Bowel-challenged Uluru climbers add injury to insult

NORTHERN Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson says it is outrageous and offensive that tourists are defecating on top of Uluru, an Aboriginal sacred site.

But he has blamed tour operators, saying they should tell tourists who climb the 348-metre-high rock how to behave.

''Tour operators who take people to the rock should certainly be explaining to people the significance of the rock … that type of behaviour is just quite offensive frankly,'' Mr Henderson said.

Asked whether the rock should be closed to climbers, Mr Henderson joined Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in declaring the climb should remain open.

''We think that a full closure of the rock is not the way to go,'' Mr Henderson said.

Earlier, tour operator Andrew Simpson revealed that people have been defecating on the rock for years.

''When people climb up to the top of the rock there's no toilet facilities up there,'' said Mr Simpson, general manager of the Anangu Waai tour company.

''They get out of sight … [and] most of them have a toilet roll tucked away,'' he told journalists in Darwin. ''They're s----ing on a sacred site.''

The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park website warns tourists there are no toilets on top of the rock or soil to dig a hole.


''When it rains, everything gets washed off the rock and into waterholes where precious reptiles, birds, animals and frogs live,'' the website says. ''A water quality study of Uluru has found significantly higher bacterial levels in waterholes fed by run-off from the climb site, compared with further away,'' it says.

Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett is considering whether to close the climb, which is made by 38 per cent of 350,000 tourists who visit the rock each year.

Thirty-five people have died climbing the rock, which is higher than the Eiffel Tower and as high as a 95-storey building.

Mr Garrett has received 150 submissions about Uluru, including from local Aboriginal people, who have erected a sign at the rock's base politely asking tourists not to climb it.

''It's now time for me to have a good, careful look, at all those submissions that have come forward,'' Mr Garrett said.

Mr Rudd said this year that a ban on climbing the rock would be ''very sad''.