

(f) specify any mining operation, major excavation or other work that may be carried on in the reserve, and the conditions under which it may be carried on; and

(g) specify any other operation or activity that may be carried on in the reserve; and

(h) indicate generally the activities that are to be prohibited or regulated in the reserve, and the means of prohibiting or regulating them; and

(i) indicate how the plan takes account of Australia’s obligations under each agreement with one or more other countries that is relevant to the reserve (including the World Heritage Convention and the Ramsar Convention, if appropriate); and

(j) if the reserve includes a National Heritage place:

(i) not be inconsistent with the National Heritage management principles; and

(ii) address the matters prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of paragraph 324S(4)(a); and

(k) if the reserve includes a Commonwealth Heritage place:

(i) not be inconsistent with the Commonwealth Heritage management principles; and

(i) address the matters prescribed by regulations made for the purposes of paragraph 341S(4)(a).


In preparing a management plan the EPBC Act (s.368) also requires account to be taken of various matters. In respect to Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park these matters include:

-       the traditional owners of the park

-       any other Indigenous persons interested in the park

-       any person who has a usage right relating to land, sea or seabed in the park that existed (or is derived from a usage right that existed) immediately before the park was declared

In addition to assigning a Commonwealth reserve to an IUCN protected area category, a management plan may divide a Commonwealth reserve into zones and assign each zone to an IUCN category. The category to which a zone is assigned may differ from the category to which the reserve is assigned (s.367(2)).

The provisions of a management plan must not be inconsistent with the management principles for the IUCN category to which the reserve or a zone of the reserve is assigned (s.367(3)). See Section 3 for information on Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park’s IUCN category.

The park is owned by the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust (representing Ngurarita) and leased to the Director of National Parks as a national park. The Lease expires on 25 October 2084. With the exception of the term, the provisions of the Lease may be reviewed by the Land Trust, the Central Land Council and the Director every five years, or at any agreed time. Five years before the Lease expires the Land Trust and the Director will negotiate for its renewal or extension. The Land Trust and the Director may agree in writing to terminate the Lease at any time.

If any legislation enacted in connection with the park is inconsistent with the Lease and substantially detrimental to the Land Trust or to ‘relevant Aboriginals’ in terms of the park’s administration, management or control, the Lease is deemed to be breached. Such action may lead to termination of the Lease on 18 months’ notice being given by the Land Trust, subject to an obligation to negotiate bona fide with a view to a new lease being granted.

Under the Lease the following rights of ‘relevant Aboriginals’ are reserved, subject to the directions or decisions of the Board and any such reasonable constraints mentioned within the management plan:


The Director’s responsibilities under the Lease include:

The full provisions of the Lease at the time of preparing this plan are at Appendix A.

This management plan must take account of Australia’s obligations under relevant international agreements. The following agreements are relevant to the park and are taken into account in this management plan.

The World Heritage Convention is an international agreement which encourages countries to ensure the protection of their natural and cultural heritage which has outstanding universal value. The convention aims to define and conserve the world’s most outstanding heritage places by drawing up a list of sites whose outstanding universal value should be preserved for all humanity and to ensure their protection through cooperation among nations. Parties to the Convention undertake to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit to future generations the World Heritage sites on their territory.

Australia was one of the first countries in the world to ratify the convention, which came into force in 1975. At the time of preparing this plan, the park is one of only 25 World Heritage sites listed for both its natural and cultural heritage.

The listing of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park as a World Heritage Cultural Landscape provides international recognition of Tjukurpa as a major religious philosophy which links Anangu to their environment. Appendix B summarises the park’s World Heritage criteria and attributes.

In 1995 the Director and the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Board of Management were awarded the Picasso Gold Medal, UNESCO’s highest award, for outstanding efforts to preserve the landscape and Anangu culture and for setting new international standards for World Heritage management.

CAMBA provides for China and Australia to cooperate in the protection of migratory birds listed in the annex to the agreement and their environment, and requires each country to take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment of migratory birds. Thirteen species listed under this agreement occur in the park.

JAMBA provides for Japan and Australia to cooperate in taking measures for the management and protection of migratory birds, birds in danger of extinction, and the management and protection of their environments, and requires each country to take appropriate measures to preserve and enhance the environment of birds protected under the provisions of the agreement. Fourteen species listed under this agreement occur in the park.

ROKAMBA provides for the Republic of Korea and Australia to cooperate in taking measures for the management and protection of migratory birds and their habitat by providing a forum for the exchange of information, support for training activities and collaboration on migratory bird research and monitoring activities. Twelve species listed under this agreement occur in the park.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian migratory species throughout their range. Parties to this convention work together to conserve migratory species and their habitats. Eleven species listed under this convention occur in the park.

Species that are listed under the above migratory agreements and conventions are listed species under Part 13 of the EPBC Act. Appendix G to this management plan describes listed migratory species found in the park.

In January 1977 Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park was accepted as a biosphere reserve under the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Man and the Biosphere Programme, an international network of biosphere reserves that aims to protect and preserve examples of the world’s major ecosystem types.

 


Part 2 – How the park will be managed

The park is managed in accordance with a designated IUCN protected area category and relevant management principles.

Nganana National park tjukarurungku atunymankupai.
   © Tony Tjamiwa
We are protecting this national park according to our Law. ©

As noted in Section 2.6, the EPBC Act requires this management plan to assign the park to an IUCN category. The EPBC Regulations prescribe the management principles for each IUCN category. The category to which the park is assigned is guided by the purposes for which the park was declared (see Section 2.4, Legislative context). The purposes for which Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park was declared are consistent with the characteristics for IUCN protected area category II ‘national park’.

Policy

3.1.1 The park is assigned to IUCN protected area category II ‘national park’ and will be managed in accordance with the management principles set down in Schedule 8 of the EPBC Regulations and listed in Appendix H:

-        Natural and scenic areas of national and international significance should be protected for spiritual, scientific, educational, recreational or tourist purposes.

-        Representative examples of physiographic regions, biotic communities, genetic resources, and native species should be perpetuated in as natural a state as possible to provide ecological stability and diversity.

-        Visitor use should be managed for inspirational, educational, cultural and recreational purposes at a level that will maintain the reserve or zone in a natural or near natural state.

-        Management should seek to ensure that exploitation or occupation inconsistent with these principles does not occur.


-        Respect should be maintained for the ecological, geomorphologic, sacred and aesthetic attributes for which the reserve or zone was assigned to this category.

-        The needs of Indigenous people should be taken into account, including subsistence resource use, to the extent that they do not conflict with these principles.

-        The aspirations of traditional owners of land within the reserve or zone, their continuing land management practices, the protection and maintenance of cultural heritage and the benefit the traditional owners derive from enterprises established in the reserve or zone, consistent with these principles, should be recognised and taken into account.

Joint management is Nguraritja and Parks Australia working together, consulting and sharing decision-making to manage the park. Joint management is based on mutual trust and respect, working together as equals, and sharing knowledge. At the heart of joint management for Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is the commitment to look after country and culture by keeping Tjukurpa strong and meeting obligations under Piranpa law. Joint management also aims to ensure visitors have the best opportunity to enjoy, share in and appreciate the park and Anangu culture.

The park is managed to the highest standards for protection of natural and cultural values and provision of quality visitor experiences and for Nguraritja to meet their obligations to country and satisfy their aspirations for benefits from land ownership. Parks Australia and Nguraritja will work together to make shared and informed, consistent, transparent and accountable decisions.

Law Kutjaraku ngaranyi tjunguringkunytjaku munu pula ara tjutangka wirura ngaranytjaku. Law kutjara watalpi tjunguringu munulta kuwari ngaranyi kunpuntjaku kutju. Mara Kutjara tjunguringkula pulkara kunpungku witini.
   © Tony Tjamiwa

There are two laws to be joined and both sets of law need to be properly respected. The two laws have been brought together already and now only the bond needs to be strengthened - like two interlocking hands really strongly held together. ©

The Director of National Parks and Nguraritja have entered into an agreement to jointly manage the park. Joint management is based on Aboriginal title to the land through the Land Rights Act and on the Lease between the Director and the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust, which


contains conditions about matters that should be addressed in the management of the park. Joint management is supported by a legal framework laid out in the EPBC Act, which requires the establishment of a Board of Management with a Nguraritja representative majority and the development of a management plan.

Successful joint management is based on a partnership of trust and commitment. At Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park joint management involves bringing together cultural and scientific knowledge and experience, working with different governance processes, and interweaving two law systems – Tjukurpa and Piranpa law. Making this work requires Nguraritja and Piranpa to learn together, learn from each other, respect each other’s culture and bring together the different approaches.

At the core of shared decision-making is the shared commitment to looking after country and culture by keeping Tjukurpa strong and meeting obligations under the EPBC Act and other Piranpa laws.

To manage the park, decisions must be made about a wide range of matters at many levels. The Director and Nguraritja share decision-making and consult relevant stakeholders, in accordance with the prescriptions (policies and actions) in this plan.

Joint management involves a range of partnerships – the Board of Management, Joint Management Partnership Team, Parks Australia and Anangu working together in day-to-day management, and Consultative Committees to advise the Board.

Board of Management

The Board of Management makes high level policy and strategic decisions about park management, and a majority of Board members must be nominated by Nguraritja. The functions of the Board under s.376 of the EPBC Act are:

-       prepare management plans for the park

-       monitor the management of the park

-       advise the Minister on all aspects of the future development of the park.

Director of National Parks

Under the EBPC Act the Director is responsible for the administration, management and control of the park, as well as the protection of biodiversity and heritage. The EPBC Act and Regulations provide the Director with specific powers to undertake these functions, including the power to determine park entry and use charges, control certain activities and issue permits. The Director must carry out these functions and use these powers in accordance with this plan and consistent with decisions of the Board that give effect to the plan.

The Director also has obligations under the Lease agreement to protect the interests and culture of Nguraritja. Together with the EPBC Act, the Lease is a key document for guiding decision-making, and the EPBC Act requires this plan to be consistent with the Director’s Lease obligations. The full provisions of the Lease at the time of making this plan are at Appendix A.


The Park Manager makes day-to-day management decisions and exercises powers on behalf of the Director in accordance with this plan, Board decisions, the EPBC Act and other legislation.

Central Land Council and Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust

The Central Land Council is established under the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976. As the representative of the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust, the Central Land Council plays an important role in the joint management of the park by assisting and representing the interests of Nguraritja, both within the park and in surrounding communities. The Central Land Council also helps ensure that the provisions of the Lease are upheld. Its functions under the Land Rights Act for the Central Land Council region include:

Under the Lease, the Central Land Council represents the Uluru–Kata Tjuta Aboriginal Land Trust and has specific functions–for example; negotiating lease conditions, receiving and distributing rent and other payments, being consulted in relation to the administration, management and control of the park; and providing a mechanism whereby the Director can consult with relevant Aboriginals and work in conjunction with Nguraritja in keeping with the requirements of the Park Lease and the management plan.

Under the EPBC Act and the Lease the Director is required to consult the Central Land Council about park management generally and in relation to preparation of management plans in particular.

The Central Land Council contributes to the development, implementation and monitoring of management plans in specific ways, including:

 


Community Liaison Officer

In accordance with the Lease conditions, the Director provides funding for the position of Community Liaison Officer, whose role is to liaise between the Mutitjulu Community and Parks Australia about management activities and present Mutitjulu Community views to the Board.

Joint Management Partnership Team

The Joint Management Partnership Team was established to help progress successful joint management of the park and discuss relevant Mutitjulu Community issues. At the time of preparing this plan, it comprises the Central Land Council Joint Management Officer, Community Liaison Officer, Board Secretary and Park Manager.

In addition to formal processes to assist joint management, park staff consult and make shared decisions with Nguraritja on a range of day-to-day management issues under guidelines developed by the Board in collaboration with the Central Land Council.

Board Consultative Committees

There are three Consultative Committees to assist the Board in making decisions: Tourism; Film and Photography; and Cultural Heritage and Scientific. These committees are created and operate under terms of reference determined by the Board and provide:

The committees comprise Nguraritja representatives, Parks Australia staff, Central Land Council representative, and experts in relevant fields.

Policies

4.1.1  The following principles will guide joint management of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park:

-        trust and mutual respect

-        Anangu and Piranpa working together as equals and sharing knowledge

-        respecting Tjukurpa

-        everyone having a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of all joint management partners

-        speaking honestly, openly and with compassion to one another.

4.1.2  The Board and the Director acknowledge the importance of maintaining Tjukurpa through:

-        appropriately consulting with Nguraritja in decision-making processes (see Table 1), giving high priority to Nguraritja responsibility for looking after country and maintaining the cultural landscape

-        continuing to engage senior Nguraritja as traditional consultants to set work directions and facilitate the intergenerational transfer of Anangu knowledge and skills to maintain the cultural landscape

-        providing opportunities for involvement of younger Nguraritja in park management activities

-        ensuring that presentation of the park aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of relevant management directions in maintaining Tjukurpa.

4.1.3 The Board and Director will continue to work through the park’s joint management partnerships to increase the effectiveness of the management arrangements.

4.1.4  Decision-making will be consistent with:

-        the EPBC Act and other relevant legislation

-        IUCN protected area category II ‘national park’, and applicable management principles for that category, as prescribed by Section 3 of this plan

-        the Director’s obligations under the Lease

-        the decision-making and consultation processes shown in Table 1.

4.1.5  Consultation with Nguraritja will be in accordance with consultation protocols determined by the Board and agreed with the Central Land Council.

4.1.6 The Director will provide the Board with the resources reasonably necessary for it to carry out its functions under the EPBC Act, and all members of the Board will continue to receive training in their legal and policy roles and responsibilities.

4.1.7  Joint management activities will be undertaken in ways that assist Anangu participation, for example, holding meetings at appropriate locations and providing interpreters where required.

4.1.8 Within operational constraints, staff participation in appropriate activities, such as cultural activities, will be facilitated to further support joint management.

4.1.9  Where stakeholders’ interests will be affected they will, as far as practicable:

-        be consulted in a timely and structured way


-        have their views taken into account

-        be provided with the reasons for decisions.

4.1.10 The following Consultative Committees, established by and operating under terms of reference determined by the Board, will continue with their roles until otherwise determined by the Board:

(a) Tourism Consultative Committee, established to consult with the tourism industry and to provide advice to the Board on:

         tourism and visitor services

         appropriate planning and infrastructure for tourism

         tourism development proposals

         appropriate marketing of the park

         planning and coordination of tourism-related research and data collection

         management of commercial tourism activities in the park.

(b) Cultural Heritage and Scientific Consultative Committee, established to provide advice to the Board on:

         engaging relevant senior Anangu in making key decisions relevant to science and cultural heritage management

         programs of work for cultural and natural heritage management

         monitoring and evaluation of cultural and natural heritage work

         links between cultural heritage matters inside and outside the park.

(c) Film and Photography Consultative Committee, established to provide advice to the Board on:

         film and photography issues relating to the park

         recommendations relating to permit applications

         improved communication between Anangu, park staff, film makers, photographers and the tourism industry

         identifying issues of concern such as breaches of the EPBC Act.

4.1.11 The Employment, Education and Training Committee will continue. The Committee will comprise two Board representatives and will provide support and guidance on Anangu employment and training in park management.

Actions

4.1.12 In conjunction with the Central Land Council, finalise the park’s consultation policy to ensure that Nguraritja are appropriately consulted on a range of park management matters and that decisions are properly recorded.

4.1.13 Deliver training as appropriate including:

-        cross-cultural awareness training at appropriate levels for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff

-        governance training (legal and policy) for Board of Management members

-        training to promote the understanding of joint management principles and to develop support for these principles through staff leadership and example.


Table 1 – Guide to decision-making

Category

Example

Decision-making process and consultation requirements

Routine actions

 

 

Actions that have no impact, or no more than a negligible impact, on the park’s environment and natural and cultural values; on the interests of Nguraritja, community members and/or stakeholders; and/or on visitor use or changes to existing facilities and services in the park

  • Minor capital works e.g. maintenance, replacement, repair or improvement of existing infrastructure in its present form
  • Regular/routine ongoing operations to implement prescriptions in this plan e.g. patrols, weed control, fire management
  • Minor new operations to implement prescriptions in this plan
  • Issuing permits for regular activities in accordance with this plan e.g. commercial activities and research
  • Process accords with management plan policies, actions and procedures and the park’s Manual of Procedures
  • Nguraritja, community members and/or stakeholders are consulted where necessary and in accordance with Board/CLC consultation guidelines
  • Decision is made by appropriate officer

 

 

Actions that have more than a negligible impact, or have a significant impact, on the park’s environment and natural and cultural values; on the interests of Nguraritja, community members and/or stakeholders; and/or on visitor use or changes to existing facilities and services in the park

 

  • Moderate or major capital works e.g. new infrastructure or expansion/upgrade of existing infrastructure such as realignment of roads
  • Rehabilitation of heavily eroded sites
  • Major new operations or developments to implement prescriptions in this plan e.g. the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku project
  • Developments for approved existing tourism activities that require major works
  • Major/long-term changes to existing visitor access arrangements
  • Tour operator accreditation system
  • New types of commercial activities
  • Issuing of leases/licences
  • Process accords with management plan policies, actions and procedures
  • Nguraritja, community members and stakeholders are consulted where necessary and in accordance with Board/CLC consultation guidelines
  • Consultative Committees are consulted as necessary
  • Relevant stakeholders are consulted/informed
  • Decision is made by Board of Management

CLC = Central Land Council

Through shared obligations, Nguraritja achieve their aspirations for continued cultural maintenance and secure futures for younger Nguraritja.

