MICHAEL OWEN, POLITICAL REPORTER
November 12, 2008 11:30pm
THE State Government has rejected claims the true reason for the closure of the Simpson Desert Conservation Park is "the presence of aliens". http://www.news.com.au/adelaidenow/story/0,22606,24643427-5006301,00.html
But Environment Minister Jay Weatherill told Parliament yesterday that he could "not entirely rule out the existence of aliens in the park".
Online forums are running hot with conspiracy theories of a Government cover-up after the Environment Department on Tuesday announced parts of the Simpson Desert will be closed from December 1 to March 15.
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The official reason is "a risk assessment identified that extreme temperatures constitute a very high safety risk" to local businesses, tour operators and other people in the area.
But bloggers to one website, Adventure Rider, claimed "something smells very funny indeed".
Outback desert closed to protect tourists
Tourists will be banned from a vast area of the Australian outback for the first time this summer to prevent deaths from the extreme heat. http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2008/nov/12/australia-outback-desert-simpson
The government announced that the Simpson desert - situated in the dry, inhospitable heart of Australia - will be off limits from December 1 when temperatures are forecast to reach 139 Fahrenheit (58C).
The harsh and unforgiving region, which has become a rite of passage for many British travellers, spans three Australian states, and around 68,000 sq ml (176,500 sq km).
In the height of summer the temperature of the desert sand reaches a blistering 203 Fahrenheit (95C), capable of burning through shoes, said Joel Fleming, who has risked his life to rescue stranded tourists from the region.