Western Highway project welcomes Eastern Maar support
We have welcomed the support of the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation for the revised route of the Western Highway Upgrade.
For more than a year, we have been working closely with the Eastern Maar to ensure that the Western Highway Upgrade delivers the best possible result for the whole community.
We have reached an agreement with the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation on which critical trees should be retained as well as important initiatives including protection of cultural heritage in western Victoria and the inclusion of more Aboriginal people in the Western Highway project.
Major Road Projects Victoria Director of Development and Performance Andrew Williams said this outcome recognises the Aboriginal community’s close relationship and spiritual association with the land.
“We’re making sure the Western Highway Upgrade is delivered in a way that respects the cultural values associated with the land and its Traditional Owners,” Mr Williams said.
“This is a project of national importance which is why we’ve worked extensively and respectfully with the Eastern Maar to reach agreement ensuring the Aboriginal community is at the forefront of what we do.”
“We’re continuing to work respectfully with the Djab Wurrung community, and with the support of the Eastern Maar, we’ll look to recommence work along the approved alignment of the Western Highway Upgrade.”
To date, we’ve been able to realign the roadworks to avoid the two trees initially identified by the community as culturally significant and, more recently, has been able to confirm a further 13 trees will be retained.
Representatives from our team, the Eastern Maar and the Djab Wurrung community have undertaken a walkthrough of the alignment to ensure, where possible, those trees identified as significant by the Aboriginal community are retained and protected during construction.
This builds upon the important work undertaken during the project’s planning stages to ensure Aboriginal heritage would be managed respectfully as part of the project’s Cultural Heritage Management Plan.
“The Western Highway is the main link between Melbourne and Adelaide and is the busiest undivided national highway in Australia – this upgrade will duplicate the road to improve safety for drivers,” Mr Williams said.
There have been more than 100 crashes and 11 fatalities on the Western Highway between Ballarat and Stawell in recent years. It is vital for the safety of the community that this upgrade is completed.
We are now awaiting the outcome of an application to the Department of the Environment and Energy regarding the Western Highway and we have informed the Department that works will not commence for another fortnight.
For more information see the Western Highway project page.
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