Nguraritja nyinanyi panya manta mantjintja, manta tjana mantjinu, munu nganana manta mantjira ka nganana ngurangka titutjara nyinanyi manta nganampa Ananguku alatjitu, atunymankunytjaku, warka mantjintjaku, kunpungku kanyintjikitjangku ngura nyara palunya nganana wiyaringkunyangka malatja tjutangku kunpungku kanyintjaku.
   © Elsie Wanatjura

Nguraritja have land rights, they got the land back. Having got the land back we continue living on our land, it truly is Aboriginal land, to protect it, to do work, and to strongly care for that country so that when we pass away, our children, our descendants are able to keep on looking after it strongly. ©

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is an Aboriginal landscape. While the park has been established to conserve its natural and cultural values, and to provide for appropriate visitor use, it is also a management objective that recognition be given to the rights of the traditional Aboriginal owners (Nguraritja). It is particularly important to Nguraritja that their children and future generations enjoy their rights, responsibilities and cultural understanding.

The interests of Nguraritja in the park stem principally from an individual’s or a group’s relationship to the land, as defined by Tjukurpa. The term Nguraritja is used by Anangu to describe all Aboriginal people who possess a traditional association with the land of the region. However, in this plan the term Nguraritja is used to describe the park’s traditional Aboriginal owners.

The term ‘traditional Aboriginal owners’ is defined in the Land Rights Act. In relation to the land, the term means a local descent group of Aboriginal people who:

(a) have common spiritual affiliations to a site on the land being affiliations that place the group under a primary spiritual responsibility for that site and for the land

(b) are entitled by Aboriginal tradition to forage as of right over that land.

The Lease refers to ‘relevant Aboriginals’ which includes all the traditional Aboriginal owners, plus Aboriginal people entitled to use or occupy the park and Aboriginal people permitted by them to reside in the park.

Under the Lease, the Director is required to encourage the maintenance of culture. In this way, the Lease agreement supports the wishes of Nguraritja to apply their knowledge and skills, to learn new skills by participating in programs that incorporate Anangu and Piranpa ways of


looking after country, and to pass this knowledge on to younger generations. Exercising cultural obligations includes recognition of both men’s and women’s responsibilities for traditions and looking after country.

Nguraritja continue to express a strong desire that at the heart of joint management considerations, is the opportunity for younger Nguraritja to learn about and participate in park management activities, and to learn about and exercise cultural obligations for maintaining Tjukurpa.

Section 359A of the EPBC Act states that the provisions of the Act and Regulations dealing with activities in Commonwealth reserves do not prevent traditional use of land by an Aboriginal person for non-commercial hunting or gathering, provided it is done in accordance with other applicable laws.

More generally, s.8 of the EPBC Act provides that the Act does not affect the operation of s.211 of the Native Title Act 1993 and s.71 of the Land Rights Act which provide for traditional use of land, including non-commercial hunting, fishing and gathering, by Aboriginal people.

The land has always provided for the economic well-being of Nguraritja. Traditionally, harvesting and using the park’s resources have provided the basis for their economy. Nguraritja want to continue their tradition of harvesting and using resources but they also want to benefit from their land in other, new ways.

Nguraritja expect to benefit from their land being managed as a national park through direct employment in the park and through contract services being provided by Anangu enterprises or jointly owned ventures. They seek greater benefit from the use of their land for tourism including the potential for some activities to be delivered solely by Anangu enterprises. This, of course, would not prevent partnerships between Piranpa and Anangu in developing tourism ventures. Anangu expect to be able to explore and develop new opportunities where these activities do not detract from park values. The Director has obligations through the Lease to assist Nguraritja in meeting these aspirations. The Park Lease conditions also state that Aboriginal business and commercial initiatives and enterprises in the park will be encouraged. There are external organisations that can assist Anangu to negotiate, establish and manage business ventures.

Within the region of the park, other Australian and Northern Territory Government agencies and regional Aboriginal associations are responsible for matters such as health, housing, education and employment. Recognising how important these issues are and supporting community development programs greatly assists in making joint management of the park strong and sustainable. It is also important to Nguraritja that they are partners in park management, and that the wider Australian community appreciates and respects their community and cultural values and priorities.

The success of the Land Rights Act in acquiring large amounts of land for Aboriginal people led to a significant movement of traditional landowners back onto their traditional land. Homelands, or outstations, are small communities usually consisting of one or two family groups built on land of particular traditional significance to that family. Some homelands are occupied full time, while others are occupied on an occasional or temporary basis. Homeland development is a high priority for Nguraritja.


Factors influencing the extent of development and occupancy of homelands include location (including distance from existing communities and facilities), access (including existence and condition of roads, availability of vehicles), and the availability of water and shelter. There are several homelands located outside the park on the Petermann and Katiti Aboriginal Land Trusts. Some of these have potential for small-scale tourism enterprise development.

Under the Closing the Gap initiative, the Australian Government and state and territory governments through the Council of Australian Governments have set ambitious targets for closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational attainment and employment outcomes. The Australian Government and the Northern Territory Government are providing funding to drive fundamental reforms in remote housing, health, early childhood development, jobs and improvements in remote service delivery in the region.

The Director and the Board of Management are working together with the service delivery agencies to assist in the implementation of these reforms towards achieving the Closing the Gap goals and to benefit Nguraritja and other Indigenous Australians in the region.

Policies

4.2.1 In accordance with the Land Rights Act, Nguraritja will continue to exercise their traditional rights, including hunting and use of other resources in the park.

4.2.2 In accordance with the Land Rights Act and the Park Lease, the Board recognises that all Nguraritja have rights and opportunities in the park, in accordance with cultural traditions, including the right to seek employment opportunities. Other Anangu may also seek opportunities in the park, but only if approved by Nguraritja and, if appropriate, the Board.

4.2.3 The Director and Board recognise that Nguraritja have obligations to protect land and to maintain culture.

4.2.4 The Director will work with Nguraritja and relevant stakeholders to develop partnerships and other ways of increasing benefits for Nguraritja related to implementation of this plan. This may involve linking Nguraritja with people and organisations who can provide relevant skills development, advice and support, and appropriate development opportunities.


Action

4.2.5 Liaise with the Central Land Council and Nguraritja to create opportunities such as workshops, training and employment in the park for Nguraritja to learn about park management work. Creating opportunities for younger Nguraritja in particular should be considered a priority.

Anangu assume more responsibilities related to the administration, management and control of the park.

Anangu yangupala tjuta warkaku mukuringanyi panya tjukurpa wiru nintiringkunytjaku uwankara. Munu warka wiru putitja, Tjukurpa, paluru tjananya uwankara. Tjutangku yangupala nintiringkula kungka kulu-kulu park wiru palyantjaku. Nyaa Putitja tjuta nintintjaku putjikata tjuta tjina wanara nyakunytjaku, paluru tjanampa ka palulangnuru tjana nintiringanyi computerku – ngapartji ngapartji nintiringkunytjaku.
   © Andrew Taylor

Many young Anangu want to work and to learn about the proper way to do everything; good land management, provide information, all the different aspects of park work. The young men and as well as young women are learning to maintain the park well. In land management, they are show them, for example, how to track feral cats and then they are learning to use computers–to learn in turn.©

Ara nyangatja, ara panya yangupala malatja tjutakutu ara Tjukurpatjara tjakultjunkunytjaku. Tjukarurungku warkaku nintiringkunytjaku munu manta warkaringkula atunymankunytjaku Uluru–Kata Tjuta park-angka nguraritja tjutawanungku- warka tjukaruru munu Anangu tjukarurungku warka palyantjaku.
   © Imantura Richards

This is about the importance of passing on proper stories to new generations. To learn properly about the work and to do the land management to look after Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park guided by the traditional owners- to do the right work and work straight according to traditional law.©

Central to Tjukurpa is the concept that Nguraritja are responsible for looking after country. This responsibility entails obligations to current and future generations. These obligations are shared by Nguraritja and Parks Australia, and a prime objective of joint management is to make sure that traditional skills and knowledge and a ‘scientific’ approach complement each other in looking after the country of the park. Nguraritja have expressed their wish for Parks


Australia, as a joint management partner, to contribute current best-practice knowledge about park management to augment their traditional management practices. Looking after country together is one of the most successful expressions of joint management in the park.

The Lease includes obligations to protect and promote the interests of Nguraritja. These obligations involve providing training and employment opportunities to promote Aboriginal administration, management and control of the park; engaging as many ‘relevant Aboriginals’ as is practicable to provide services in and in relation to the park; taking reasonable steps to provide flexible working arrangements to meet the needs and culture of Nguraritja employed in the park; and utilising traditional skills and knowledge in the management of the park.

The park plays a significant role in the development of the broader community, and as such Parks Australia is a significant regional player. As there is a link between the uptake of employment opportunities and opportunities to stay on country, development of skills to enable this to occur and provision of park-based educational and employment opportunities is a significant investment towards helping Nguraritja achieve their aims.

The key drivers for park-based employment, education and training programs are:

During the 4th Plan, an average of 20 per cent of the Australian Public Service positions in the park were held by Indigenous people, some on a part-time basis at the request of Anangu. Considerably more Anangu were engaged in park employment on a casual basis, or in services supporting the park such as commercial tours and the broader tourism industry including work at the Yulara resort. The park also supported a number of traineeships for Anangu entering the park and Australian Public Service employment through a structured on-the-job learning program in conservation and land management, and provided additional learning and development opportunities to Anangu workers through the staff training program.

The Junior Ranger program provides opportunities for Nguraritja to transfer traditional skills and knowledge to future generations, with both the Mutitjulu Primary School and Nyangatjatjara College participating in regular activities.

A number of agencies have responsibilities for providing training and education including job-readiness, literacy and numeracy, providing opportunities for Indigenous training and employment programs and for creating opportunities for Indigenous enterprise.

Policies

4.3.1 Parks Australia will work together with the Joint Management Partnership Team and senior Nguraritja to facilitate the employment and training of Anangu in park management through culturally responsive and flexible work and training arrangements.

4.3.2 Anangu will have access to education, training and employment opportunities provided by the Director.

4.3.3 A range of employment opportunities will continue to be provided including full-time, casual and consultancy work, as well as the engagement of Nguraritja for their traditional knowledge and skills.

4.3.4 The Director will provide opportunities for Anangu to develop skills relevant to park management and the Australian Public Service. This will be done through, but not limited to:


-        consulting Nguraritja on employment, education and training issues affecting Anangu staff and the Mutitjulu Community

-        tailoring training activities to the learning needs of Anangu, addressing in particular literacy and numeracy levels and work readiness capacity

-        developing a career pathway for Anangu which provides opportunities for Anangu to engage in park activities from primary school age to senior years

-        supporting Anangu employment by providing cross-cultural training for all non-Anangu staff

-        forming an alliance with relevant schools to provide an ongoing work experience program that supports structured workplace learning, industry orientation and school-based apprenticeships

-        supporting Nguraritja to ensure that traditional skills are documented and taught to future generations, while also learning about non-Anangu ways of park management, business and work including activities such as Junior Rangers.

4.3.5 The Director recognises the need for employment of Anangu (both men and women) for continued maintenance and protection of cultural values.

4.3.6 The position of Anangu Training Officer will be maintained unless otherwise determined by the Board.

Actions

4.3.7 Continue to support the Education, Training and Employment Committee.

4.3.8 As a high priority develop an intergenerational employment and training strategy that supports Anangu in developing skills for employment in park management. This strategy will include developing career pathways into the Australian Public Service and providing flexible employment opportunities.

4.3.9 Liaise with key stakeholders and government agencies to support the Mutitjulu Community in understanding the role of workers and their responsibilities, as well
as developing work readiness capacity.

4.3.10 Establish partnerships with relevant training organisations to provide opportunities for training and employment, including developing a partnership with relevant local schools (those with large numbers of Anangu students) for the delivery of work experience and structured workplace learning.

4.3.11 Provide opportunities for Anangu to engage in the park Staff Training Program and on-the-job training activities to ensure essential safety and park management skills are developed, in accordance with the Director’s obligations.

4.3.12 Implement the park mentoring program in which Indigenous staff work with more senior staff for a specified period to acquire new technical, scientific or management skills.

4.3.13 Facilitate and support a traditional knowledge program in which Anangu are engaged for their traditional knowledge and skills (including as contractors).

4.3.14 Support the establishment of working on country initiatives that provide opportunities for Anangu employment and training in the park and on surrounding Indigenous Protected Areas.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is a living cultural landscape. Management and use of the land by past and present generations of Anangu in accordance with Tjukurpa has helped to shape the country we see today. The park is representative of arid environments in Central Australia, with a wide range of species including many that are endangered or have limited distribution. Maintaining healthy landscapes will help to maintain the park’s World Heritage values.

Anangu will be involved in all aspects of natural and cultural heritage management. Anangu and Parks Australia will work together and share knowledge, to look after country. Anangu right to use country for customary purposes will be respected.

Opportunities for younger generations of Anangu to learn and participate in caring for country will be a priority in all these activities.

The park’s cultural landscape values are maintained through the ongoing use and appropriate protection of Anangu cultural knowledge.

Tjilpingku munu pampangku ara tjuta kanyini katangka; tjana mukuringanyi yangupala tjutangku ara tjutaku nintiringkunytjaku. Yaaltji-yaaltji warkaringkunytjaku munu nintintjaku Tjukurpa?
   © Mary Kaiu Kaiu

Old people have all the cultural knowledge in their heads; they want young people to learn the stories and history. What work should be done to hold onto the knowledge and teach Tjukurpa? ©


Nguraritja tjuta tjana mantu ,tjana ma pamparinganyi tjilpiringanyi ka tjana mukuringanyi tjitji malatja tjutangku runamilentjaku ngulaku munu tjanampa tjitji ku.
   © Nyinku Jingo

Naturally the traditional owners, the senior women and men are growing older, and  they want their children to be able to run the park in the future, and their children in turn. ©

Aboriginal people have always been associated with Uluru. According to Anangu, the landscape was created by ancestral beings. Anangu are their direct descendants and are responsible for protecting and managing country. The knowledge to fulfil these responsibilities has been passed down from generation to generation through Tjukurpa.

It is this ongoing relationship with the land that led to the park being included on the World Heritage List for its cultural landscape values in 1994, the Commonwealth Heritage List in 2004 and the National Heritage List in 2007.

Looking after country in accordance with Tjukurpa is a prime responsibility shared by Parks Australia and Anangu within the framework of joint management.

Anangu maintain a detailed body of knowledge about the park, and preserving this knowledge through recording Anangu oral history and traditional knowledge is vital to the success of land management in the park and the region, both now and into the future.

A Cultural Heritage Action Plan was prepared during the 4th Management Plan. This plan provides guidance on the conservation of a range of cultural sites and material which are of great cultural, contemporary and archaeological significance.

Maintenance of cultural landscape values is also facilitated through:

Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property

Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (or ICIP) is a term used to describe Indigenous cultural material. To Anangu it is important to protect their ICIP, which includes:


Tjukurpa provides rules that traditionally protected ICIP from inappropriate access and use by Anangu and other Aboriginal people. However ICIP has been and is now accessed and used by non-Anangu for a range of purposes, including in management of the park; by the tourism and advertising industries; by filmmakers, photographers and creative artists; by academics; and by scientific researchers (including those involved in bioprospecting).

Anangu have said that they have two main concerns about ICIP. First, being able to control and manage use of ICIP through:

The second thing that Anangu want is to have appropriate control over how ICIP is used,
including: recognising Anangu as the owners; Anangu sharing in the benefits (monetary and
non-monetary) from use of ICIP; and to have the capacity to monitor use.

Some aspects of ICIP can be protected under the EPBC Act and EPBC Regulations, such as image capture (see Section 6.6, Filming, photography and audio recording); access to sacred sites and other significant sites (see Section 6.2, Access and site management); and bioprospecting (see Section 8.4, Research, monitoring and knowledge management). Anangu may be able to make use of other laws and legal rules to protect aspects of ICIP,for example the Copyright Act 1968 (including performer’s rights and moral rights), Trade Marks Act 1995, Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act (NT), breach of confidence and contracts. However at the time of preparing this plan there are no laws that protect all aspects of ICIP.

