Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park COVID-19 – Frequently asked questions
Is Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park open?
To mitigate the spread of Covid-19, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is closed to visitors and other non-essential travellers until 11.59 pm 18 June 2020.
This closure is under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Regulations. In addition, measures are in place for the park and surrounding MacDonnell Shire Local Government Area (LGA) under the Biosecurity Act.
I’m a resident, can I still use the park?
Whilst the park is closed to visitors under the EPBC Act, the Biosecurity Act identifies designated areas which contain remote Indigenous communities, and restricts and regulates the conditions of entry. The movement of residents between Yulara and the park/LGA is restricted under the Biosecurity Act, requiring 14 days isolation. Residents of Mutitjulu are able to move within the park.
How are vulnerable staff being protected?
As of 11.59 pm Thursday 9 March, the NT Government implemented the “Back to Community” model for remote Aboriginal communities in the NT. This model is in place to protect vulnerable people in remote communities from COVID-19 risks.
In order to protect vulnerable staff, Yulara-based staff are working at the park entry station. Other staff in the park are working on core tasks divided between the national park and Mutitjulu community.
Other vulnerable staff have made the decision to work from home.
Mutitjulu community members are restricting their movements in the interests of their health.
What are staff doing while there are no visitors?
Staff working from home are performing usual day-to-day core business tasks, sharing administration tasks and focusing on projects.
There is plenty of field and cultural heritage work for staff to be getting on with to manage this protected environment.
In addition, the Mutitjulu Community Ranger Program has focussed its efforts on work in the community.
Cultural Centre staff have been rostered into other areas of the park, such as the entry station which ensures there are more staff keeping the park safely closed.
Why are staff still working in the park?
Whilst the park is closed to visitors and there are no recorded cases of the virus in the southern half of the NT, staff have been carefully getting on with core tasks. Staff are practicing social distancing in all their activities whether they are outside working in the field or indoors. A number of staff are working from home. We have increased our cleaning and are making efforts to keep common areas clean, and to maintain good personal hygiene, handwashing and staying home if feeling unwell.
How are you keeping Indigenous communities safe?
Park staff residing in Yulara are not permitted to visit Mutitjulu the community until further notice – access to these sites is by residents only. All essential workers to the community must apply for an essential workers card to be able to work on community. To find out more about travel to and from remote community in the NT, visit the NT Government website, call the remote travel hotline on 1800 518 189 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mutitjulu community members are being provided with information and education at community meetings and at the Mutitjulu health clinic. Materials have been provided by Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corporation (MCAC) and the Central Land Council (CLC) and the park has assisted by printing these, and helping to distribute materials via Mutitjulu staff. Members of the Mutitjulu community are encouraged to contact the community health clinic if they are feeling unwell or have any flu-like symptoms.
What impact does this have on residents and traditional owners staying within the park?
This closure is not intended to restrict traditional use of the park by the Mutitjulu Community for hunting, gathering, ceremonial or religious purposes. Traditional owners are able to move freely within the park.
Are contractors allowed into the park?
Only approved remote essential workers can now visit the park and Mutitjulu Community. If your organisation is required to deliver essential activities in Northern Territory designated areas, your organisation will need to apply for an Approved Remote Essential Worker ID card. To do this you must follow the process outlined on the Coronavirus.nt.gov.au website. To enter the community, contractors need to contact MCAC and are escorted to their destination.
How will you communicate to the public, community, residents and visitors?
There will be notifications on the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park website and Facebook pages and through Parks Australia social media channels. We will also keep industry updated through regular correspondence.