27 Oct At Uluru, a silver anniversary gives the owners a key to prosperity (Sydney Morning Herald)
RETURNING Ayers Rock to its Anangu traditional owners 25 years ago was a symbolic moment for indigenous land rights. However, it failed to provide the jobs and training for Aborigines that were expected as a luxury desert resort and tourism grew at the massive rock that is now known as Uluru.
“It’s good when tourists come here … but we haven’t done much in the past 25 years, so we’re looking forward to sharing and also caring and conserving the place and sharing it with national and international tourists,” said Harry Wilson, the chairman of the Uluru-Kata Tjuta board of management, which hosted a festival yesterday to mark the anniversary.
The future of Uluru, which attracts more than 300,000 visitors a year, is at another turning point. Earlier this month a novice tourism and hotel operator, the Indigenous Land Council, bought the entire Ayers Rock Resort, including the airport, for $300 million, in an arrangement with Wana Ungkunytja, which represents business interests in nearby indigenous communities.
“Hopefully, with the buying of the resort it will bring more changes for Anangu in this region with employment and training and job opportunities,” Mr Wilson said.
Shirley McPherson, the chairwoman of the council, has promised that within five years, 200 of the resort’s staff of 670 will be indigenous. In that period, 500 indigenous trainees would graduate from a training academy to be established at Uluru. …Go to article.