During the life of the 4th Plan the Board commissioned a report on management of ICIP. The Board considered this report and some actions have been implemented as a result. For example, the guidelines for conducting commercial filming and photography have been revised to improve protection of things that are important to Anangu while making it easier to work in the park (see Section 6.6). Other actions to address key recommendations are included in this plan.

Policies

5.1.1 Park management activities will support and respect Tjukurpa to maintain cultural landscape values. In doing so it is acknowledged that the links to neighbouring lands have direct implications for the practice and maintenance of Tjukurpa associated with the cultural landscape values of the park.

5.1.2 Maintaining Anangu cultural knowledge and skills will be recognised as important park work by:

-        observing Anangu priorities for cultural heritage management

-        applying Anangu knowledge and skills in park management programs

-        facilitating the intergenerational transfer of Anangu knowledge and skills

-        providing opportunities for younger Anangu to be involved in the above.

5.1.3 Parks Australia will work in close liaison with the Central Land Council to seek to ensure that the ICIP rights of Nguraritja are protected in relation to access to and use of stories, language, images, inma, traditional knowledge, cultural objects and other aspects of ICIP. This may include developing suitable permit conditions, consent forms and agreements, in consultation with key stakeholders such as the tourism industry.

5.1.4 Parks Australia will use written consents and agreements that include clear, understood terms and conditions and, where appropriate, provide reasonable benefits to Anangu (which may include payment of fees and royalties) for engagement of Anangu artists and performers by Parks Australia, or use of other Anangu ICIP for park business, as outlined in Policy 5.1.3. Records of all such agreements will be maintained.

5.1.5 Applicants for permits will be required to provide evidence of agreements with Anangu or their representatives where the permit applicant wishes to use Anangu artists and performers in permitted activities, or where Anangu will be asked to give the permit holder access to their ICIP.

5.1.6 The Director will consider ICIP in discussions with the Central Land Council in any review of the Lease, with a view to including appropriate clauses.

5.1.7 The Board will develop a policy to better guide the management of ICIP in the park.


Actions

5.1.8 Support senior Anangu in teaching younger Anangu and park staff traditional knowledge and skills associated with management of the park.

5.1.9 Work with Anangu to record oral histories; identify priorities for recordings; and establish procedures for cataloguing, storing and using the material.

5.1.10 Work with other agencies in the ongoing development and maintenance of programs to help maintain traditional knowledge and language.

5.1.11 Develop with the Central Land Council standard agreements and consents for Parks Australia to engage artists and performers, and for the use of other ICIP material.

Effective and culturally appropriate management of the tangible aspects of cultural heritage contributes to maintaining the park’s cultural landscape values.

Tjukurpa tjuta ngaranyi, tjukuritja tjuta atunymankunytjaku; ngura miil-miilpa watiku minymaku ngaranyi, walka tjukurpa tjuta tjana kulpingka tjunu nyakunytjaku Ananguku nyakula kulintjaku, tjiwa tjuta ngaranyi kapingka itingka tjana mai rungkalpai. Tjunguringkula warkaripai ranger tjutangku munu Anangu kumunitingku ngura atunymankunytjaku.
   © Rupert Goodwin

There is a lot of Tjukurpa, many important things associated with Anangu law and life to look after; there are men’s and women’s sacred places, many paintings in the rock shelters that they put there for Anangu to see and understand the stories, grindstones near water where they ground bush foods. Rangers and Anangu from the community work together to protect the place. ©

The tangible aspects of cultural heritage, such as individual sites, rock art and archaeological material, are all part of the park’s cultural landscape.

An essential component of keeping Tjukurpa strong is the maintenance of traditional ceremonial activities. While such matters are very much the responsibility of Anangu, the park can assist by ensuring that significant sites are accessible to Anangu whilst being protected from unauthorised or inappropriate use or access.


The Land Rights Act and the EPBC Act and Regulations provide for formal legal protection of sacred sites and other sites in the park of significance to Anangu. The Aboriginal Sacred Sites Act (NT) and the Heritage Conservation Act (NT) are also relevant to the protection of sacred sites and certain objects.

However, access to many parts of the park has been negotiated and agreed with Nguraritja. In these areas, park visitors have opportunities to learn about Anangu and the park’s cultural values.

Key work undertaken to protect significant sites during the 4th Plan included conservation work on rock art sites; erosion control to protect sites; realignment of the walking track away from the male sacred site, Warayuki; and extensive weed removal from the female sacred site, Pulari. Map 4 shows some Anangu place names at Uluru.

During the previous plan the Uluru ring road was realigned to enable water flows to the south-western habitats around the base of Uluru and to reduce access to Pulari. The Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area was opened in October 2009, providing a major new visitor facility at a culturally appropriate site.

Archaeological materials and rock art are also essential components of the cultural landscape. Anangu history can be reconstructed in part from archaeological materials and rock art as well as from the personal histories of people living in the park today. In addition, archaeological sites document the park’s history of Aboriginal use in Central Australia and how this may have changed through time.

Two databases are used in the park to facilitate appropriate storage of and access to cultural material. The Cultural Site Management System was developed in the park and stores digital images and sound recordings. Ara Irititja is a regionally used database that the park contributes to in partnership with the South Australian Museum and other Western Desert communities. Keeping places are provided for physical materials.

Increasingly, material associated with the cultural history and traditions of the park, stored in other areas, is coming to light. Repatriation of this cultural material is important to Anangu. The Director has responsibilities to assist Anangu in protecting cultural areas within the park and protecting material of cultural significance. There are also government agencies and other bodies that have particular expertise and responsibilities more generally for these matters. As Nguraritja are culturally part of a much larger region, the repatriation of cultural material, especially moveable objects, may have implications at the broader regional level.

During the 4th Plan, a Cultural Heritage and Scientific Consultative Committee was established to advise the Board on a range of matters. It comprises Anangu, scientists, a representative from the Central Land Council, cultural heritage specialists and park staff (see also Policy 4.1.1).


Policies

5.2.1 The principles for cultural heritage management in the park are that it:

-        is a joint management initiative controlled by senior Anangu men and women

-        includes training in, and application of, western scientific conservation skills as well as traditional skills

-        requires the development and use of Anangu skills in planning, administration, budgeting, policy development and implementation

-        needs the involvement of Parks Australia and Community rangers

-        extends beyond the park’s boundaries

-        is subject to management guidelines approved by the Board, where Parks Australia’s resources are used.

5.2.2 Access to sites of significance may be restricted at the request of Nguraritja, and the Director may restrict or prohibit access in accordance with EPBC Regulations (see Section 6.2, Access and site management).

5.2.3 Environmental impact assessments for development proposals in the park will include consideration of potential impacts on archaeological and other cultural sites and intangible cultural heritage.

Actions

5.2.4 On advice from the Cultural Heritage and Scientific Consultative Committee, review and amend as required, and implement, the Cultural Heritage Action Plan.

5.2.5 Liaise with Nguraritja, through the Central Land Council and other relevant agencies if required, to identify protocols for the repatriation of cultural materials and, where agreed, return materials to more appropriate owners and keeping places. Any solution must take account of culturally appropriate ways of storing, accessing, and presenting cultural material.

5.2.6 Continue the rock art maintenance program in consultation with Nguraritja. This will include rock art maintenance training and recording of routine site assessments in the Cultural Site Management System.

5.2.7 Arrange for expert conservation assessment of rock art sites.

5.2.8 Liaise with Nguraritja to agree on priorities for archaeological assessments across the park.

5.2.9 Maintain the Cultural Site Management System and Ara Irititja as appropriate.

 


4.2      Map 4 – Some Anangu place names at Uluru

 

Threats to the park’s landscape are minimised as far as practicable.

Kapi ngangkalingka pitjapai ngalya puyilpai tjaru wanipai ka kapi pulka ngaripai kuka kutjupa tjuta tjikintjikitja punu kulu-kulu. Kutjupara kapi rawa walatjura ukalingkula ma karuringkula karuringkupailta ma wiyaringkupai.
   © Rupert Goodwin

When the rain clouds come and it rains, water flows down and there are sheets of water on the ground for the animals as well as the plants to drink .Sometimes when it rains continuously the water cascades down Uluru and gradually forms deep creek lines. Water runs out along these. ©

The major features of the landscape are Uluru and Kata Tjuta, and the Sedimentaries to the north of the park. According to western science, all were formed by the folding and upthrust of rock strata during earth movements, and subsequent erosion of this strata leaving behind the above ground monoliths.

Uluru is a red sandstone rock formation 9.4 kilometres in circumference rising to a height of over 340 metres above the plain. Kata Tjuta is comprised of 36 steep-sided conglomerate domes of basaltic and granite gravel, cemented by sand and mud. The domes cover an area of 35 square kilometres, with the highest point over 500 metres above the surrounding plain. Anangu explanations of the formation of Uluru and Kata Tjuta derive from Tjukurpa.

Surrounding these exposed rock features the landscape is dominated by sand dunes, sandplains and alluvium deposited by water flows from Uluru, Kata Tjuta, the Sedimentaries and, to a lesser extent, from the Britten Jones Creek and the creeks that flow from Kata Tjuta.

Allan (1984) grouped these features into three broad land systems:

The landscape features of the park and their ongoing geological processes are recognised in the park’s World Heritage inscription.


Anangu adopt a broad categorisation of habitats in the park by reference to characteristics such as landform, soil, vegetation, fire state, and animal inhabitants:

Erosion is a particular concern in some of these areas. Vehicle use by early visitors around the base of Uluru resulted in severe gully erosion. In addition, the Uluru Ring Road was built above the natural ground level in places, which has significantly altered the sheet flow and caused significant erosion (see section 5.5, Surface water and groundwater).

A further threat to the park’s landscape values is souveniring by visitors. The park regularly receives pieces of Uluru being returned by visitors. Nguraritja are becoming increasingly concerned and would like to improve visitor education to reduce the problem.

Sections 355 and 355A of the EPBC Act provide that no mining operations be carried out in the park unless authorised in accordance with a management plan. The Board has determined that mining is not compatible with the park’s World Heritage listing. Mining has not been permitted since the park’s establishment, with the exception of minor sand and gravel extraction for park management purposes.

Sections 354 and 354A of the EPBC Act provide that an excavation must not be carried out unless in accordance with a management plan, and Regulation 12.16 of the EPBC Regulations prohibits fossicking, and introduction, disturbance or removal of minerals, clay, sand, stone or other earth materials, unless undertaken in accordance with a management plan. (For access to gravel and other materials outside the park see Section 8.7, Resource use in park operations).

Policies

5.3.1 The park’s natural resource management programs will be run in accordance with priorities determined for the various ecological communities across the park (see also Section 5.9, Fire management).

5.3.2 No mining operations will be carried out in the park, other than minor extraction of sand and gravel for park management operations in accordance with strict controls over visual, environmental and cultural impacts (see also Section 8.5, Assessment of proposals).

5.3.3 Park management activities within the park, particularly in the Gillen land system, will take account of these systems’ susceptibility to erosion.

5.3.4 The Director will only issue a permit for taking rocks, soil or gravel into or out of the park in exceptional circumstances, where the proposal demonstrates clear benefits to the park.

5.3.5 Bringing gravel in for road or site construction or road maintenance will not require a permit and will be managed in accordance with the park’s environmental impact assessment procedures (see Section 8.5, Assessment of proposals).

Actions

5.3.6 Educate visitors about the park’s cultural landscape values and the importance of not taking rocks and soil away.

5.3.7 Monitor and maintain existing erosion measures and monitor any new roadworks or other infrastructure for erosion and treat promptly.

Park management programs adapt to take account of new information about climate change.

Kuka-nya tjana panya ngura iriti ngayulu nyangu ilunyangka piltiringkunyangka ukiri wiyangka kapi wiyangka. Nganana kuwari kulini nyakukatinytjikitjangku, nyakula kulilpai, munta wiyaringu mulapa kapi wiyangka, ukiri wiyangka, inuntji wiyangka. Mai ngalkula pukulpa nyinapai animal tjuta.
   © Imantura Richards

Long ago I saw that the animals died as things dried out and there was no green grass or water available for them. Now we are thinking about monitoring to see and understand what is happening to the fauna, or they could really disappear at times when there is no rain, no green grasses or fresh growth. With food to eat animals are happy. ©


The park’s values are potentially exposed to a number of impacts associated with climate change. The park is likely to be most vulnerable to increased annual average temperatures (with up to +5.1°C projected by 2070) and increased potential evaporation (with up to +17% projected by 2070). An increase in the number of days over 35°C (+36 by 2030 and +102 by 2070) is also projected. Rainfall total is not predicted to vary much from the present, but may result from more intense rainfall events. With increased evaporation, the overall result is likely to be a net loss of surface water (Hyder 2008).

While climate change projections are uncertain, reducing existing threats to particularly vulnerable species can help to optimise their resilience to changing climatic conditions. Some species dependent on refuges with ephemeral water supplies may be particularly susceptible. Changing conditions could lead to altered vegetation structure and therefore altered fire regimes.

In the life of the 4th Plan a range of landscape and biodiversity monitoring/research programs were conducted including landscape change studies. These and other similar programs provide valuable baseline data to detect landscape and biodiversity changes in the park and will help to monitor climate change impacts in the future (see also Section 8.4, Research, monitoring and knowledge management).

Changing climatic conditions also have implications for visitor comfort and safety and consequently management of visitor services and facilities (see Section 6.3, Visitor activities and experiences for further discussion).

In 2006 the Director commissioned a study of the potential implications of climate change for management of Commonwealth reserves, including Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park (Hyder 2008). The results of this investigation will contribute to an improved understanding of and preparedness for changing conditions at in the park (see also Section 8.7, Resource use in park operations).

-       biodiversity – changes in the abundance and distribution of some animal and plant species and an increased risk in the spread of exotic plant and animal species.

-       extreme weather – increased frequency of extreme heat days and rainfall events

-       fire – altered fire regimes

-       Anangu use of the park – possible changes in access to certain food sources

-       human health – increase in heat related illness and in injuries from extreme weather events (see Section 6.8, Visitor safety).

Policy

5.4.1 If parts of the landscape are changing in ways that are of concern the Director and the Board, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, will jointly decide on further monitoring requirements, and whether protective, rehabilitation or adaptation measures are feasible. If cost effective, appropriate responses and actions will be implemented.

Actions

5.4.2 Identify priorities for and support further research into the impacts of climate change. Use this information to refine decisions about acceptable change (see Section 8.4, Research, monitoring and knowledge management).

5.4.3 Develop and implement a climate change strategy for the park.

5.4.4 Modify park management programs as required in response to improved understanding of climate change impacts (See Section 8.6.6).

Palya palatja atunymankunytjaku, tjitji malatja tjutaku nyakunytjaku, bore wiya kapi tjunu irititja tjukurpa paluru tjanampa nintiringkunytjaku.

   © Colin Nipper

That’s good to look after the original water sources, for our children to see the soakages of long ago when there were no bores, and to learn the important knowledge associated with them. ©

Rainfall in the arid zone is low, highly unpredictable and highly variable both in amount and where it falls. The average annual rainfall for the region is 200–300 millimetres but this varies greatly. Major rainfalls are rare and very important, hydrologically and ecologically, in recharging groundwater systems and driving the boom and bust cycles of the desert ecosystems. Disruption to flows can have adverse effects on soils and vegetation.

Water sources in the park are important places in Tjukurpa. Knowledge of the location and temporal availability of water sources is an essential component of Anangu ability to


survive when travelling through country. The science of hydrology broadly divides the park’s waters into two categories: surface and subsurface.

Surface water

The Mutitjulu waterhole at the base of Uluru is the only perennial water body in the park. After heavy rains surface water may be present for varying periods in the waterholes and drainage lines associated with the gorges of Uluru and Kata Tjuta and the claypans and depressions associated with mulga communities in the park.

These relatively moist environments in the vicinity of Uluru and Kata Tjuta provide habitat for rare, relict and unusual species, and have been identified as extremely significant refugia in the arid lands (Morton et al. 1995).

Groundwater

Groundwater is the only reliable water supply in the region. There are two main aquifer systems in the park: the Dune Plains Aquifer, from which Yulara draws its water supply via a bore under licence from the Northern Territory Controller of Water; and the Southern Aquifer, on which the Mutitjulu Community, Park Headquarters and the Cultural Centre depend.

The Dune Plains Aquifer is related to an ancient buried palaeodrainage line or palaeoriver that at its maximum was about 60 metres deep, emanated from the south of the Kata Tjuta complex, flowed eastwards towards present-day Yulara, then swung to the north along the eastern edge of the Sedimentaries to Lake Amadeus. Recharge of the Dune Plains Aquifer is associated with runoff from the Sedimentaries in response to rare major rainfall events such as those occurring in 1989 and 1999–2000. Much of the park’s mulga habitat is associated with this area – mulga supports many of the park’s threatened species and is particularly significant for many bird species.

The Southern Aquifer is quite distinct from the Dune Plains Aquifer and is not hydrologically connected. Groundwater levels are directly influenced by runoff from Uluru. Following the removal of tourist accommodation from the park, water extraction from the Southern Aquifer dropped dramatically and there was an associated rise in the groundwater level.

