The relevance of the National land clearing disaster in Australia to Desecration of Sacred Land Western Highway Victoria. Where is Sussan Ley The Minister for the Enviroment.
The laissez faire ideology run by a neoliberalism agenda emanating from the nine separate parliaments of Australia has allowed our politicians and our major political parties to obfuscate their responsibility to the families of Australia to plan for the future. This failure to plan and to ensure the judicial system conforms to a set of quality standards underpinned by principles that respect our families and our communities has sown the seeds of corruption. Those seeds have grown into a cultural plague which requires an urgent irradiation program otherwise they will destroy this nation. Begin today and pull a weed.
To Federal Government: Date: 07 10 2019 Sussan Ley. Minister for the environment, Scott Morrison The Prime Minister, Ken Wyatt. Minister for Indigenous Australians, Michael McCormack Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Richard Di Natale Leader of the Australian Greens Senator for Victoria.
To Victorian State Government: Richard Wynne Minister for Planning, Jalla Pulford. Minister for Roads, Gavin Jennings. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Daniel Andrews Premier of Victoria, Jacinta Allan Minister for Transport Infrastructure.
Dear Sussan, Scott, Ken,, Michael, Richard, Richard, Jalla, Gavin, Daniel and Jacinta.
As yet I have not been given the courtesy of receiving a response from the federal sphere and have received a response from the Victorian Government, Minister for Roads Jacinta Alan to which you have all received a response. There appears to be an idea that the issue raised can be hand-balled off as a state government issue?
I would suggest that the issues determining the decision to build a road through a sacred first peoples area requiring the removal of a large number of large old trees, some of which are many hundreds of years old is the tip of a very large melting Iceberg which is of critical national significance, that cannot be left in the hands of a State Government. The tip being connected to:
- National land clearing of native vegetation at unprecedented levels.
- A crisis in the supply of fresh water
- A long overdue need to instigate a national mass forestation program so as to mitigate the impact of climate change and deal with the effects of carbon input into our atmosphere.
In my letter I raised two fundamental flaws in the decision making process:
- The down grading of the ecological contribution of large old trees in the environmental assessment process.
- The questionable ethics that were utilised by Vic Roads, now Major Road Projects Victoria in obtaining approval from the organisations that purport to represent the traditional peoples of the area.
Let me take you to the first point. Australia is in the grips of a devastating drought most likely caused by man-made climate change. A major contributing influence on this change which has and is exacerbating the conditions is the removal of large old trees from our landscape. This removal is currently occurring throughout Australia in NSW, Queensland Western Australia and The Northern Territory at an ever increasing rate.
Over seven million hectares of land have been cleared of vegetation in Australia since 1999, we are one of the eleventh worst nations in the world for this type of environmental destruction and yet we are one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
It should be noted that in Niger one of the poorest nations in the world they have successfully re-vegetated 7 million hectares of land.
Refer following links.
Stripped Bare: Australia`s hidden climate crisis.
Australia spends billions planting trees – then wipes out carbon gains by bulldozing them
A national disgrace’: Australia’s extinction crisis is unfolding in plain sight
NSW farmers granted amnesty for illegal land-clearing
Large old trees and natural vegetation shade the ground and keep it cooler, retain moisture in the ground, release moisture to the atmosphere that helps to facilitate precipitation.
The current federal government solution is to build more dams and cut down more trees. This solution will consume more energy and put more carbon into the atmosphere. Rob Peter to pay Paul, in other words take water from one part of a system that has failed and put it into another part of the system in the vain hope that a miracle will occur and god will make it rain.
The scientific solution would be to plant more trees around the gullies, build small weirs and stop the clearing of natural vegetation. The trees will hold water in the soil, the gullies will hold water when it rains, and the increased vegetation will emit moisture to the atmosphere which will help to increase the rainfall.
The positive impact on the human environment by the mere act of planting trees will be that it will provide an activity that all people in the area can participate in including the prison population and those people who are becoming engaged with the judicial system.
