Uluru course in planning stages

A new golf course near the World Heritage Site of Uluru (Ayers Rock) in central Australia is reaching the end of the planning stage.

The Ayers Rock Resort, owned by the Australian government-backed Indigenous Land Corporation, is behind the proposed course, which would be built on a site around 10km from Uluru itself and which, the developers say, would not be visible from the rock.

The Indigenous Land Corporation recently acquired the resort through its subsidiary Voyages Indigenous Tourism, and is investing heavily in the property to encourage visitors, many of whom pass through the area quickly, to stay longer. The golf course is seen as a key part of that strategy.

Hydrological and environmental management plans have been lodged with the Federal Environment Department. Voyages managing director Koos Klein told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that the use of recycled water to irrigate the course would mean that only a small amount of water would need to be extracted from the underground aquifers that serve the area, and that hydrology studies show this would be sustainable. He also said that the local Aboriginal tribes had been fully consulted about the proposal, and that the site had been authorised by the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority after a sacred sites survey. The local Anangu people regard Uluru as sacred.

The nearest golf course is at Alice Springs, around 300km away, and was designed in the 1980s by Thomson Wolveridge and Perrett.

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