The capacity and levels of use of both aquifers have been reviewed (AGT 2003). Water use within the park was considered to be sustainable based on projected growth of the Mutitjulu Community and on historical rainfall annual averages. Long-term water use at Yulara, based on historical use and rainfall averages, was less certain and further investigation was recommended.

The aquifer review also found that while there was not conclusive evidence to suggest that the region’s flora and fauna were directly dependent on groundwater, there was insufficient understanding of the issue to rule out any linkages (AGT 2003).

These investigations were undertaken prior to the release of the recent predictions on climate change and its potential impacts on Central Australia. Latest climate change predictions suggest that overall rainfall in Central Australia is unlikely to increase and may reduce, though there may be an increase in extreme weather events. The impact of climate change predictions on the future of water supply in the Northern Territory has been identified as a major area requiring further investigation (Hennessy et al. 2004).


Late in the life of the 4th Plan, the Northern Territory Government was considering establishing a Water Control District covering the park and adjacent Katiti Land Trust lands (see also Section 8.6, Resource use in park operations).

Waterholes

Anangu recognise four main kinds of water sources (Layton 1986). The most reliable water sources are large waterholes or springs, which are considered to be the home of wanampi (water snakes), Tjukurpa creatures. Wanampi are the guardians of the water source they reside in and they control use and access to the water.

Soaks (tjunu) arise from an underground supply. The supply is a superficial and purely local water table in the sand of a dry creek bed or in the soil on the margin of a rock dome. Soaks are fairly reliable because the water is protected from evaporation by the sandy surface.

Waterholes (tjukula) occur on exposed platforms in the gullies of Uluru and Kata Tjuta and are not protected by sand or soil. The least reliable source of water is the claypan (tjintjira), which is particularly susceptible to evaporation.

Anangu cons ider that all these water sources are caused by, and have continuing associations with, Tjukurpa, so their maintenance is of prime importance to Anangu.

Policies

5.5.1 Construction and other activities in the park will be undertaken in such a way as not to interrupt the natural flow of water and will avoid disrupting natural drainage lines.

5.5.2 Swimming by visitors will not be permitted in the park’s waterholes.


Actions

5.5.3 Monitor the waterholes for human health and the health of the ecosystem generally.

5.5.4 Ensure public awareness of the importance of waterholes and why it is essential not to foul waterholes.

5.5.5 Liaise with relevant bodies to consider water management issues affecting the park and Yulara including:

-        improving understanding of the aquifer systems, the Dune Plains Aquifer in particular, and establish sustainable extraction levels

-        improving understanding of the link between the Dune Plains Aquifer and biological richness on the Borefields

-        commissioning an aquifer vulnerability study to assess the risk of potential groundwater contamination.

5.5.6 Adjust management programs and activities in the light of new information.

5.5.7 Noting Chapter 7.1 Mutitjulu Community, promote efficient use of water by park residents to help conserve groundwater and encourage other users of the aquifers to do the same.

Nganana warkaripai wirura tjungu Ranger panya tjungu munu pampa tjilpi ankula antjaki ngaripai ini tjuta wangkapai ukiri kuwaritjangka munu mitura tjina ankunyangka. Tjakura ankupai, tinka ankupai murtja ankupai liru Tjuta alatji-la wangkapai. Tjukurpa irititja nganana wangkapai tjinala nyakula nintiringkupai malatja malatja tjitji tjukarurungku Park-angka atunymankunytjaku panya alatji alatji. Tjungungku warka wiru atunymankunytjaku kuka tjuta drum pitingka tjunkula wanara tjarpapai katira ini walkatjura walatjunkupai munu ankupai ngurakutu.
   © Imantura Richards

We work well together. The senior Anangu women and men go out and camp together with the Rangers and identify all the plants present and the animals by picking up the tracks made by them as they have moved around. We talk about the Great Desert Skink activity, the sand goanna activity, the mulgara activity and all the snakes based on this tracking. We talk about the traditional knowledge


associated with the animals and we continue to  learn about the tracks  so that our children and future generations are able to look after the park properly, doing work like this.. We do good work together to look after the animals including fauna surveys where lines of drums are placed in the ground and the animals that go into them are taken and recorded. They are then released and go home. ©

The park ecosystems contain a particularly rich assemblage of birds, reptiles, and insects adapted to Central Australia’s arid landscapes.

In the context of Tjukurpa the actions of ancestral animals such as mala (rufous hare-wallaby, Lagorchestes hirsutus), panpanpalala (crested bellbird, Oreoica gutturalis), kuniya (Woma python, Aspidites ramsayi), lungkata (centralian blue-tongue lizard, Tiliqua multifasciata) and itjaritjari (marsupial mole, Notoryctes typhlops) have important roles in the evolution of the form and features of Uluru.

The spatial variation of Rainfall in Central Australia has resulted in two different responses in animal populations. The small sedentary species have developed life history strategies which, for some, produce major and obvious population fluctuations. The more mobile species, notably many birds and some mammal species, migrate to find better conditions. These movements can occur at a large scale involving long distances or be small movements between local habitat areas (McAlpin 2006).

Historically, 46 native mammal species are known to have been living in the region covered by the park. A number of these are now extinct, and some have become extinct in the wild in the Northern Territory. Regular surveys have found that there are currently 21 native mammal species living in the park, a number of which are listed as endangered or vulnerable under the EPBC Act (see Appendix F). The brush-tailed mulgara or murtja (Dasycercus blythi), listed as vulnerable, is mostly restricted to a habitat in a narrow band of country that stretches from the vicinity of Uluru to the northern boundary of the park and into Yulara township, in the transitional sand plain area. The brush-tailed mulgara’s population in the park is particularly sensitive to fire frequency and intensity, and much of its habitat has been affected in the recent past by large wildfires.

The park’s bird life is rich by Central–Western Desert standards. Three EPBC Act listed bird species are found within the park and many others have restricted or sparse distributions.

The park has a very rich reptile fauna of high conservation significance. Reid et al. (1993) consider there is no comparably sized area in the Australian semi-arid zone that is known to have a fauna as rich in reptiles. The great desert skink or tjakura (Egernia kintorei) is listed as vulnerable under the EPBC Act and is mostly restricted to the transitional sand plain system. Regular monitoring of tjakura during the life of the 4th Plan revealed an increase in the size of the population within the park.

Four frog species have been recorded in the park. Frogs may be seen in abundance after rain.

Invertebrates have been surveyed in a range of habitats throughout the park and 344 invertebrate morphospecies collected.

Surveys have highlighted the significance of the transitional sand plain area between the northern part of the park and Yulara, known as the Borefields. This area provides habitat for a range of animals of conservation significance. Surveys have also highlighted the ecological


importance of Uluru and Kata Tjuta, with numerous species restricted to these areas including the fat-tailed antechinus (Pseudantechinus macdonnellensis), euro (Macropus robustus), dusky grasswren (Amytornis purnelli), western bowerbird (Chlamydera guttata) and chestnut-breasted quail-thrush (Cinclosoma castaneothorax). The environments in and around the monoliths are more stable than the spinifex grasslands and provide important drought refugia (Reid et al. 1993).

There has been a general decline in the distribution and abundance of a number of species across the region – some formerly occurring in the park have now become extinct from the Northern Territory and others are extinct on the Australian mainland (see Appendix F for threatened species occurring in the park). Regular surveys have also shown that populations of other species may have declined within the park, including the weebill (Smicrornis brevirostris), Australian bustard (Ardeotis australis) and the euro (Macropus robustus).

To Anangu a decrease in the number of species has implications for the condition and health of the landscape, and for the ongoing maintenance of Tjukurpa. In 1999 a cross-cultural workshop was held to consider the possible reintroduction of native fauna. The knowledge of elder Anangu about locations of some species that have now disappeared was recorded. Senior Anangu strongly expressed the importance of this knowledge being transferred, particularly to younger Anangu, to maintain Tjukurpa and a healthy landscape. The workshop proceedings identify priority species and set out key principles for the reintroduction of fauna (Gillen et al. 2000).

As a result of the workshop a number of endangered rufous hare-wallabies or mala were reintroduced into an enclosure in the park with the long-term objective of re-establishing a permanent population. Anangu support moves to reintroduce other locally extinct animals including mitika (burrowing bettong, Bettongia lesueur), wayuta (common brushtail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula), ninu (bilby, Macrotis lagotis), and waru (black-footed rock wallaby, Petrogale lateralis).

Anangu continue to hunt and gather animal species in remote areas of the park and on Anangu land elsewhere. Hunting is largely confined to red kangaroos (Macropus rufus), Australian bustards (Ardeotis australis), emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae), and lizards such as the sand goanna (Varanus gouldii) and perentie (V. giganteus).

Plants are an important part of Tjukurpa, and there are ceremonies for each of the major plant foods. Collecting plant foods remains a culturally important activity, reinforcing traditional links with country and maintaining links with Tjukurpa. Anangu use plants for a wide range of purposes: as sources of food; for fire, medicines and tobacco; as raw materials for implements, weapons and artefacts; for cementing and adhesive substances; as fuel for cooking and warmth; for ornaments and decoration used in ritual ceremonies; and as sources of water and edible invertebrates.

In restricted habitats such as waterholes and soaks a number of rare species with restricted distribution are found, including Adder’s tongue fern (Ophioglossum lusitanicum coriaceum), quillwort (Isoetes muelleri) and spurred arrowgrass (Triglochin calcitrapum var. isingianum) in the narrow valleys of Kata Tjuta, and Parietaria debilis at Uluru.

Sandhill mulga (Acacia ammobia) is a notable species because it is restricted to the area between Mount Connor and Docker River. At the time of writing this plan, no plant species in the park are


listed as threatened under the EPBC Act, and only the desert quandong (Santalum acuminatum) is listed as vulnerable in the Northern Territory (see Appendix F). There are other species which, although found elsewhere in Central Australia, could become endangered in the park and will require monitoring during the life of the plan. These species include pink early nancy (Wurmbea centralis), Juncus continuus, white cypress (Callitris sp.) and the shrubs found on the rock hillsides around Kata Tjuta, Gossypium sturtianum, Rulingia magniflora, Hibbertia glaberrima, Baeckea polystemonea and Plectranthus intraterraneus.

A number of key threatening processes listed under the EPBC Act are present in the park, including rabbits, foxes and feral cats. These species are subject to threat abatement plans. Camels are also a significant threat. The Director is required to manage the park in a manner consistent with the requirements of national recovery and threat abatement plans.

The Uluru–Kata Tjuta landscape is a representative cross-section of the Central Australian arid ecosystems. There is a need to identify and examine species at an ecosystem level within the various ecological zones in the park, towards identifing the key pressures, vulnerabilities and potential flow-on effects to other species and habitats. Appropriate and regular monitoring of such processes will better inform adaptive management for the park and potentially within the region.

Under ss.354 and 354A of the EPBC Act, a person may not kill, injure, take, trade, keep or move a member of a native species except in accordance with a management plan. The EPBC Regulations also prohibit taking animals and plants into the park, and cultivating plants in the park, except with the approval of the Director.

Actions taken in accordance with a management plan in relation to members of species listed under Part 13 of the Act are exempt from prohibitions that would otherwise apply under Part 13.


Policies

5.6.1 Understanding about flora and fauna distribution and abundance in the park will continue to be improved using both Piranpa science and Anangu knowledge and skills.

5.6.2 Consistent with Policy 5.1.2, maintaining Anangu flora and fauna knowledge and skills will be recognised as important park work by:

-        applying Anangu knowledge and skills in natural resource management programs

-        facilitating the intergenerational transfer of Anangu knowledge and skills

-        providing structured opportunities for younger Anangu to be involved in the above.

5.6.3 In consultation with Anangu, traditional ecological information will continue to be recorded and, if appropriate, disseminated in accordance with  Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) protocols.

5.6.4 Reintroductions of native species will be provided for in accordance with the following:

-        Parks Australia will work with Anangu, the Cultural Heritage and Scientific Consultative Committee and other experts as required in developing reintroduction programs.

-        Species considered for reintroduction will be previously occurring native species of particular cultural significance.

-        Long-term objectives for the future of reintroduced species will be established.

-        Threats to reintroduced species will be effectively controlled as needed to enable populations to establish and survive.

-        Priority will be given to species which are likely to survive in the wild in the long term, critically endangered species, and species of cultural importance.

5.6.5 Data on EPBC Act and Northern Territory listed plant and animal species and others of conservation or cultural significance will be maintained, and management programs and activities will ensure that they are protected from inappropriate disturbance.

5.6.6 Native plants and animals and plant and animal material may be brought into and taken from the park in accordance with a permit issued by the Director and where consistent with policies and actions in this plan.

5.6.7 Plants may be brought into residential areas in the park subject to the Director’s approval.

5.6.8 The Director may take actions concerning native species, including species listed under Part 13 of the EPBC Act, that are otherwise prohibited by the EPBC Act where they are necessary to implement this plan, or where they are otherwise necessary for preserving or protecting the park, protecting or conserving biodiversity, or protecting persons or property in the park.


5.6.9 Parks Australia will work closely with Anangu and the Central Land Council to ensure that the Anangu right to engage in traditional hunting and gathering (see Section 2.4, Legislative context) does not pose a threat to listed or declining species, habitats and ecological processes in the park. The Board may recommend conservation measures to and in consultation with Anangu to ensure the viability of target species in the park.

5.6.10 Parks Australia will continue to liaise and work closely with Anangu, the Central Land Council and the managers of the Yulara resort in relation to the management of native species and communities. Of particular importance is the management of the transitional sand plain habitat.

5.6.11 Research and monitoring will be managed in accordance with Section 8.4, Research, monitoring and knowledge management.

5.6.12 Taking of native plants and animals that involves access to biological resources will be managed in accordance with Section 8.4 of this plan.

Actions

5.6.13 Continue fauna and flora surveys and adjust existing programs and activities, or develop new ones, based on the analyses of results. Consider new approaches to address knowledge gaps, particularly about species identified as a management priority.

5.6.14 Prepare guidelines for the reintroduction of species in accordance with Policy 5.6.3.

5.6.15 Review the methodology for including invertebrates in fauna surveys and implement surveys as appropriate.

5.6.16 Maintain efforts to increase the mala population in a fenced enclosure and consider release only when threats are considered to have been effectively managed.

5.6.17 Update animal and plant lists to identify significant species that may require particular management attention, for example species that are locally restricted, declining or culturally significant.

5.6.18 Map plant species of particular management importance, such as those that are rare, at the edge of their range, under pressure from pest animals and weeds, culturally significant or fire sensitive.

5.6.19 Identify which species or communities are likely to be most at risk from impacts of climate change and identify options to improve their resilience.

5.6.20 Incorporate relevant actions from species threat abatement and recovery plans into park management programs.

5.6.21 Identify methods to monitor the health of ecosystems on a landscape scale including identifying keystone and indicator species. Develop monitoring programs for these species/ groups and use results to ensure a whole of ecosystem approach to management.


5.7 Weeds and introduced plants

Park values are protected by managing existing weeds, preventing invasion by new weed species, and increasing understanding of management issues relating to weeds and introduced plants among park residents, neighbours and visitors.

Buffel grass ukiri kutjupa malikitja, mununa kulilpai malikitja nyanga pakanu kura-kura ka nganana Ulurula putula katalpai wiyalpai putu pulkatu pakalpai. Warka wirula palyaningi Pularila itingka ukiri kura-kura pakannyangka mai iluntankunyangka mai iluntanu uwankara wangunu wakati munu mai iluntanu kaltu-kaltu munu mai kulu kunakanti nyara paluru tjulpungku kulu tjungungku ngalkupai ngaltutjara.
   © Barbara Tjikatu

Buffel grass is a different sort of grass that does not belong here and  I think this introduced grass is pretty poor. At Uluru we have tried in vain to cut it out and finish it off. So much has grown. We were doing some good work near Pulari where the buffel grass had grown killing all the plant foods. It killed off all the native grasses like naked woollybutt, inland pigweed, native millet grasses and others used to make seed cakes. They are grasses with seeds that many birds eat as well, poor things. ©

Many introduced (exotic) plant species have been recorded in the park. Several factors or activities, past and present, have provided opportunities for weeds to be introduced and to spread. The soils in the park that are most susceptible to disturbance and subsequent weed establishment have been identified as those associated with the water – and nutrient-rich alluviums of the Gillen land system.

The most threatening weed in the park is the perennial buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris). Buffel is one of a number of pasture grasses introduced from Africa and now established across northern Australia and was used in the past to control soil erosion. Buffel grass is recognised as being capable of affecting ecosystem-level function. It out-competes native plant species and as a result removes suitable habitat for many native animals. Buffel grass also alters natural surface hydrology and chokes drainage lines, exacerbating erosion. Landscapes dominated by buffel grass can also burn more frequently and at higher intensity than uninvaded vegetation (Friedel et al. 2006).