Australian prisons contain 43,000 people and are increasing at a rate of 3% per annum, faster than the growth of the economy! The average sentence is 3.25 years, 45% of released prisoners return to prison after two years. Note: 28% of these people are of aboriginal decent, which is a national disgrace, considering we are one of the richest nations on the planet.
If we lived in a land run by common sense, rather than the science of stupid we could implement a national tree planting program, utilizing our prison work force.
Tree planting ‘has mind-blowing potential’ to tackle climate crisis
- 20,000 people are ready, willing and able to participate.
- We can reduce the recidivism rate from 45% to 25% through training and providing sustainable employment in re forestation.
- Through this initiative we can also provide sustainable employment for younger people which will engage them in a positive activity and keep them away from drugs and crime, hence preventing them from entering our jails, say at a reduced rate of 50%.
Note: The prison rate in Australia averages 221 per 100,000 people in Kenya the rate is 102 per 100,000 people and they do not have a social security safety net.
We should if run without corrupt practices be able to reduce our prison population by around 7,500 people per year at an annual saving to the running costs of prisons of $870 million dollars.
The tree planting activity based on one person planting 30 trees per day would regenerate 77,000 hectares of land per year with the planting of 115 million trees per annum.
The $870 million dollars saved could be utilised to run this new industry by providing funds for running costs, such as equipment, plant stock, and employment of supervisors and planners instead of running prisons.
The benefits in the long term are:
- More trees providing a resilient ecological environment to make this country more drought resilient.
- A reduced number of people and families engaging with the criminal justice system accompanied by the negative financial and social disruption to the family unit.
- A more productive agricultural sector created by higher rainfall generated by the improved ecological environment.
Let us now deal with the second point.
Anyone who has analysed large scale government infrastructure projects is quick to realise they utilise a lot of energy, do very little for the local community and feed money to the vested interest. In other words the process is riddled with corrupt practices that date back to the Rum Rebellion.
The process utilised to carry out the project on the Victorian Western Highway that has led to the decision to run a highway through sacred country and destroy a large number of very old and sacred trees is no different and it is essential for the future direction of this nation that this culture of plunder is halted. This means it is not just a state issue but because it affects the future direction and culture of the nation it is a federal matter.
I will draw your attention to further Victorian Government incompetence of serious concern.
It appears as if the upgrade of the Ballarat to Ararat railway line is not going to well and needs more funding and yet the Victorian Government is hell bent on up grading the road. If the railway line up grade were going to plan one would presume fewer trucks would be required on the road as the freight would travel by train which should be cheaper, safer, and quicker. Rail freight uses less energy than trucks, hence doing less damage to the environment and will mitigate the need to destroy sacred trees? Is this obvious oversight due to the fact that the federal and state governments do not have an energy or an industry plan?
National Pacific rail Freight not Happy
I trust I have made my point and look forward to assisting you in this very important change in the direction of the culture of our country, as the current state of affairs is hopeless, particularly when we have a water crisis in NSW with a proposed solution to build another large infrastructure project another dam???
It is obvious that we require a department that runs and plans energy policy on a national basis and we need an industry plan that works for everyone and not just for the bank run, developer, real-estate Ponzi scheme.
I am always available to help and assist.
The Community Collaborators Pty Ltd.
Response from Gavin Jennings
Response to Michael McCormack Deputy Prime Minister
Response to Michael McCormack Deputy Prime Minister
To Michael McCormack Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development
Thank you for replying to my letter sent 7the October 2019.
Your reply states:
- “During the planning phase for critical road corridors such as the Western Highway, consideration is given to a number of key factors that support the well-being and economic growth of regional communities and deliver long term benefits to communities. Those key factors include safety for all road users, and preservation of areas of cultural and ecological significance. “
- “Although the Western Highway duplication between Ballarat and Stawell is jointly funded by the Australian and Victorian Governments, it is the responsibility of the Victorian Government to plan and deliver the construction works, and this includes consultation with the Traditional Owners of the land.”
