The Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy is calling for all supporters to get to their camp as the commencement of work draws closer.
AC News understands that Major Road Projects Victoria is currently seeking a court order to start works on the duplication between Buangor and Ararat.
“If it’s granted today [they could start] as early as tomorrow. We’ve got supporters on their way over today/tomorrow,” a Djab Wurrung Embassy spokeswoman said.
A meeting is being held at their camp tonight, 7pm, to “fully prepare.”
The State Government has welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to reject a heritage protection application, which allows work to resume on the Western Highway duplication.
There have been more than 100 crashes and 11 fatalities on the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell in recent years – many seen throughout the last 12 months. Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said the duplication of the highway will vastly improve safety for people in Victoria’s west.
“It’s crucial for the safety of the local community that the Western Highway upgrade is complete, and now a decision has been made we’ll look to deliver this much-needed project, she said.
The project has undergone planning over several years, including a full independent Environment Effect Statement process.
The Cultural Heritage Management Plan for the upgrade has been approved by a number of indigenous organisations, with steps being taken to respectively manage 21 Aboriginal heritage places.
“We’re pleased a decision has been reached after extensive consultation and significant design revisions – we’ll look to restart work as soon as possible,” Minister Allan said
“The project has been approved by the Registered Aboriginal Party, Martang Pty Ltd and by the Eastern Marr Aboriginal Corporation, it has all necessary planning, environment and cultural heritage permissions and following the Federal Government’s decision, we’re pleased to be able to get back to work.”
Earlier this year the Government agreed to significantly alter the design of the project to avoid two trees of concern. Additional design revisions made since will allow for an additional 13 trees to be retained.
The Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy, located at the cultural site, has continued to express its dissatisfaction towards the approval granted by other indigenous groups.
“This is not just about a small number of trees but a whole landscape of connection which is at risk,” the Embassy said Friday.
“This is an act of Genocide, to attack the land is to attack our birthright, our culture and the continuation of our existence.”
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-Founder of AC News in 2017