A GOLF course near Uluru has been proposed in a bid to get tourists to extend their stay at the Ayers Rock Resort.
The federal government has received an application from the resort's operator, Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia, to build a 28-hectare, 18-hole course at a cost of $15 million-$20 million about 10 kilometres from Uluru.
But preliminary hydrological reports warn of an environmental cost from a golf course, saying irrigating it, together with providing water for the resort, could deplete aquifers within a century.
The application lists other potential risks such as irrigated green patches clashing against the national park and Uluru when seen from the air and road, construction accelerating desert erosion, or irrigation and fertilisation of the golfing green affecting native plants and salt levels.
''There is not much to do there in the eye of many tourists other than visiting Uluru and Kata Tjuta [the Olgas], which for many of us should be enough, but we are talking here about the average tourist who is looking for things to do,'' the Voyages managing director, Koos Klein, said.