- “As indicated in the letter from the Hon Jacinta Allan MP the Victorian Government has been in regular consultation with the Djab Wurrung community for several years in response to concerns regarding the culturally significant trees surrounding land between Buangor and Ararat. These consultations have also included the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation, Aboriginal Victoria and now deregistered Aboriginal Party, Martang Pty Ltd.”
- “As with all projects agreed between Australian Government and the states and territories, governance processes are in place to ensure Government`s funding contribution is used in an efficient, economical and ethical manner as set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013.”
Of the $157.3 million allocated to the project $97.3 million will be provided from the Commonwealth and $60 million from the State of Victoria towards a project with benefit: cost ratio of 0.5. Amounting to a total loss of $79 million of which the Federal Government will pick up approximately $50 million. This means the Federal Government is the majority provider of funds and will also share the majority of the loss in the project.
Although the responsibility for the project has been allocated to the Victorian Government it is still essential that the Federal Government oversee the integrity of the project and hold its minority partner accountable for any failures in due process that would prevent the Federal Governments contribution being used in an efficient, economical and ethical manner that support the well-being and economic growth of regional communities and deliver long term benefits to communities.
- As I have previously indicated:
The road accident statistics have been publicly misquoted by Jacinta Allan in order to justify the project on road safety grounds.
“There have been more than 100 crashes on the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell in recent years, including 11 deaths and more than 50 serious injuries.”
When in actual fact, the section of the road that impacts upon the spiritually significant area between Buangor and Ararat has had 12 road accidents during the past five years and zero fatal accidents.
- The original Environment Effects Statement (EES) upon which the plan of the construction works derives, is fundamentally flawed and contains serious omissions of significant areas of ecological importance: Omissions that have misled the Minister for The Environments’ during their decision making processes.
It is now clear that ‘Box–Gum Grassy Woodland’ is present both within the Option 1 footprint and on adjoining land owned by both Ms. Mackenzie and Mr. Tim Webb. Thus, the statement by Ms. Collins in her 2017 Reasons for not suspending the Approval to destroy the community “as on available information it is unlikely that the Box Gum Grassy Woodland EC is present in the Option 1 alignment” is incorrect. Consequently, there is in fact a “basis by which the Minister can determine a significant impact may occur” and that the conditions of section 144(2) have, in fact, been satisfied;”
Ms. Collins’ is the Assistant Secretary, Compliance and Enforcement Branch, Environment Standards Division, Department of the Environment and Energy (DEE), delegate for the Minister for the Environment and Energy (Minister)
In her statement of reasons dated December 8, 2016, to refuse a request from Mr. Kennedy to suspend the approval for the Western Highway Project Section 2 – Beaufort to Ararat, Victoria (EPBC 2010/5741) on the grounds of insufficient assessment of impacts to MNES in Section 2B/Option 1 of the controlled action (DEE 2016);
The Commonwealth’s response to Mr. Kennedy’s request is necessary to demonstrate that information critical to this case, which has been available for some time, was ignored, discounted or misunderstood, and that much of the basis of the refusal to suspend the approval was illogical, unfounded and ultimately erroneous and must be reviewed.
- The consultations between the various Aboriginal groups and the Victorian Government that have included the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation, and now deregistered Aboriginal Party, Martang Pty Ltd would most probably fail the ethical manner test as set out in the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 when subjected to close scrutiny by a third party.
Considering the cultural and heritage conjunctions that exist within the area it is essential that the decision making process is credible, so as all of our community can have utmost trust in the outcome. This is not about saving a tree and cutting down another tree, it is about respecting a very special and significant part of Victoria that ties us back to a people who lived and still live here. It is their spirituality that will be further desecrated when we all know this spirituality needs to be recognised, respected and become part of Australian contemporary culture in order to heal this nation of the brutality of its past.