The grass has spread considerably through the park, particularly around Uluru and Kata Tjuta. Park staff, Anangu, and Conservation Volunteers Australia have invested considerable effort in removing it from particularly sensitive areas around the base of Uluru. Despite these efforts, overall distribution increased in the park during the life of the 4th Plan.


Red Natal grass (Melinis repens) has become of increasing concern in recent years and programs have been established to control it in key areas. Other weed species that occur in the park are generally not considered to have a major impact on the park’s ecosystems. Most weeds only become evident after rain and are treated as needed at priority locations such as waterholes and key visitor areas. However, it is recognised that new weed species have the potential to be introduced through a range of vectors, including vehicles, animals and camels in particular, and winds. For example, Mexican poppy seed was brought in accidentally via contaminated gravel; the resulting infestation was controlled, but there is the potential for this and similar weeds to invade creek lines.

Over the years since the park was established, plants have been brought into residential areas within the park, and also to Yulara just outside the park. Some of these introduced plant species have the potential to become established in the wild.

Cultivating plants from local seed stock and other appropriate sources for amenity plantings and rehabilitation work can assist with reducing these risks.

The EPBC Regulations prohibit bringing plants into the park, or cultivating plants in the park, except in accordance with a management plan. The Weeds Management Act 2001 (NT) applies to the park in so far as it is not inconsistent with the EBPC Act, a management plan or the EPBC Regulations.

Policies

5.7.1 In conjunction with Nguraritja and the Central Land Council, buffel grass will be controlled to the greatest extent possible, with particular priority given to:

-        keeping buffel grass out of cultural sites

-        eradicating new infestations

-        protecting significant plant communities and habitat for rare animal species from buffel invasion

-        maintaining buffel free or reduced areas to achieve fire management objectives

-        controlling infestations along roadsides, walking tracks and drainage lines.

5.7.2 Parts of the park may be closed temporarily to allow for effective broadscale treatment of weeds.


5.7.3 Priority areas such as waterholes will be identified and targeted for control of weed species.

5.7.4 Introduced plants will not be permitted to be brought into the park, unless approved by the Director.

5.7.5 The Director will observe the Weeds Management Act 2001 (NT) where appropriate and where it is not inconsistent with this plan.

5.7.6 Cooperative research programs with relevant research institutions and neighbours will be supported to undertake research into weed ecology, dispersal and control options (see Section 8.4, Research, monitoring and knowledge management).

Actions

5.7.7 In conjunction with Nguraritja and the Central Land Council, continue weed control programs in accordance with the Policies 5.7.1 to 5.7.6.

5.7.8 Finalise and implement a buffel grass management program in accordance with Policies 5.7.1 to 5.7.6. Finish mapping buffel grass distribution throughout the park and regularly evaluate and revise the management program.

5.7.9 Develop and implement a weed control strategy which:

-        identifies a rapid response approach in the event a new weed is found in the park so the weed can be identified, appropriately dealt with and the risk of establishment assessed

-        identifies where the greatest potential is for weeds being inadvertently brought into the park (for example, by certain types of vehicles) and actions to reduce the threat.

5.7.10 Train park staff in weed identification.

5.7.11 Maintain the nursery to provide amenity plantings for park residents from local seed stock or other appropriate sources, and for rehabilitation plantings.

5.7.12 Work with neighbours and relevant authorities to develop and implement a regional approach to weed control.

Through programs developed and implemented in consultation with Anangu, the adverse effects of introduced feral and domestic animals on the natural and cultural values of the park are minimised.

Nganana putjikata tjuta tjina nyakula tjunkupai trap, tjina nyakula kutju, tjina wiyangka putjikata tjuta wiya ngarapai ka putjikata tjuta kutjupara nyinanyi rapitaku pitingka itingka ka nyara palula trap tjunkupai ka paluru tjana rapitaku pitjala trap tjarpara witilpai.

Kamula tjutaringu nyangatja ka kamula tjuta mai tjuta wiyani wanari wiyani kapi uwankara tjikira wiyani. Kutjupara tjukula tjarpanyi munu-ya tjukula tjarpara paluru tjana kapi kurani, kapi wiru ka camela tjutangku.
   © Andrew Taylor

On seeing cat tracks we set up traps, only when seeing tracks, if no tracks no cats there. Sometimes cats are living close to rabbit burrows, and traps are placed there. When they come for the rabbits they enter the traps and are caught.

Camels have increased greatly here. Camels are finishing off many plants, consuming all the mulga and drinking all the water in the rockholes. Sometimes camels go into the waterholes and they spoil the water, good water. ©

Introduced predators are recognised as a major factor in the extinction of approximately 40 per cent of the native species of Central Australia. Of the 27 mammal species found in the park, six are introduced: the rabbit, the camel, the fox, the house mouse, the cat, and the dog. These introduced species are distributed throughout the park, although their densities are greatest in the run-off areas of Uluru and Kata Tjuta.

Feral animal issues extend well beyond the boundaries of the park. Effective control in the park will, to a large extent, depend on effective programs outside the park. Cooperation with neighbours and regional bodies is therefore recognised as being essential in reducing impacts.

In the park camels have been implicated in the reduction in plant species, particularly more succulent species such as the desert quandong (Santalum acuminatum). They also have a significant impact on the condition of waterholes and water quality and can pose some danger to humans and traffic. Surveys estimate an increase in population of around 10 per cent per year. Amongst Anangu, opinions regarding management of camels, including culling, are divided.

Large numbers of rabbits, particularly in the runoff areas around Uluru and Kata Tjuta, led to the introduction of a rabbit control program in 1989. The result has been a great reduction in the rabbit population, a noticeable improvement in vegetation recovery, and an associated reduction in predator numbers. Ongoing control is required to maintain low rabbit numbers.

The house mouse is a successful invader of disturbed environments and habitats that have lost native rodents. Fauna surveys undertaken during the 4th Plan suggest the house mouse’s distribution has spread in the park. Numbers are high during good seasons but drop quickly as conditions dry out. When mice are abundant, so are native rodents. During dry conditions, native rodents hold out longer than mice. No mouse control program was established during the 4th Plan except around houses.

No studies have been undertaken in the park on the impact of cats. However, a number of threatened species within the park are of typical prey size for cats, in particular the great desert skink (tjakura) and mulgara (murtja). Feral cats were also a major factor in the failure of the


mala reintroduction program in the Tanami Desert. This is a major consideration in current reintroduction programs within the park.

Within the park, foxes have been seen along the ring road adjacent to Uluru and at other locations, and tracks have been recorded at all track monitoring sites. Fox densities are expected to be similar across the region on adjacent lands which is a particular challenge for managing impacts in the park.

Transects to determine predator densities in the park are being established and both traditional tracking techniques and western scientific techniques are used. Anangu knowledge and tracking skills are invaluable assets in the management of these introduced animals.

The park is required to be managed in a manner consistent with threat abatement plans for threatening processes in the park, which include introduced species. At the time of writing this plan, threat abatement plans under the EPBC Act are in place for rabbits, foxes and cats.

Regulation 12.19 of the EPBC Regulations prohibits bringing in or keeping animals in the park, except in accordance with a management plan. This prohibition does not apply to guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, and other assistance animals for people with disabilities.

A number of domestic animals live in the park’s residential areas. Anangu have historically kept domestic dogs, most of which are of mixed breed including dingo (Canis lupus dingo) cross breeds.

Issues

Policies

5.8.1 Management of existing feral species will be in accordance with the following:

-            Foxes and cats will be controlled to the fullest possible extent, including introducing a baiting program.

-            Rabbits will be controlled at priority sites including around Uluru and Kata Tjuta and in reintroduction enclosures, and in other areas as agreed where they are having a significant impact on park values.

-            Camels will be managed to ensure park values are not impacted. Priority sites for protection from camels include key visitor sites, waterholes, cultural sites, significant plant communities, the Mutitjulu Community and park infrastructure.

-            In the longer term, options for controlling camel numbers will be identified in conjunction with adjacent landowners and other regional partners, and will include consideration of economic opportunities for Anangu.

-            Broadscale baiting programs for feral predators will be undertaken only in accordance with clearly established conservation objectives and clearly defined outcomes.

5.8.2 Protocols for ensuring that appropriate animal welfare standards are met will be complied with.

5.8.3 The entry of dogs to the park will be restricted to guide dogs for the vision and hearing impaired, or assistance animals used by persons with a disability. Permits to bring dogs in for other purposes will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

5.8.4 Park staff and residents may keep up to two dogs per residence without a permit from the Director, provided that the person in charge of a dog complies with conditions set by the Director for the protection of human health and safety and the conservation of park values.

5.8.5 Other domestic animals may only be kept at Mutitjulu in accordance with a permit. The Director will not issue a permit unless satisfied that there is minimal risk of adverse impacts on native species or ecosystems, or human health and safety.

5.8.6 The Director may give approval to keep local, native animals that cannot be rehabilitated to the wild.

5.8.7 Other animals may only be brought into or taken through the park in accordance with a permit issued by the Director and where consistent with policies and actions in this plan.

5.8.8 Park staff will work with neighbours, the Central Land Council, Anangu, and Northern Territory authorities and other relevant agencies to develop regional approaches to feral animal management.

Actions

5.8.9 In conjunction with Nguraritja, finalise the strategy for the control of feral animals and implement feral animal control programs in accordance with Policies 5.8.1 to 5.8.8 and the strategy.

5.8.10 Identify and implement programs under the strategy to more effectively manage feral animals with the involvement of Anangu. Implement additional tracking programs to improve understanding of feral predator distribution and abundance, and to measure the effectiveness of control programs.


5.8.11 Liaise with Anangu, Nguraritja of the adjacent Aboriginal Land Trusts, the Central Land Council, the Northern Territory Government agency responsible for Parks and Wildlife, adjacent landowners and other regional bodies to identify regional solutions to controlling wild camel populations. Implement any such control program approved by the Board.

5.8.12 Develop and implement a rapid response plan for new pest animal invasions including invertebrates which:

-        identifies a proposed response in the event a new species is found in the park so it can be identified, appropriately dealt with and the risk of establishment assessed

-        identifies where the greatest potential is for new pest species being inadvertently brought into the park and actions to reduce the threat.

Through the active management and use of fire, the park’s natural and cultural landscape values are maintained, Tjukurpa obligations are met, and life and property are protected.

Tjilpi tjutangku waru tilintjaku ngurkantara tjunkupai ngura uwankaraku atunymankupai wirura pukulpa ngaranytjaku munu wati yangupala tjuta nintilpai ka tjana nyakula mula-mularingkula nintiringkupai. Tjilpingku kutju tjukurpa palunya miil-miilpa tilintjaku tawara tjukarurungku atunymara wati yangupala tjukarurulpai ka kuwari nganana palumpa waru tilintjikitja mukuringanyi ukiri wiru pakantjaku mai tjuta kampurarpa tjuta kutjupa kutjupa winki.
   © Jim Nukiti

The senior men select the areas for burning, look after all the places and teach the young men. They watch and really learn about the proper way to do things well. The senior men are the ones that ensure sacred places are not burnt and look after the young men so burning is done correctly according to traditional law. Presently we want to use it, fire, to get good green regrowth in grasses and regenerate bush foods like the desert raisins and the various other plants. ©

Fire is an essential element of the park’s landscape and is integral to Tjukurpa and to maintaining World Heritage values. Anangu have traditionally used fire to maintain a vegetation mosaic in order to enhance resources and protect them from large wildfires. This long-standing relationship is acknowledged in the park’s World Heritage listing. Fire is an inherent part of this landscape,


and the region’s plants and animals have evolved under its influence. There are also significant cultural sites in the park which need to be protected from fire.

Fire is the key management tool used to deliver landscape scale ecosystem management in the park. Such landscape scale management can only be achieved cooperatively with the park neighbours through a regional approach to fire management.

Native animal populations in the park have a direct relationship with frequency and intensity of fires. The loss of habitat diversity associated with the reduction in traditional burning practices after European settlement is believed to be one of a variety of factors contributing to the loss of over 40 per cent of mammal species from the Central Australian region.

Flora and fauna surveys in the park have helped identify species which require particular management attention, and for which particular requirements need to be considered in fire management programs.

The park’s fire history has been well mapped. Since the 1940s, the large wildfires that have had an impact on the park have all started beyond the park boundary. Large fires generally occur in early summer and particularly following periods of good rains. Prescribed burning helps to contain such wildfires and reduce their impacts.

Suppression of wildfire is also often necessary to protect life and assets, and where fire is considered to have a negative ecological impact on areas of the park.

The implications of climate change on fire regimes are unclear. Projected increases in temperature and evaporation rates and changes in rainfall patterns may affect the fuel level and fire risk across the park.

Fire management in the park is subject to the Northern Territory Bushfires Act in so far as it is not inconsistent with the EBPC Act. The fundamental principle established by the Bushfires Act is that the responsibility for bushfire management rests with the landholder. The Northern Territory Fire and Rescue Service based in Yulara has provided assistance in fire management within the park from time to time.

The EPBC Act (ss.354 and 354A) prohibits certain actions being taken in Commonwealth reserves except in accordance with a management plan including actions that impact upon members of a native species, damaging heritage and carrying out works or an excavation.


Policies

5.9.1 The guiding principles for fire management in the park are:

-        Anangu and park staff will work together in fire management activities.

-        Traditional Anangu knowledge of the use and control of fire in the landscape will be integrated with scientific knowledge to inform management decisions.

-        Through improved collaboration with neighbours, fire will be managed using a regional approach to acknowledge the links between Tjukurpa, Anangu, Nguraritja, and fire history.

-        A continuous improvement approach to fire management will be adopted.

5.9.2 Fire will be managed to ensure the maintenance of the park’s biodiversity by:

-        improving knowledge about the impacts of fire regimes on flora and fauna through monitoring and research activities

-        protecting fire sensitive species from inappropriate fire regimes

-        suppressing wildfires likely to have a negative ecological impact

-        controlling buffel grass to reduce fire intensity.

5.9.3 Fire will be managed to help protect life and assets by:

-        reducing the fire risk in identified asset protection zones to acceptable levels

-        suppressing wildfires adjacent to assets

-        maintaining an emergency response plan to protect human life in the event of a wildfire.

5.9.4 Fire management programs will assist in maintaining Tjukurpa by:

-        protecting sensitive sites that should not be burnt

-        burning to regenerate bush foods

-        burning to create fresh growth for animals and hunting

-        protecting plants that should not be burnt

-        recognising that fire and smoke continues to be an effective and culturally appropriate method of communication

-        supporting intergenerational transfer of Anangu knowledge and skills in fire management so that fire work can continue to be done in the culturally appropriate way.

5.9.5 Suppression of wildfire will be consistent with Policies 5.9.1 to 5.9.4.

5.9.6 A fire and vegetation management strategy for the park will guide fire management in accordance with the above policies.


5.9.7 Fire management will be carried out in a manner consistent with the relevant Northern Territory fire laws so far as is practicable. Permits may be applied for if required under the Bushfires Act (NT) to carry out fire management works.

5.9.8 The Director may request the Northern Territory Government agency responsible for fire management activities to assist in fire control within the park under the guidance of Parks Australia.

5.9.9 In the case of an urgent and immediate threat to human life or property due to fire, the Northern Territory Government agency responsible for fire management activities may operate within the park, under the guidance of Parks Australia where appropriate. Where practicable, emergency fire management activities will take into account minimising disturbance to listed plant and animal species and areas of conservation or cultural significance.

Actions

5.9.10 Implement appropriate management programs according to the park’s fire and vegetation management strategy. Monitor program results and review strategies as necessary to ensure desired objectives are met.

5.9.11 Identify requirements for listed and restricted species, species of particular cultural significance, and other species of significance. Incorporate these requirements into management approaches for each fire management zone (see also Section 5.3, The physical landscape).

5.9.12 Ensure park staff are appropriately trained in the use of relevant equipment, incendiaries, use of geographic information systems, database management, monitoring techniques and occupational health and safety requirements relevant to fire.

5.9.13 Continue to monitor the effects of fire and its impact on species distribution and abundance, and continue to regularly review and improve management programs.

5.9.14 Work with agencies and businesses located in Yulara that have a fire management role or responsibility including the Central Land Council, Anangu, other neighbours and the Northern Territory Government to coordinate fire management activities at the regional level.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is a living cultural landscape. World Heritage listed for cultural and natural values, the park’s spectacular desert landscapes and extraordinary plants and animals draw people from all over the world. Anangu want to share the park with visitors, while safeguarding their culture, lifestyle and privacy, and maintaining Tjukurpa.

