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Investigation into the planning and delivery of the Western Highway duplication project

Aboriginal people (Australia) Roads Public consultation Cultural heritage Transport infrastructure Victoria

Victorian government agencies acted in good faith when consulting with traditional custodians seeking to protect Aboriginal cultural heritage on Djab Wurrung Country near Ararat, the Victorian Ombudsman has found.

The Victorian Ombudsman said a modified alignment agreed last year - between the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation and Major Road Projects Victoria - will retain 16 out of 22 trees identified as culturally significant, including two large old trees claimed to be birthing trees.

While VicRoads’ initial project consultation did not appear to have reached all relevant audiences, the investigation ultimately concluded that VicRoads and MRPV had made legally sound and good faith efforts to consult with traditional custodians and arrive at a compromise solution to the cultural heritage concerns about the project, once raised.

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