I urge you and your colleagues to arrange a thorough review of the processes that have been used throughout the determination process of this project. There are other options that have not been considered such as: 1. The alternative Northern route which utilises a power line easement. 2. The replacement of road freight by upgrading the freight rail service. 3. Simply reducing the speed limit combined with incremental upgrades of the existing road thereby leaving funds available for other projects such as reforestation that can provide far greater benefits to the overall environment and jobs for the community.
If these processes are found to have been in error down the track and the works progress in their current form, the damage will have been done and can never be rectified.
The review process would of course need to investigate other options that have been bought forward by the community which are currently being ignored by Major Road Projects Victoria and the State of Victoria.
May I suggest a face to face meeting between the local stakeholders from the community with you and your colleagues so as to ensure this project is carried out according to the Expectations of all Australians by utilising the tools of good governance that we as a society depend upon in order to continue building our great nation.
Diarmuid Hannigan. (The Community Collaborators)
CC: Scott Morrison, The Prime Minister. Ken Wyatt, Minister for Indigenous Australians. Michael McCormack, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development. Richard Wynne, Minister for Planning. Jalla Pulford, Minister for Roads. Gavin Jennings, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Daniel Andrews, Premier of Victoria. Jacinta Allan, Minister the Environment. Sussan Ley, Federal Minister the Environment.
Response from Sussan Ley Minister for The Enviroment
From: Diarmuid Hannigan
Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 12:12 PM
Subject: Desecration of Sacred Land Western Highway Victoria, Ref MS 19-000478, Ref JA19-2535
To Sussan Ley Minister for the Environment.
I am sending you my response to your letter of 25th November 2019 ref MC 19-013040. Please refer to the first attachment. “Reply to Sussan Ley December 2019.”
I have attached the relevant references to my reply for your convenience. I look forward to your decision to protect the area concerned where the Aboriginal heritage values raised in your correspondence are a matter of national environmental significance.
In the mean time prior to that decision please can you reassure the community that no further damage will occur to the area and request the Victorian Government to call a halt to the project until a sensible solution has been agreed to.
Furthermore please can you ensure that the speed limit on the affected road is reduced to 80 km an hour as the current speed limit of 100 km per hour is dangerous, primarily because of the large number of double b trucks that are using the road to carry freight which should be travelling by rail.
These two initiatives will allow the community to have a safe and peaceful Christmas.
Best Regards and I wish you all the best for Christmas.
(The Community Collaborators)
Response to Sussan Ley Minister for The Enviroment
To The Hon Sussan Ley 09 12 2019
Minister for the Environment. (Ref MC19-013040 25 November 2019.)
Parliament House (Ref JA19-2535 23 09 2019. )
Canberra ACT 2600
Thank you for responding to my letters of 15/08/3019, 11/09/2019,
I note in your response of 25 November 2019 you state: (Ref Appendix 1)
- My involvement in this matter has been limited to considering an application under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Heritage Act 1984 to protect six specific trees and the area surrounding them. On 16 July 2019, in response to this application, I decided not to make a declaration to protect the six trees because Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) had committed to avoid five of them and consultation with the Eastern Marr Aboriginal Corporation found the sixth tree to not be of cultural significance. I consider this to be a positive outcome, given that the identified values will now not be impacted by the planned upgrades. Unfortunately, given that the matter is now subject to legal proceedings, I am unable to discuss further.
- Some years ago, on 17 April 2014, the proposed upgrades to the Western Highway were approved, subject to conditions under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, following an assessment of impacts on defined matters of national environmental significance. The Aboriginal heritage values raised in your correspondence are not a matter of national environmental significance.
As I am only the messenger and have absolutely no power within the decision making process I can only inform you of the facts.
- The place under threat is very much of National Aboriginal Significance and also of National Significance. Dr Heather Builth Adjunct Research Associate, School of Geography and Environmental Science, Monash University will support this statement accompanied by a visit by the aunties of the central desert and the attendance of Uncle Kevin Buzzacott along with Jack Charles, Archie Roach, Lidia GunnaiGunditj Thorpe, Robert Thorpe, Zellanach Djab Mara and many other people with spiritual connection to this place.
- The place borders the Langi Ghiran State Park.