The tourism directions for the park:

Anangu nguraritja pukularinyi nyura ngalyapitjala ngura nganampa para-nyakunytjaku. Ananguku ngura nyangatja, Ananguku Tjukurpa.
   © Tony Tjamiwa

We custodians of this place are really happy for you to come and look around our country. This is an Anangu place, with Anangu Law. ©

Nganana tourist tjuta para-ngarapai pakaltjingani tjitji tjuta nintini wati tjuta yangupala tjuta warkaku paluru tjana. Ka nganana nintini palunya wirura ka paluru tjanala kulini ‘munta uwa wiya palya’- palya paluru tjana kulini wiru wangkapai. Nganana tourist tjuta para-ngarala ankupai, ngura kutjupanguru welcomamilapai nganana munu pukularipai.
   © Reggie Uluru

We are creating guided tours for tourists, and teaching Anangu children and young men so they can do this work. We are showing how to do it properly and they are listening to us – ‘0h yes, all right’– they say as they get a good understanding of how to present the tours and talks. On the tours, we welcome the visitors who have come from other places and we make them happy. ©


Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is part of the Red Centre National Landscape under the National Landscapes Program, a joint Parks Australia and Tourism Australia initiative. The Red Centre is the physical and spiritual heart of Australia’s outback. It is recognised as one of the world’s most spectacular and readily accessible desert landscapes, extending over some 200,000 square kilometres of stunning ancient mountain ranges. The Red Centre, which also includes the ancient MacDonnell Ranges, Watarrka and Finke River, is home to one of the world’s oldest continuing Indigenous living cultures.

The park offers unique opportunities within this setting to provide visitors with memorable and rewarding experiences that complement, but are different from, those elsewhere in the Red Centre National Landscape.

The park’s strengths are that it has established access and facilities to help visitors experience the desert landscape and Indigenous living culture.

Tourism also has the potential to significantly contribute to the well-being of Anangu. It is recognised that considerable opportunities exist for Anangu to more fully participate in and benefit from tourism enterprises.

During the 4th Plan, annual park visitor numbers averaged around 350,000 per year, of whom more than half were overseas visitors. The desert climate strongly influences visitation and activities within the park. Temperatures in the warmer months can reach above 40°C for several days at a time.

It is important to Anangu and the Board of Management that Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park becomes known as a place of sharing knowledge and learning about country and culture; that visitors have the maximum opportunity to enjoy, share in and appreciate Anangu culture; and that Anangu benefit in more ways from tourism. It is also important that visitor management and park use are undertaken in a culturally appropriate way that ensures the health of both country and its community.

The Board and the tourism industry have recognised that this plan presents a critical opportunity to reposition the park by offering a broader range of appropriate experiences.


Policies

6.1.1 Tourism will be managed in accordance with the following principles:

(a) Respect for Tjukurpa will underpin all park management tourism decisions.

(b) Nguraritja will guide the nature and pace of tourism developments in the park.

(c) Tourism developments will be in keeping with the protection and presentation of the park’s World, National and Commonwealth listed heritage values.

(d) The visitor experience should emphasise learning about the park’s physical and living cultural landscape.

(e) The primary focus will be providing world-class experiences to visitors keen to discover the park’s natural and living cultural environment.

(f) Tourism development in the park will aim to provide facilities and services needed to deliver these experiences.

(g) The provision of facilities and services will be planned so as to provide as far as possible a range of Anangu employment and business opportunities.

(h) Visitor information, facilities and services will be provided in a way that complements and supports the tourism management objectives for the greater Red Centre National Landscape.

(i) The long-term sustainability of water and other resources will be a determining consideration in future tourism directions.

Action

6.1.2 In conjunction with Nguraritja, develop a tourism positioning statement with Tourism NT and Tourism Australia, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, reflecting the park’s role in the Red Centre National Landscape.

 

Visitor access to and within the park is provided for in ways that are environmentally and culturally appropriate, and that enhance the range and quality of the visitor experience.

Miil-miilpa tjuta ngaranyi ka Anangungku wangkapai ‘nyarangka wiya , nyanganguru tjukaruru’ tjukaruru nganana ma-katinma munu ma-wangkama tjukurpa nyanga tjananya tjukurpa tjinguru mala wangkanyi tjinguru liru walkangka , tjanala tjutaku tjukarurungku katira wangkanytjaku.
   © Rupert Goodwin

There are many sacred places to respect and Anangu have always said ‘ not over there, here is the right way to go’. We take (tourists) to appropriate places and tell them appropriate stories, for example talking about Mala stories or maybe go on the Liru Walk to talk with them about our traditional law and stories in a proper way. ©

Providing access for visitor activities whilst ensuring visitor safety and maintenance of the park’s natural and cultural values is a major focus of management.

Road access to the park by the public is limited to the Lasseter Highway from Yulara and the Docker River Road from Western Australia (with a permit from the Central Land Council where appropriate). See Maps 5 and 6.

The section of the Lasseter Highway within the park is maintained by Parks Australia. This sealed road is used by park visitors and by through traffic coming from and travelling to Western Australia. Increased traffic volume and heavy vehicle loading can significantly increase road maintenance requirements. Sections of the unsealed Docker River Road become corrugated by vehicle use and are graded periodically by Parks Australia. Heavy traffic loads such as the repetitive transport of mining material and equipment through the park would not be sustainable, would potentially increase risks to visitor safety and would impact upon park values.

All roads and tracks in the park are subject to the EPBC Act and Regulations. The EPBC Regulations (rr.12.41 and 12.44) enable the Director to control use of tracks and roads in the park and to restrict parking or stopping of vehicles in specified areas of the park. The EPBC Regulations (r.12.43) also provide penalties for vehicles which exceed the posted speed limit or go against the direction of a one-way traffic carriageway. Northern Territory laws also apply to the extent those laws can operate concurrently with the EPBC Act and Regulations.

The use of aircraft in and over the park requires adequate controls so that visitors and park residents remain safe, the Mutitjulu Community retains its privacy, and cultural values are


protected. Air access to the park is usually via Connellan Airport, which is outside the park to the north of Yulara.

A Fly Neighbourly Agreement was implemented in early 1997, following agreement between Parks Australia, the Mutitjulu Community, the Ayers Rock Resort Company, Connellan Airport management and local scenic flight operators. The agreement is detailed under Special Procedures (not associated with an aerodrome) in the En Route Supplement Australia (ERSA) issued periodically by Airservices Australia. The Special Procedure describes recommended routes, altitudes and sensitive areas for flights over the park.

Commercial flights over the park below 3,000 metres (other than flights on approved flight paths to or from an airport) require approval from park management.

The EPBC Regulations (r.12.58) prohibit landing and take-off of aircraft in the park except in areas that the Director determines may be used for that purpose (or in an emergency). The definition of ‘aircraft’ in the EPBC Act includes any apparatus that can derive support in the atmosphere from the reactions of the air, such as gliders, hang-gliders, paragliders, parachutes, hot air balloons and similar equipment.

The EPBC Regulations (r.12.23) enable the Director to restrict entry to areas in the park on a temporary or permanent basis. The Director’s Lease obligations require the Director to give effect to reasonable requests from Nguraritja, through the Central Land Council, to restrict access to areas of the park for the purpose of Indigenous use. There are sites where visitors are generally not allowed to go which include the domes of Kata Tjuta, sacred sites around Uluru and the Mutitjulu Community.

In addition, the Director may implement temporary or long-term closures of visitor areas if an activity has the potential to impact on park values, or poses a risk to public safety. Under certain circumstances, the Director may require parts of the park to be closed at very short notice for cultural reasons, visitor incidents, floods, fire, or for other operational reasons. Under these circumstances, every effort is made to advise park visitors and tour operators as soon as possible.

 

Policies

6.2.1 To help manage access within the park and to particular areas, either temporarily or permanently, measures such as closures under the EPBC Regulations, permits and booking systems may be used.

6.2.2 The Director may approve the temporary closure of the park or certain areas within it if necessary for cultural reasons, in accordance with the Lease and advice received from the Board.

6.2.3 Decisions regarding short- and long-term access will be made in accordance with Section 4.1, Making decisions and working together, and procedures approved by the Board.

6.2.4 In the event that the park or part of the park is closed at very short notice for operational or cultural reasons, every effort will be made to notify the tourism industry and park visitors as soon as possible.

6.2.5 Vehicles, including bicycles, will be restricted to approved roads and tracks, unless approved by the Director. The Director may determine, in accordance with the EPBC Regulations, roads and tracks that will not be available for public use (permanently or temporarily). The Director may restrict use to particular groups and may determine restrictions on vehicle use of roads and tracks.

6.2.6 Roads and tracks that are generally open to the public may be closed for public safety, environmental protection, cultural and management purposes.

6.2.7 Permits will not be issued authorising the landing and take-off of gliders, hang-gliders, paragliders, parachutes, hot air balloons and similar equipment.

6.2.8 The helipads adjacent to Park Headquarters and along the Valley of the Winds walking track will be maintained. Helicopter landings in the park will be allowed only in cases of emergency, for park management purposes, or for other exceptional purposes approved by the Director.

6.2.9 New roads and tracks may be constructed in the park in accordance with Section 8.5, Assessment of proposals.

6.2.10 As provided by Section 4.1, as far as practicable the views of the tourism industry and other relevant stakeholders will be taken into account in access decisions and they will be provided with advance notification before decisions are implemented.

6.2.11 Restrictions may need to be placed on certain types of vehicles and their loads in accordance with rr.12.41 and 12.42 if required to ensure visitor safety and protection of park values.

Actions

6.2.12 In conjunction with Air Services Australia and local flight operators, promote the Fly Neighbourly Agreement among providers of air transport services and review regularly as required.

6.2.13 Liaise with the tourism industry to consider alternative ways of moving people through the park to reduce impacts on the environment and visitor infrastructure. Should feasible options be identified, implement as agreed by the Board.


Map 5 – Access to Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park – regional map

 


Map 6 – Public vehicle access within Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park

 

A range of activities are provided that optimise the park’s diversity and the quality of visitor experiences, in a manner that continues to protect and promote Anangu interests and the park’s cultural and natural values.

Ananguku ngura nyangatja ka pukulpa pitjama. Nyakula munu nintiringkula Anangu kulintjikitjangku munu kulinma Ananguku ara kunpu munu pulka mulapa ngaranyi. Nganana malikitja tjutaku mukuringanyi nganampa ngura nintiringkunytjikitja munu Anangu kulintjikitja. Kuwari malikitja tjuta tjintu tjarpantjala nyakula kutju munu puli tatilpai. Puli nyangatja miil-miilpa alatjitu.Uti nyura tatintja wiya! Tatintjala ara mulapa wiya.
   © Tony Tjamiwa

This is Anangu land and we welcome you. Look around and learn so that you can know something about Anangu and understand that Anangu culture is strong and really important. We want our visitors to learn about our place and listen to us Anangu. Now a lot of visitors are only looking at sunset and climbing Uluru. That rock is really important and sacred. You shouldn’t climb it! Climbing is not a proper tradition for this place. ©

The most popular activities in the park are sunrise and sunset viewing of Uluru in particular and of Kata Tjuta, and the walking trails associated with the viewing areas. Specific locations have been established to cater for large numbers of visitors. Bicycle riding from Yulara and through the park is increasing in popularity.

Under the EPBC Regulations, walking off a road or a track open to the public or a designated walking track is prohibited. The EPBC Regulations (r.12.28) prohibit camping in any area of the park other than camping areas determined by the Director, unless authorised in accordance with a management plan.

EPBC Regulations (r.12.30) prohibit the lighting of fires except in a portable barbecue or stove, a fireplace provided by the Director, or a place approved by the Director.

EPBC Regulations (r.12.26) prohibit activities such as climbing, abseiling and jumping from cliffs and rock faces, unless the Director has designated areas where the activity may be carried on. Regulation 12.31 prohibits public gatherings of more than 15 persons.


The Uluru climb

That’s a really important sacred thing that you are climbing… You shouldn’t climb. It’s not the real thing about this place. The real thing is listening to everything. And maybe that makes you a bit sad. But anyway that’s what we have to say. We are obliged by Tjukurpa to say. And all the tourists will brighten up and say, ‘Oh I see. This is the right way. This is the thing that’s right. This is the proper way: no climbing.
   © Kunmanara, Nguraritja

The ‘climb’ is the traditional route taken by the ancestral Mala (hare-wallaby men) on their arrival at Uluru, and as such is of great spiritual significance. Tjukurpa requires that Nguraritja take responsibility for looking after visitors to their country and each time a visitor is seriously or fatally injured at Uluru, Nguraritja share in the grieving process. It is this ‘duty of care’ under Tjukurpa that is the basis of Nguraritja’s stress and grieving for those injured. Although climbing Uluru is an attraction for some visitors, it is the view of Nguraritja that visitors should not climb as it does not respect the spiritual and safety aspects of Tjukurpa.

It was not until the area was handed back to Anangu in 1985 that recognition of the cultural significance of Uluru and Kata Tjuta began to directly influence the management of the park. Similarly the Tjukurpa of Uluru, and as a result Anangu opinion about the climb itself, began to publicly emerge (Hueneke 2006).

Whilst understanding of the cultural impact of climbing has emerged as a major issue since joint management, the safety aspects of the climb have been a constant challenge since visitors first started coming to Uluru.

In the past, many people have been injured and more than 30 people have died attempting to climb the very steep Uluru path. Current management measures to address visitor health and safety risks associated with the climb include provision of safety information in park visitor guides; safety signs at the base of the climb; presentations at the Cultural Centre and on the Mala Walk; closure of the climb under the EPBC Regulations during defined environmental conditions; and coordination of visitor rescues from Uluru when required. A health and safety review of the climb has been undertaken (DNP 2007). The review found that, despite these measures, visitor incidents continue to occur albeit at a reduced frequency and level of seriousness – there were no fatalities on the climb in the years 2002–2008.

Considerable resources are dedicated to managing the climb and to related health and safety issues. Maintenance of the park’s vertical rescue capability requires that the numerous staff involved undertake intensive external training and regular in-house training. Each time an incident occurs several staff and emergency personnel are involved and helicopters are often utilised. Search and rescue operations in the park often require those involved to undertake some level of personal risk.

Research was undertaken over a three-year period to assess visitors’ motivation for climbing Uluru, or choosing not to climb. The results showed that just over one-third of all visitors to the park chose to climb, a high percentage of these being children. The review found that overall not being able to climb would not affect the decision to visit the park for the vast majority of visitors (98 per cent).


The issue of children climbing is also of serious concern as the climb is a high risk activity. The above research showed that many children either did not understand the cultural reasons for not climbing or had to make a decision between the ‘do not climb message’ and their parents telling them it was alright to climb.

During the 4th Plan the climb was closed when conditions posed a risk to visitors, including extreme temperatures or storms. During the summer months this meant that the climb was closed for most of the time, except in the early mornings. In 2008 a decision was made, in agreement with the tourism industry, to close the climb after 8.00 am every day from 1 December to the end of February.

As an iconic travel destination on the one hand, and a site with extreme cultural importance to Nguraritja on the other, management of Uluru and the climb in particular is complex. Since the park’s establishment, the Board has agreed not to close the climb but instead to ask visitors to respect Anangu law and culture by not climbing, and to learn about the land and culture through alternative activities. Nguraritja continue to emphasise their wish that people do not climb Uluru and have expressed disappointment that the activity continues.

Policies

6.3.1 At the commencement of this plan, camping in and access to the park between sunset and sunrise will continue to be prohibited. However, the Board may revise this decision and, following consultations with Nguraritja and the tourism industry, provide for activities at night subject to conditions specified by the Board.

6.3.2 The Board may approve development of other new activities consistent with the tourism principles (at Policy 6.1.1) subject to appropriate consultations with Nguraritja and the tourism industry, and assessment processes (see Sections 4.1, Making decisions and working together, 8.5, Assessment of proposals and 8.7 New activities not otherwise specified in this plan). Particular emphasis will be given to activities which increase opportunities for Anangu engagement.


6.3.3 The Uluru climb will be managed in accordance with the following:

(a) At the commencement of this plan, the climb will continue to be open subject to health and safety measures to minimise risks to visitors. These measures may include, but not be limited to:

         improved graphic signage

         closure during periods when the climate is likely to pose increased risks to visitors

         seasonal closure over the summer months due to high temperatures

         other restrictions or measures in consultation with the tourism industry
and Nguraritja

         continued and consistent measures to promote the ‘do not climb’ message from Nguraritja

         provision and promotion of alternative activities.

(b) For visitor safety, cultural, and environmental reasons the Director and the Board will work towards closure of the climb. Parks Australia will work with the tourism industry and Nguraritja to ensure that:

         visitors continue to be provided with a unique and rewarding experience of the park

         the tourism industry has sufficient lead time to amend and advertise new itineraries

         impacts on the tourism industry are minimised.

(c) The climb will be permanently closed when:

         the Board, in consultation with the tourism industry, is satisfied that adequate new visitor experiences have been successfully established, or

         the proportion of visitors climbing falls below 20 per cent, or

         the cultural and natural experiences on offer are the critical factors when visitors make their decision to visit the park.

6.3.4 Upgrading, construction and management of existing or new walking tracks and facilities will be undertaken in accordance with Section 4.1, Making decisions and working together and Section 6.1, Tourism directions. See also Section 6.2.

