Calls to keep Uluru closed to tourists
Local communities living around the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park have called for the popular tourist destination to stay closed, given the airport is scheduled to be reopened next month.
According to the ABC, the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) want nearby Connellan Airport to remain closed - despite plans to reopen on August 1 - because of concerns tourists from interstate hotspots could spread the virus.
Given the amount of residents from hotspots in Victoria and NSW who have flouted self-isolation rules, locals who live around the Uluru region are concerned the same flouting of regulations could happen in the Northern Territory.
Last week, the Northern Territory reopened state borders on July 17 to everyone except Victorian residents and anyone from greater Sydney, given the recent spike in cases both regions are experiencing.
Speaking to media on Wednesday, NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said the decision was to protect Territorians, saying the hotspot regions "present a danger to the Territory".
Speaking to the ABC, MCAC director Craig Woods urged the park's board of management and the Central Land Council to consider keeping the airport closed, because "people's lives are more important than money".
"Indigenous people suffer more chronic disease than other citizens," he said.
"It only takes one to infect our community … (and we) really don't have a fair idea of how COVID-19 infects (our) people and the suffering that happens.
"We really don't want to see it in our backyard."
It is understood that Ayres Rock Resort alone is losing $3 million a month since significantly reducing operations since April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, with some saying it will take at least 12 month before the resort will return to full operations.