To date, close to 70 Aboriginal archaeological sites have been recorded in the Park and the adjoining Crown Land. These consist of art sites, scarred trees, isolated stone artefact scatters, rock shelters and a bark slab (possibly used as a carrying container). Seven of the sites have been allocated a high level of archaeological and scientific significance, and five have been rated at a high level of educational significance (Gunn 1991). All the sites are significant to the local Aboriginal Community (Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative Ltd.)
- The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Heritage Act 1984 refer to consultation with representatives of the local Aboriginal Community. Refer 21W. Currently consultations between Major Road Projects Victoria and the two Registered Aboriginal Parties Martang (Now deregistered) and Eastern Marr which have not involved The Djab Wurrung people.
Fortunately Justice Robertson of The Federal Court has seen sense to refer the matter back to you for reassessment. (Ref Appendix 2)
I will assume that this time the assessment will be carried out with integrity and you will be able to see all of the information and put the time and effort into communicating with the people who are affected.
That assessment must be free of coercive actions occurring in secret between powerful and powerless groups, as have occurred between Eastern Marr and Major Road Projects Victoria or the previous shenanigans that occurred with the only Registered Aboriginal Party Martang. I fully accept that these practices are systemic, wide spread, have become part of normal business practice and are not in the interests of the national environment.
(Ref Appendix 3)
“The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 and Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2007 have, as one practical objective, the creation of a state-wide overlay of Representative Aboriginal Parties or RAPs, Indigenous groups with powerful roles to play in relation to the protection of cultural heritage across their particular area of jurisdiction. However, choosing a RAP, that is, deciding who speaks for country when ─ as at Lake Condah ─ up to four groups have applied for this status in a given area, is the decision of a State Ministerial appointed Aboriginal HeritageCouncil composed of ten Indigenous representatives from across Victoria. How can this Council be sure that, ultimately, the appropriate people are speaking for country? Decisions such as theirs will have long-term ramifications for cultural heritage management and especially for intangible cultural heritage. If the right people are not speaking for country what will be the long-term effects? Surely this is an issue of huge consequences for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Victorians, including academics and practicing archaeologists /anthropologists, Caution must be exercised by those in power and they should not hasten to make amends for past injustices. Irrevocable and permanent decisions on behalf of someone else’s cultural Heritage may be at stake here, and worse, Indigenous peoples, families or larger groupings, must not be pitted one against another as has happened in the past as a result of government insensitivities”
Will you assure the public that all further review of this matter will be carried out with integrity, in a transparent environment where the truth is discovered and our community can begin to build trust in our government processes?
Is it somewhat prophetic that the legend of the land affected states that the Trees are the protectors of the people! (Ref Appendix 4) “In any case, this further highlights the significance of Langi Ghiran both in Aboriginal mythology and as a prominent feature in this cultural landscape. As briefly mentioned earlier, Langi Ghiran is also where the storyline of Mindi ends; where the head of the snake stops. Mindi, a Creator being that is also known as the Rainbow Serpent, is both a benevolent protector of its people and a malevolent punisher of law breakers. Langi Ghiran is also where the Gnulla Gnulla Gneear live; female devil spirits that would seek to harm the people who lived here. As outlined above, the ancient Red Gums that scatter the landscape surrounding Langi Ghiran are the ancestors and the guardians that protect the people from these malevolent beings.”
To further emphasis the point that the statement you have made that: “The Aboriginal heritage values raised in your correspondence are not a matter of national environmental significance” is wrong.
When you take the broad definition of environment as is done by Vic Roads in its original Environmental Effects Statement, environment being inclusive of how we all live, the process of how we make our decisions is captured and the minister for the environment has a responsibility when caring for our environment that that process is free of corrupt practices, what I refer to as the Judas Principle. The process of incentivizing the decision maker through social and financial gain if condoned flows into the wider community. Take a purchasing officer working for a large company who will make a decision on whether to buy or not to buy based on how much the supplier will place in his pocket, wide spread within Australian business but also systemically corrupt and disadvantages small business to the benefit of the larger corporations’ who are established in the market and can afford to pay the incentives.