6.3.5 The following recreational activities are prohibited by the EPBC Regulations, and permits will not be issued to undertake them in the park:

-            climbing, abseiling on, or jumping from rock faces

-            bungee jumping and BASE jumping

-            hang-gliding, paragliding and similar activities.

6.3.6 Permits for non-commercial public gatherings of more than 15 persons including athletic events, competitive racing, and weddings will not normally be issued, except under exceptional circumstances and where the activity will not have an impact on protection and presentation of park values, will not pose a risk to public safety or to Anangu interests, and may provide benefit to the park and Nguraritja.


6.3.7 Visitors may use gas barbeques, but no open fires are permitted except in designated fire places or other places approved by the Director.

6.3.8 Bicycle riding may be undertaken without a permit but only on public vehicle access roads or other tracks as specified.

6.3.9 Subject to the EPBC Regulations, other recreational activities may be prohibited in all or parts of the park if considered to pose an unacceptable risk to public safety, park values, or Anangu interests.

Actions

6.3.10 Unless otherwise determined by the Director and the Board, maintain, upgrade or develop walking tracks and road infrastructure in accordance with Australian Standards.

6.3.11 Continue survey programs to monitor visitor numbers, activities and impacts, vehicle numbers and visitor satisfaction.

6.3.12 Continue to work with the tourism industry and Anangu in developing new activities and experiences to increase visitors’ appreciation of the park’s natural and living cultural values.

6.3.13 Ensure visitor information encourages bicycle riders to ride safely in the park and in appropriate areas.

Visitors receive high quality information that promotes the park’s World Heritage and other listed heritage values and management with appropriate presentation of Tjukurpa stories including the park’s natural and living cultural values.

Touristangka nganana warkarinyi munu nintini visitors tjuta tjukurpa kulintjaku. Ngalya pitala kulilku ‘munta uwa ngura tjukurpatjara nyangatja’. Iritinguru Anangu kanyiningi ka nganana lina palurutu ngaranyi munu visitors tjuta nintini tjukurpaku.
   © Sammy Wilson

We are working with the tourists and teaching the visitors to understand Tjukurpa. On a visit they will realise ‘oh yes this is a place with significant Anangu law and traditions’. Anangu have kept this law for a very long time. We continue on the same  line keeping our law and teaching visitors about it. ©

One of the park’s strengths is that it presents a rare opportunity to be able to increase awareness and understanding of Indigenous peoples and culture, particularly those of the Western Desert. This is a key reason for people wanting to visit, and a keen desire of the Board and Nguraritja is to


provide experiences and appropriate messages which assist in this understanding. The park also presents the opportunity to inform visitors about joint management.

The park’s role within the broader Red Centre National Landscape provides an opportunity to interpret and present the park’s unique landscape characteristics and the desert habitats and wildlife occurring there in a regional context.

Information and interpretation for visitors includes publications, signage, websites, and face-to face interpretation activities by Anangu and rangers.

Given the significance placed on the Cultural Centre for increasing awareness of living cultural traditions and the influence that living culture has on management of the park, it is preferable that visitors first visit the Cultural Centre.

The Cultural Centre also supports Anangu enterprises by providing retail outlets for Maruku Arts and Crafts, the Ininti Café and Souvenirs, Anangu Tours, and Walkatjara Arts. It is also the Parks Australia outlet for information about park activities.

The interpretation effort is in part informed by visitor surveys in the park, which show that visitors and tour operators want more cultural, scientific and historical information. Many visitors come in organised groups and receive most of their information from their tour guides. The park recognises the important role tour guides have in disseminating accurate and culturally appropriate information. Tour guides will be required to be certified to work in the park by completing the online tour guiding program (see Section 6.7, Commercial operations). It is necessary to ensure the engagement of Nguraritja so that living cultural information is provided with permission.

Whilst Nguraritja enjoy sharing knowledge of their culture, under Tjukurpa it is important that certain knowledge is only given to those who are entitled to know. This knowledge is ‘layered’, with visitors allowed to know some of the layers, but not all. There are many stories that visitors cannot be told.

The tourism and media industries communicate information about the park to visitors and potential visitors nationally and internationally. Working with the tourism and the media to help ensure appropriate messages are provided is important to having well-informed and prepared visitors.

The park is popular for school visits and those school groups focusing on learning about the park’s natural and living cultural environment are actively supported through staff providing presentations and guided walks.

Policies

6.4.1 In conjunction with Nguraritja, Parks Australia will continue to provide information, education and interpretation that emphasises the park’s cultural significance, the role of joint management, and appropriate and inappropriate behaviour in the park.

6.4.2 The following themes will be central to presentation of the park:

-        Tjukurpa is recognised as a fundamental guide to management.

-        Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park is listed for its natural and cultural heritage values.

-        The park is jointly managed.

-        Nguraritja and Parks Australia ask that all visitors respect culture and not climb.

6.4.3 In conjunction with Nguraritja, park interpretation and information will be consistent and integrated with the Red Centre National Landscape branding.

6.4.4 The Cultural Centre will be promoted as the essential first stop destination in the park.

6.4.5 The Cultural Centre will continue to be a focal point for Anangu engagement.

Actions

6.4.6 Continue to include in visitor information and interpretation material why access to some areas of the park is not permitted and why some places have no publicly displayed Tjukurpa interpretations.

6.4.7 Liaise with the Yulara resort to help the resort make its interpretation facilities and information a complementary introduction to the park.

6.4.8 Maintain and develop the park’s website to provide information about the full range of park values, park management and visitor activities.

6.4.9 Liaise with the tourism industry to help encourage pre-visit information nationally and internationally to focus on the major interpretive themes for the park, to inform visitors that climbing Uluru is culturally inappropriate, to promote visitor safety and to support new experiences in the park.

6.4.10 Work with Anangu to develop a range of activities operating from the Cultural Centre, other sites within the park and the resort.

6.4.11 Develop a welcome experience and orientation to the Red Centre National Landscape linked to the arrival at Connellan Airport.

6.4.12 Develop options for the future use and possible upgrade of the Cultural Centre.

6.4.13 Liaise with government education agencies and schools to promote pre-visit information to inform children that climbing Uluru is culturally inappropriate, to promote visitor safety and to support new experiences in the park.

 

Promotion of the park presents accurate and appropriate messages and images.

Anangu tjutangku, Anangu munu piranpa kuwari pitjantja tjuta nintini Tjukurpatjara. Tjana mantu pulkara wirura uti kulintjaku Ananguku kaltjaku munu tjanalta tjungu Anangu tjutawanungku ngura munu Anangu tjuta atunymananyi.
   © Sarah Goodwin

Anangu are teaching all the newcomers, Anangu and non-Anangu, about Tjukurpa so they can properly and clearly understand Anangu culture and help us to protect our country and people. ©

Appropriate presentation of the park plays an important part in protection of the park. It helps to build people’s expectations before they visit and it helps gain public support. It also helps to build a greater appreciation of national parks generally and of the conservation of Australia’s unique natural and cultural heritage.

 

Policies

6.5.1 Through cooperative marketing with the tourism industry, Tourism NT and Tourism Australia, the Director and the Board will promote and market the park in accordance with tourism principles (see Section 6.1, Tourism directions and recreational opportunities) and key messages determined by the Board (see Section 6.4, Visitor information, education and interpretation).

6.5.2 Parks Australia will continue to work with the Board of Management, Nguraritja and the tourism industry to update and manage guidelines on appropriate images and messages for promoting the park. The guidelines will continue to specifically focus on promoting the park’s World Heritage values.

6.5.3 Tour operators will be required to provide to Parks Australia copies of their brochures and other advertising material as part of their permit conditions. They will be encouraged to develop flexible itineraries that can take account of changing circumstances. Application procedures for specific tourism opportunities in the park will include assessment of whether their promotional material is consistent with park values.

6.5.4 The Director will inform the tourism industry as soon as possible when changes are made to visitor management in the park that will affect tourism products and their promotion.

Actions

6.5.5 Develop and implement a cooperative promotion and marketing strategy with the tourism industry and the Northern Territory and Australian Governments to appropriately market the park.

6.5.6 Develop joint marketing and interpretation material between the park and other Red Centre National Landscape stakeholders.

Photographers, artists and sound recordists are able to capture unique images and sounds that support maintenance of the park’s World Heritage values.

Ngura pulka Uluru-nya tjamulu munu kamilu iriti atunytju kanyintja tjukurpa pulkatjara. Iniwai putukaramilantja wiya. Anangu munu piranpa tjungu ngarama. Nyuntu nyanganyi puli wiru mulapa palu tjukurpa nyuntu putu nyanganyi munu kulini.
   © Rene Kulitja

Uluru is a very significant place with significant law that has been looked after and protected by our grandfathers and grandmothers for a long time. Do not photograph it without regard for the proper way to do this. This applies to both Anangu and non-Anangu alike. You are seeing a really beautiful rock but you might not be seeing and considering its cultural significance. ©

Given the park’s high national and international profile, each year many people and organisations from Australia and overseas seek to carry out commercial filming, photography and audio recording in the park. Imagery and sound materials are used for producing documentaries about the park’s cultural and natural significance, tourism and travel promotion materials, reference books and other publications. In addition, commercial media use images and sound in news reports about the park. Anangu welcome filmmakers, photographers and artists to the park but would like to ensure that material is obtained and used appropriately.

Under Tjukurpa, certain activities and materials are restricted to people who may properly view them and some stories may be spoken but not written or filmed. The capture and use of images and names of Anangu may be sensitive. How images and recordings are used can also cause some concern. The image of Uluru, for example, receives much exposure through books, postcards, posters, tea towels, ash trays, and a wide range of other items. Anangu consider that some of these uses are inappropriate for cultural reasons. In addition, cultural traditions, including but not exclusive to knowledge and stories, are considered to be subject to Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights. As such, there is closer management of images and sounds in the park than in many other national parks to protect Tjukurpa.

To help manage these issues, the Board of Management has approved guidelines for commercial image capture and use and for commercial sound recording.

The Board’s Film and Photography Consultative Committee provides advice and recommendations on permit applications, improved communication, film and photography issues related to the park, and potential breaches of legislation.

Filming, photography and sound recording also present an opportunity for Anangu to benefit from visitor use of the park. The Central Land Council and other agencies have responsibilities to assist Anangu in developing commercial arrangements with commercial film, photography and sound recording interests. The use of images taken within the park for advertising and promotion may be permitted when done in a way that promotes the park’s natural and cultural values. Acceptable image uses are described in the guidelines.

For visitors, images taken on a visit are important reminders of the park. Visitors are welcome to take pictures or create paintings; however there are some culturally sensitive areas where visitors are requested not to take images. These are clearly identified through information provided to park visitors, including onsite signage.


From time to time, the park receives media attention and various media representatives come to the park to cover stories of particular interest. These ‘news of the day’ media can be numerous on occasion, and their activities may extend to other types of image or sound recording. It has been practice to allow media to operate in the park without a permit to cover news of the day stories. However, such media have been required to liaise with the park’s media office before commencing any work and to receive a media briefing.

Images that are captured for commercial purposes and images used commercially require a permit. Sections 354 and 354A of the EPBC Act restrict commercial activities within Commonwealth reserves unless in accordance with a management plan. The EPBC Regulations (rr.12.24 and 12.38) regulate the capture of images and sound recordings and the deriving of commercial gain from images captured.

Policies

6.6.1 Commercial filming, photography and other image capture including artwork, and audio recording, may be carried on in the park and images of the park may be used for commercial gain:

(a) in accordance with:

         guidelines approved by the Board

         a permit issued by the Director or other authorisation arrangements approved by the Board

         payment of park fees

(b) where the activity is consistent with the protection and/or promotion of the park’s World, National and Commonwealth heritage values, including maintenance of Tjukurpa and respecting Anangu Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property (ICIP) rights.

 


6.6.2 Consistent with the film and photography guidelines, appropriate consultations will be undertaken before permits are issued for commercial filming, photography or other image capture, or for sound recording.

6.6.3 The Director will support and actively encourage Anangu to be involved in managing and benefiting from commercial filming, photography and other image capture, and audio recording in the park. This may include Anangu:

-        supervising film, photography and audio recording crews, and artists

-        providing contract commercial filming, photography and audio recording services

-        developing commercial initiatives with commercial film, photography and sound recording crews.

6.6.4 Television, newspaper and radio reporting relating to events of the day in the park will not require a permit from the Director. News reporters must be briefed by staff and comply with the film and photography guidelines. The Park Manager may set limits on the number of crews, photographers and sound recordists that are permitted in the park at any one time, depending on available resources.

6.6.5 Any person taking images or sound recordings in the park will be required to comply with any restrictions on areas that should not be photographed, types of images that may not be taken, and matters that should not be recorded.

6.6.6 The Director may prohibit or place restrictions on non-commercial image capture in the park for cultural reasons.

Actions

6.6.7 Provide interpretive material to make visitors and commercial photographers aware of restrictions on image capture in the park, and of their responsibilities in relation to accessing and photographing significant sites.

6.6.8 In consultation with Nguraritja and the Central Land Council, investigate establishing an image library for commercial use which provides commercial benefits to Anangu and protects cultural interests.

6.6.9 In consultation with the Board, investigate options for cost recovery for management of commercial image capture and sound recording activities and, if feasible, implement a practical cost recovery regime.

 

Commercial activities provide a range of rewarding experiences for visitors and benefits to Anangu while protecting Anangu interests and the park’s cultural and natural values.

Anangu kulintja wiru tjuta tjana wangkanyi nyakula kulini tjantjiku tjanampa warka palyantjaku Anangu waltja tjutaku. Paluru tjana unytju nyinara, touristku business tjaatarinytjaku, kutjutu kutjutu palyantjaku ngula tjana tjitji malatja malatja tjanalta warkarinyi.
   © Davey Inkamala

Many thoughtful people are discussing changes, looking at how to make work opportunities for their families. They have been thinking about starting tourism businesses, building them up step by step so that in the future their children and children’s children, they’ll be working. ©

Commercial operators have an important part to play in helping visitors appropriately use, appreciate and enjoy Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park. Well-run commercial operations also help Parks Australia manage visitors in the park and enhance visitors’ experience. Commercial tour operators bring a large proportion of visitors to the park.

Nguraritja expect to benefit from their land being managed as a national park and from the use of their land for tourism. They seek direct employment of Anangu in the park and in the development of tourism ventures. Section 9(1)(k) of the Lease refers to Parks Australia support for such Anangu owned activities.

Proposals to undertake new types of commercial activities are submitted to the Board from time to time. Many activities are not suitable to being undertaken in the park. Key considerations include the extent to which Anangu might benefit, whether the proposed activities are culturally appropriate, and their impact on the park.

Some requests have been received by the Board for exclusive access to some areas of the park for commercial purposes, and exclusive provision of certain activities. The Board has agreed that under certain conditions such opportunities might be considered if the proponents are Anangu owned or jointly owned enterprises.

 


Under ss.354 and 354A of the EPBC Act commercial tour operations can only be carried on in accordance with a management plan. Commercial tour operators must also comply with relevant Northern Territory legislation, for example for registration of tour vehicles. At the time of preparing this plan fees for commercial tour permits are set out in the EPBC Regulations.

Under the EPBC Regulations (r.12.36) commercial flights operated over the park up to 3,000 metres above sea level (other than flights on approved flight paths to or from an airport) are deemed to be carried on in the park and need to be authorised by a permit or a management plan. See Section 6.2, Access and site management, for further discussion about access to the park by air.

All commercial operations in the park require a permit from the Director. The Director may impose conditions on any permit issued and may also cancel a permit if an operator does not meet the conditions imposed. The permit system helps to ensure that safety standards are adhered to and that the park’s values are protected.

Vehicle-based tour operators must comply with permit conditions related to insurance, indemnity, provision of visitor statistics, fee payment, access, the quality of information provided to visitors, visitor safety and their duty of care for visitors.

Policies

6.7.1 Commercial operations may be undertaken in the park in accordance with a permit issued by the Director.

6.7.2 The Director may grant subleases or licences or approve permits for exclusive-use commercial activities approved by the Board in accordance with Policy 6.7.3.

6.7.3 Proposals for new commercial activities may be approved by the Board. In making its decision about a new activity, the Board will consider:

-            the activity’s consistency with maintenance of the park’s World, National and Commonwealth heritage values and World, National and Commonwealth heritage management principles (see Appendix B, C, D and Appendix H); maintenance of Tjukurpa; and consistency with the principles for tourism directions (Policy 6.1.1)


-            consistency with the presentation of Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park as Aboriginal land

-            benefits to Nguraritja

-            visitor and other safety issues

-            impacts on other park users

-            the costs to the Director of managing and monitoring the activity.

6.7.4 Some classes of commercial activities may be reserved for enterprises that Anangu own or part own or for enterprises that operate under legally binding employment and/or benefit sharing partnerships between the company and Anangu.

6.7.5 All commercial tour activities will continue to be managed in accordance with arrangements in place at the commencement of this plan until reviewed by the Board following consultation with the tourism industry.

