Tourists would be banned from climbing Uluru in protest over the Northern Territory intervention, a protest rally in Sydney has heard.
Vince Forrester, an elder from the Mutitjulu people who are the traditional owners of the tourist icon, said closing the rock to climbers would highlight the problems caused by the “draconian” intervention plan.
He addressed about 300 people who gathered at The Block, on the CBD’s southern edge, before they marched into the city to mark the one-year anniversary of the intervention.
“We’ve got to take some affirmative action to stop this racist piece of legislation,” Mr Forrester told the rally goers.
“We’re going to throw a big rock on top of the tourist industry … We will close the climb and no one will climb Uluru ever again – no one.”
Mr Forrester said the intervention had introduced more bureaucracy to the Northern Territory, while the extra resources were not being seen on the ground in Aboriginal communities.
“The government says it is spending a lot of money – it’s not getting to us, it’s going to the bureaucrats,” he said.
Quarantining welfare funds also required Aboriginal people to leave their local communities and shop in Alice Springs, Mr Forrester said.
“It’s a five or six hour drive away … so much for building up our own economic base in our own communities,” he said.
“Every Aboriginal man is now tainted with a brush, they have emasculated us, they have said we are all woman bashers, we are all alcoholics, we are all child abusers.”
The intervention plan was rolled out by the former Howard government in the wake of a report which highlighted alarming rates of indigenous child abuse.