This stance should be very much at the forefront of any issues pertaining to Aboriginal Heritage values of national environmental significance, particularly when taking into account: The terrible sins of the past 230 years including the final solution, “the stolen generation” that family dislocation; being perpetuated through the disproportionate incarceration rates for Aboriginal people within Australia.
It is repugnant that 250 years after Captain Cook landed on this paradise and impregnated the land with a mutated form of British law which does not respect family or community, we are as sophisticated as a child who can count to ten, attempting to communicate with a physicist who has an understanding of Einstein’s theory of relativity when it comes to understanding the sophistication of Aboriginal civilisation. The attempt by the Victorian and Federal Governments to drive a stake through the heart and soul of Aboriginal Culture in Victoria by condoning the building of this four lane highway through a living sacred place can only be seen for what it is, an attempt to destroy all that remains of Aboriginal Culture within Victoria in order to hide the greater crimes of the past, a very effective Genocide!
The inability of Vic Roads (MRPV) at the outset to see the depth of wisdom in 60,000 years of coexisting with country by:
- Creating a substandard environmental effects statement which led to the loss of 1100 Large Old Trees during the first stage of the project and has left the second stage of this project in an unresolved mess.
- obtaining heritage approval from a party that is now not even registered,
- Using financial incentives to coerce a decision from Eastern Marr that was not in keeping with the spiritual context of the area.
- Creating a secret agreement between MRPV and Eastern Marr.
Are the actions I would expect from a bunch of 14 year old, unsophisticated school boy thugs and not government/governments that are entrusted with the welfare of a nation?
As we progress to a resolution the following information will help us all to understand the chasm that divides these two worlds and a way of coming together, the tools of power and money need to be set aside for the tools of caring respect and compassion for each other.
(Ref Appendix 3)
“A Hopeful Future
My observations, while working closely with traditional owners, is that they believe intangible cultural knowledge can be reborn in particular individuals who are able to get back in touch with the Spirits of their traditional country. They are the descendants of the old people who held this knowledge. This process of enlightenment can be described as a metaphysical manifestation, one that does not fit into a present scientific paradigm. It is, in some way, genetic. And it is fed by connection to country because it is the spiritual essence of that country and the Spirits of the old people who speak through their descendants. Roheim (1925) has written of this phenomenon especially in relation to Gunditjmara, who were ethnographically documented as having the ability through dreams to gain spiritual knowledge directly from the Spirits of their country.
In Australia there is hope for a spiritual, cultural and, eventually, a socio-economic rebirth for Indigenous Australians. It will be a renaissance in the 21 st century based on a real if intangible connection of people with their ancestral lands. It will be based on the recognition of the essence and value of culture as a provider of hope, providing meaning from the past for the future. This is not only feasible but is, indeed, a practical solution to the unsatisfactory consequences of past government policies and their repercussions.”
“UNESCO believes that worldwide, intangible cultural heritage is truly endangered (Bedjaoui, 2004). The policies of past Australian Governments have left their mark with the legacy of a severely reduced intangible cultural heritage for the Indigenous people of the southern part of this continent in particular, and the focus of this paper has been on the State of Victoria. Let the demands of UNESCO be the challenge for our present Government and let some wrongs be righted by assisting traditional owners to reconnect to land, thereby enabling the intangible cultural renaissance to commence.
Reconnection to land will provide a reconnection to Spirit; rejoining a long-time cultural history with the land that made it. The landscape formed the relationships, language, dance, music and symbols which held a people’s identity for millennia and still holds it despite recent disconnection arising from violent European land acquisition, displacement policies and language loss. The Spirit of the land is there in both tangible and intangible cultural heritage but it is the intangible which remains the conduit for that reconnection.”
Now a few hard questions.
The process of review will obviously take some time as the wheels of bureaucratic determination are a slow beast when it comes to money and the vested interest and there are many things to consider but inevitably the decision will be made to grant protection to the area and MRPV, The Victorian Government will have to rethink its plan with regards to the area in question.
