Pauline Hanson Says Australians Deserve To Climb Uluru Because It's A Money Making Machine
The topic of climbing one of Australia's most iconic natural landmarks was front and centre of conversation last week.
Pictures of hundreds of tourists climbing the sacred rock went viral on social media and seemed to really split opinion on whether it was right.
A climbing ban will be introduced in late October and it seems like people are flocking to the site in their droves in order to tick it off the bucket list before it comes illegal.
Well, it seems like Pauline Hanson is certainly in the corner of 'let's keep it open', telling Channel 9's The Today Show that it's a money making machine for the area.
"We've got nearly 400 people employed there; 38 percent are Aboriginal, they're employed there, and Torres Strait Islanders," she told the host.
"The fact is, it's money making, it's giving jobs to the Indigneous community, you get four to five thousand tourists a year that want to go there and climb the rock.
"It's no different to saying we're going to close down Bondi Beach because there are some people there that have drowned. How ridiculous is that! This is an iconic site for all Australians.
"I can't see the cultural sensitivity when people have been climbing the rock all these years and now all of a sudden they want to shut it down? No, I just don't get it, I really don't get it.
"And how are they going to pay back the Australian tax payer?"
It's not really hard to understand the concern around climbing Uluru.
The massive sandstone rock formation in the Northern Territory is important to the Pitjantjatjara Anangu people and forms part of their understanding of how the world was created.
For years people have been told not to climb the site because it's viewed as a desecration of a precious site - but tourists have done it anyway.
Unfortunately, not only is walking all over a sacred site an issue, but the hordes of tourists are creating a problem as well for the local area.
Sure, dollars are great, but waste is not.
According to the ABC, people are illegally camping on the side of the road because the areas around the site are full.
Stephen Schwer, chief executive of Tourism Central Australia told the national broadcaster: "Where a lot of this comes from is people assuming they will simply be able to find space, and when they can't find space, they find it themselves - and when they do, they are trespassing.
"When there is the kind of influx of drive travel as we are seeing at the moment, there is an influx of waste."
Locals say there have been hundreds of people coming into nearby towns, hoping to climb Uluru but also not caring for the waste they leave behind.
The ban comes into effect on October 28.
Featured Image Credit: PA