Traditional Owners will not move until ‘sacred lands are protected’

Western Highway protesters have been given 14 days to leave after Major Road Projects Victoria hand-delivered eviction notices last Thursday.

Traditional Owners at the Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy were left furious but defiant after already spending 14 months at the site.

PHOTO: Djab Wurrung Embassy (Facebook)

“This notice says one thing, the Andrews Government wants to pick a fight with the Traditional Owners of this Land” says Zellenach Djab Mara, Lore Man at the Djab Wurrung Protection Embassy.

“We have lived here on Country for 14 months now, and at the end of the day we’re not going to put up with it, we’re not going to tolerate it. We’re not moving until our sacred lands are protected. Sovereignty was never ceded.”

Signs placed in the area say, “This land will be used for the duplication of the Western Highway – Buangor to Ararat project (Project).”

“Access to this land is not permitted.”

“All persons not employed to work on the Project or otherwise expressively permitted access this land are prohibited from entering and have no other lawful excuse entering this place.”

Major Road Projects Victoria is yet to comment publically.

Work is expected to begin late next week after the 14-day notice expires – it is expected that protesters will remain onsite.

Aboriginal authority deregistered

An Aboriginal authority that approved the Western Highway duplication has been deregistered.

Martang Incorporated’s status as a Registered Aboriginal Party ended on July 31 after it gave approval for the Victorian Government project.

It is unclear if the deregistration will affect the project.

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