Basically there are two options:
- Slow the traffic down in the affected area to 80 km and perform minor upgrades to the road to improve road safety.
- Take the option that utilises the existing powerline easement.
In the meantime there are two very serious issues that need to be addressed today.
The current state of the road is dangerous; you have stated this fact to the ABC Ballarat and used it as a justification for the road upgrade despite the fact that the statistics are still being misreported so as to intentionally mislead the public. Not one person has died on the 14km section of the road in question over the past five years and yet the statistic of eleven people dying on the road between Ballarat and Stawell is still being used in the media as justification for the project.
- Since the road is dangerous, primarily caused by the overuse of double b trucks used to replace the inefficient rail freight service whose rail upgrade has been mismanaged by the same department as the one responsible for this roads fiasco. Would it not be essential that the department responsible for the management of this dangerous piece of road reduce the speed limit to 80 km per hour immediately before someone is seriously injured or even killed by a large truck?
The current state of the place remains in limbo and as yet its status under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Heritage Act 1984 remains unprotected. This could allow the opportunity to arise for Major Road Projects Victoria (MRPV) to come in and desecrate the area.
- Please can you gain a commitment in writing from Major Road Projects Victoria that no works will be carried out on this place and it will be respected as if the place is protected under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Heritage Act 1984 (Ref Appendix 5)
- Please also can you gain an outline of a proposed plan that involves all parties on how the planned development of the Western Highway will proceed once the area is protected under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Heritage Act 1984
This saga has continued over the past ten years, as a result of mismanagement and ignorance of aboriginal cultural and heritage appreciation and also appreciation of the general environment by those responsible for the project.
It has resulted in:
- The unnecessary destruction of at least 1000 large old trees.
- The local Aboriginal and other members of the community being placed under immense stress over a prolonged period.
- Many millions of dollars of public money and time being wasted in legal costs, construction delays and negotiations between parties that have often been conducted without integrity. With very little benefit for the local community unless we consider exacerbating the already tenuous divisions within the community beset by a tragic history.
In fact it has become a show piece for the science of stupid vs that of common-sense, a War and Peace epic set in and around the town ship of Ararat in Western Victoria, as the money and time wasted could have been used within the local community to initiate a reforestation program and begin to arrest the social decline within rural Victoria and bring about a positive direction for the community.
As a messenger I urge you to make the only rational decision available and use your power to protect this very special place. Having consideration for the wider ramifications relating to the national effort to bring about reconciliation with the Aboriginal people and the formation of a Treaty within the State of Victoria, it is the only option.
If you require any other information I am only to happy to oblige, please make contact any time.
(The Community Collaborators)
Cc: Scott Morrison The Prime Minister, Ken Wyatt. Minister for Indigenous Australians, Michael McCormack Deputy Prime Minister Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Senator Richard Di Natale Leader of the Australian Greens Senator for Victoria. Richard Wynne Minister for Planning, Jalla Pulford. Minister for Roads, Gavin Jennings. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Daniel Andrews Premier of Victoria, Jacinta Allan Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Lily D’Ambrosio Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister for Solar Homes.
Appendix and attachments.
- Reply from Sussan Ley 25 November 2019.
- Federal Court of Australia Clark v Minister for the Environment  FCA Australasian Legal Information Institute File number: VID 885 of 2019 Judge: Robertson Date of judgment: 6 December 2019
- Builth. H. (2009). ‘Intangible Heritage of Indigenous Australians: a Victorian example’ in Journal of Historic Environment, Vol. 22 (3) 2009, published by Australian ICOMOS Inc. (fully refereed)
- On Country Consultation Report Complete 7 December 2018
- Clark v Minister for the Environment (No 2)  FCA 2028 (6 December 2019)
- Attachment 6 Reply from Jaccinta Alan no date
- MC19-004817 Michael McCormack 04 11 2019 reply
- Response from Gavin Jennings
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