6.7.6 Commencing at a time to be agreed with the tourism industry, tour guides and pilots will be required to complete entry-level tour guide training before being permitted to operate commercial tours within the park boundary or airspace.

6.7.7 The Director will encourage tour operators to take up industry-based accreditation. Consideration will be given to introducing further incentives to encourage the uptake of accreditation, such as extended permit tenure and exclusive or restricted access to sites or types of activities.

6.7.8 Aircraft (with the exception of hot air balloons, zeppelins, gyrocopters and similar types of aircraft) may be operated for the following commercial purposes in the airspace over the park up to 3,000 metres above mean sea level without a permit from the Director: regular commercial and service delivery activities such as passenger transport, charter operations and medical transport to and from Yulara.

6.7.9 Aircraft, with the exception of hot air balloons, zeppelins, gyrocopters and similar types of aircraft, may be operated for other commercial purposes (such as scenic flights) in the airspace over the park up to 3,000 metres above mean sea level without a permit from the Director provided the activity is undertaken in accordance with the Fly Neighbourly Agreement and pilots have undertaken the compulsory tour guide training course.

Actions

6.7.10 In consultation with the tourism industry, review the commercial operator permit system. Consider and if appropriate change:

-        the number of permits or limits on visitor numbers for particular areas or activities

-        the length of permits, permit fees and permit conditions

-        the application process for all or some types of activities including new and/or exclusive activities

-        extent and delivery of benefits to Anangu such as payments and employment

-        activity types that could be reserved for Anangu businesses

-        how permits are monitored.

6.7.11 Work with the tourism industry to identify efficient means to reduce the carbon footprint from tourism activities and to investigate, and implement where feasible, more sustainable ways of using and managing resources related to tourism activities in the park.

Visitors to the park have a safe experience.

Ara nyangatja Anangu tjuta munu ranger tjuta tjungu warkaringanyi warkaringkula nyakukatinyi minga tjuta wirura ‘safe’ para-ngarala park-angka malaku tjanampa ngurakutu ankunytjaku. Minga tjuta pulkara wirura atunymananyi.
   © Imantura Richards

This is about Anangu and rangers working together, making sure visitors are alright as they travel about the park, so they can return safely to their homes. Taking really good care of tourists. ©

Nguraritja have a strong sense of responsibility for the safety of visitors to their land, often assisting a great deal in search and rescue. They believe however that visitors should respect Tjukurpa by not jeopardising their safety when visiting the park. Tjukurpa determines the rules of proper behaviour.

The Director has a range of responsibilities in relation to health and safety incidents in the park. The Director also has a duty of reasonable care for park visitors and staff, and a duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1991 to take reasonably practicable steps to protect employees, contractors and park visitors from risks to their health and safety.

Ensuring visitors are well prepared and have appropriate expectations about a visit to the park are significant factors in helping to ensure a safe visit. The key safety issues include risks associated with being in extreme temperatures, visitors who are not physically suited to strenuous activities or are inappropriately prepared for walking in the park or hot temperatures, and wandering off walking tracks. As most visitors come via Yulara, information received there can help visitor understanding of safety issues and appropriate activities. Tour guides are also a major source of information.

A range of measures is adopted in the park to reduce risks to visitors, including:

As a result of these measures there has been a reduction in deaths and serious injury to visitors in recent years.


Climate change predictions suggest that temperatures are likely to increase in arid Australia, possibly by as much as 5.1°C by 2070. This will result in half the year having days with temperatures likely to exceed 35°C. This compares with an average of 89 days above 35°C in 2007 (Hyder 2008). If these predictions eventuate, they will have significant implications for visitor comfort and safety in the park.

Under the EPBC Regulations (r.12.23) the Director may close areas of the park where it is necessary for safety reasons. This may include closing areas to people engaged in particular activities.

All visitor safety incidents are reported, recorded and reviewed regularly. Using this information the Director has compiled a Risk Watch List for the park that identifies and rates a range of risks, including risks to visitor safety. Additional management measures are identified and implemented to reduce significant risks, subject to available resources.

Policies

6.8.1 Where reasonable and practicable the Director may, subject to and in accordance with the EPBC Regulations, prohibit activities in the park that present a risk to public safety or close areas of the park where necessary in order to prevent people engaging in unsafe activities.

6.8.2 Risks will be regularly assessed and management measures to address risks will be reviewed and amended in accordance with the Director’s Risk Management Policy.

6.8.3 Visitor management programs will be adapted as necessary to continue to ensure visitor comfort and safety under changing climatic conditions. This will include raising visitor awareness about climatic conditions and ways to minimise any risks.

Action

6.8.4Prepare and periodically review risk assessments of visitor sites and facilities and implement management measures to reduce visitor risks.

 

Anangu aspirations for Mutitjulu are to improve the life and well being of Community members and future generations, look after country and strengthen culture, and for Anangu to determine the priorities and management directions for the Community.

Uluru–Kata Tjuta National Park lies within a broader area of Aboriginal land and areas in the park derive their meaning from, and contribute meaning to, places outside the park.

Maintaining cooperative working relationships with stakeholders, relevant agencies and regional neighbours contributes to the management of the park.

That Mutitjulu continues to develop as a community which provides a healthy, sustainable environment for Anangu to visit and live in the park and contribute to park values.

Nganana wirura councilangka warkaripai Mutitjulula parka kulu-kulu atunymara kanyilpai munula tjukaruru kanyinma ngura nganampa.
   © Judy Trigger

We do good work on the Council, both at Mutitjulu and also protecting and looking after the park. We must look after our place properly. ©

Nganampa ngaranyi wali wiru kanyintjaku, munu fence-tjara, papa tjarpanytjaku tawara walikutu. Ukiri pakaltjingkunytjaku munu punu kulu-kulu ulpuru pakantjaku tawara wiltjangka nyinantjaku.
   © Cedric Kunmanara

We need good housing that is healthy and safe, with running water, and proper fences to keep dogs out and to grow lawn and trees, to stop dust and for shade. ©

The Mutitjulu Community lies within the park, 1.5 kilometres from the eastern side of Uluru. The population, which has fluctuated between 150 and 400, is comprised of Nguraritja, relevant Aboriginals and a significant number of non-Aboriginal people. Anangu see the existence of a well-functioning community as being important for successful ongoing joint management arrangements for the park. While many Nguraritja live at Mutitjulu Community, others live in communities on Aboriginal lands throughout the south-west of the Northern Territory, north-west of South Australia, and in centres such as Alice Springs. Decisions about Tjukurpa and Aboriginal culture in relation to the park and surrounding land are made by the broader Nguraritja group assisted by the Central Land Council.


The establishment of Mutitjulu is related to the development of tourism in the region, the implications this had for Anangu, and past policies towards Indigenous Australians. The first tourists visited the Uluru area in 1936. In 1948 the first vehicular track to Uluru was constructed, responding to increasing tourism interest in the region. Tour bus services began in the early 1950s. In 1958, in response to pressures to support tourism enterprises, the area that is now the park was excised from the Petermann Aboriginal Reserve to be managed by the Northern Territory Reserves Board as the Ayers Rock–Mount Olga National Park. With increasing tourism development in the area from the late 1950s, Anangu were discouraged from visiting the park. However, Anangu continued to travel widely over their traditional lands, pursuing ceremonial life, visiting family, and hunting and collecting food. The semi-permanent water available at Uluru made it a particularly important stopping point on the western route of these journeys.

In 1964 pastoral subsidies in the region were revoked, forcing large numbers of Anangu off pastoral leases and increasing the numbers of Anangu residing at Uluru. By the early 1970s Anangu found their traditional country unprecedentedly accessible with roads, vehicles, radio communications and an extended network of settlements. At a time of major change in government policies, new approaches to welfare policies promoting economic self-sufficiency for Aboriginal people began to conflict with the then prevailing park management policies. The establishment in 1972 of the Ininti Store as an Aboriginal enterprise on a lease within the park offering supplies and services to tourists, became the nucleus of a permanent Anangu community within the park.

EPBC Act and Park Lease

Section 367(1)(d) of the EPBC Act requires the management plan to be consistent with the Director’s Lease obligations. In relation to Mutitjulu, the Lease states that traditional owners of the park and other Aboriginals entitled to use or occupy the park have the right to reside within the park at Mutitjulu or at such other locations specified in the management plan, subject to

The Lease further states that the Land Trust reserves the right to request the Director to sublet any reasonable part of the park to a Relevant Aboriginal Association. At the time of preparing this plan, the Relevant Aboriginal Association is the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) incorporated under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006.

The Lease also requires the Director to fund the Relevant Aboriginal Association for the purpose of providing a Community Liaison Officer in accordance with a budget approved by the Board (see Section 4.1, Making decisions and working together).

Section 358 of the EPBC Act allows the Director to grant leases, subleases and licences in the park (including Mutitjulu) in accordance with a management plan.

As noted in Section 2.4 of this plan, ss.354(1) and 354A(1) of the EPBC Act prohibit certain actions being taken in the park, including Mutitjulu, except in accordance with a management plan. This includes actions that affect native plants or animals, carrying on an excavation, building or other works; and commercial activities. The EPBC Regulations relevant to management of the park also apply to Mutitjulu, subject to a management plan (and the terms of any sublease).


Traditional use of land in the park for hunting, food gathering, ceremonial and religious purposes is exempted from ss.354 and 354A of the EPBC Act by s.359A and exempted from the operation of the Regulations by r.12.06(1)(e).

This Section of the plan includes policies that set out how the EPBC Act and Regulations will apply to other activities in Mutitjulu, including activities which though prohibited elsewhere in the park are allowed at Mutitjulu.

The Director has restricted public access to the Mutitjulu Community in the past under the EPBC Regulations (r.12.23) to allow the continuing cultural use of the area, to protect the privacy and quiet enjoyment of residents and to reduce interruption or disturbance.

Mutitjulu

The presence of Nguraritja at Mutitjulu contributes to the maintenance of the park’s World, National and Commonwealth heritage values.

While Mutitjulu is located within the park, support for the day-to-day functioning of the community is the responsibility of a range of other Australian Government and Northern Territory agencies for matters including residents’ health and welfare, policing, day-to-day community services, infrastructure, employment, training and education.

In accordance with the Lease conditions, the Director provides funding for the position of Community Liaison Officer in accordance with a budget approved by the Board of Management. The role of this position is to liaise between the Mutitjulu Community and Parks Australia about management activities and present Mutitjulu Community views to the Board.

Mutitjulu is also subject to a range of other legislation in addition to the EPBC Act and Regulations.

An ongoing challenge in Mutitjulu’s development is the sensitive nature of the environment in which it was built, and the issue of essential services required for a growing population, notably water and power.

The Mutitjulu Community and the park see it as essential to maintain and improve measures for managing weeds, domestic animals, sewage, waste, and water. Any new infrastructure will need to take account of total impact on the area, and be managed in accordance with appropriate impact assessment procedures.

At the time of preparing this plan, whilst not required to, the Director provides all essential services (power, water and sewerage) to Mutitjulu Community which diverts resources from park management activities. To help offset the costs of providing power a user-pays system for power has been introduced. Other Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory have their essential services supplied and maintained by the Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation and other appropriate agencies.

The Director, the Board and the Community want essential services at Mutitjulu to be delivered by an agency that is better equipped to deliver those services. Discussions with the Northern Territory Government regarding transfer of responsibilities for essential services are continuing at the time of preparing this plan. Power and water are significant issues for the Mutitjulu Community and Community members want the issues resolved quickly.


The Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation has for many years managed the Community area, provided services to the Community and managed the buildings and infrastructure. The exceptions to this have been the provision of essential services infrastructure and the maintenance of some houses by the Director, and responsibility for buildings occupied by other service agencies.

From 1 July 2008 new local government arrangements for regions and communities in the Northern Territory were implemented. Under these arrangements the southern region of the Northern Territory, including the park, is now within the boundaries of the MacDonnell Shire Council. The Shire Council has powers and responsibilities under the Local Government Act 2008 (NT), though in the park this is subject to the EPBC Act and Regulations. Shire councils also deliver a range of community services on behalf of other government agencies, and may also provide some services on a fee for service basis. The MacDonnell Shire Council commenced providing a range of local government and other services in Mutitjulu in early 2009. At the time of preparing this plan the long-term future of these arrangements is still under consideration.

Policies

7.1.1 Mutitjulu may continue to exist in its current location for the purpose of providing a community for relevant Aboriginals to reside in a socially, economically and sustainable community in the park, together with rights of access for their employees, staff, invitees and agents in accordance with the Park Lease conditions; and to enable and assist Anangu to maintain their ongoing association with the park.

 


7.1.2 The Director will pursue agreements with appropriate agencies regarding the provision of municipal and essential services consistent with the following principles:

-        better outcomes for Nguraritja, Mutitjulu Community, and the Director

-        improved management of the park

-        enhancement of the park’s World, National and Commonwealth heritage values.

7.1.3 The Director may enter into a sublease with the Relevant Aboriginal Association, or other entity. Any sublease arrangement will:

-        be consistent with the conditions of the Lease between the Land Trust and the Director

-        clearly define the area covered by the sublease

-        include provisions for minimising impacts on park values

-        include environmental protection measures, including waste management.

7.1.4 When making decisions or taking actions in relation to Mutitjulu under this Section, the Director will follow the Guide to Decision-making (Table 1 in Section 4.1) which sets out the consultation required, and Section 8.5, Assessment of proposals.

7.1.5 The EPBC Act and Regulations applying in the park in accordance with this plan will apply to Mutitjulu, with the exceptions specified in Policies 7.1.8 to 7.1.18.

7.1.6 The Director’s approval will be required for proposed actions in the Mutitjulu Community which affect the delivery of an essential service provided by the Director to ensure there is no negative impact on service capacity.

7.1.7 The Director will support developments in Mutitjulu which are demonstrably for the benefit of the Community, subject to resources and capacity constraints and impacts on the park.

7.1.8 Minor works and excavations (such as digging in a garden, fixing existing infrastructure or undertaking minor renovations to existing buildings) will not require a permit or other approval from the Director.

7.1.9 Construction of new buildings, and works and excavations other than minor works and excavations (such as large excavations, renovations which involve a substantial addition to the existing footprint or a new building), will require a permit or other approval from the Director, which may be given subject to conditions.

7.1.10 The Director may agree to arrangements under which construction of buildings, works and excavations may be carried on without the need for a permit or approval from the Director.

7.1.11 Government agencies providing services to the Mutitjulu Community should perform those functions in a manner consistent with this plan.

7.1.12 Commercial activities (such as tourism related activities) may be carried on in the Mutitjulu Community in accordance with a permit or other form of approval from the Director. A permit or approval from the Director will not be required where the primary purpose of the activity is to provide a service to the Community (such as the Community store).

7.1.13 A permit will not be required for reasonable use of pesticides, herbicides or other poisonous substances for domestic purposes unless the Director determines otherwise.


7.1.14 Mutitjulu Community residents may keep up to two dogs per residence without a permit from the Director, provided that the person in charge of a dog complies with conditions set by the Director for the protection of human health and safety and park values.

7.1.15 Other domestic animals may only be kept at Mutitjulu in accordance with a permit. The Director will not issue a permit unless satisfied there is minimal risk of adverse impacts on native species or ecosystems, or human health and safety.

7.1.16 Consistent with the domestic plants policy, approved plants may be brought into and kept, propagated and/or cultivated in Mutitjulu without a permit issued by the Director.

7.1.17 Public address systems, loud speakers, portable generators and alternators, and other equipment covered by r.12.27 of the EPBC Regulations may be used in the Community without a permit from the Director. Such equipment must be used in a way that does not cause a nuisance to other members of the Community.

7.1.18 Non-commercial social and cultural events involving more than 15 people may be held
in the Community without a permit from the Director under the EPBC Regulations.

Actions

7.1.19 The Director will monitor, and where necessary review, arrangements for access to the Community in consultation with the Central Land Council and the Relevant Aboriginal Association.

7.1.20 The Director will work with the Mutitjulu Community, Central Land Council and other relevant agencies to prepare and implement a community development plan consistent with the aims and policies of this Section of the management plan.

7.1.21 The Director will pursue agreements with appropriate agencies regarding the provision of municipal and essential services. In the interim, the Director will continue to work with all relevant agencies to clarify roles and responsibilities for service delivery and community management in Mutitjulu.

7.1.22 The Director will develop a domestic plants policy and work with relevant bodies to ensure awareness of the domestic plants policy.

7.1.23 The Director will work with relevant bodies to effectively manage the domestic dog population.

 

Cooperative relations and partnerships are developed and maintained with park neighbours and stakeholders in a manner that focuses on promoting the joint management of the park and achieving common management aims.

Ngaranyi manta park-angka urilta kulu-kulu manage-amilantjaku. Atunymankunytjaku ngura park-angka urilta ngarantja tjuta.
   © Barbara Tjikatu

The land both within and outside the park needs to be managed. There are many significant places to protect outside the park. ©

Uluru–Kata Tjuta