Labor Government cannot hide behind Federal Court decision

A recent Federal Court decision that has quashed a previous Federal Government decision to allow the duplication of the Western Highway from Buangor to proceed is not a stop work order on the Western Highway Duplication project.

The Federal Court decision relates to the Djab Wurrung Traditional Owners appeal to the Federal Government, last December, to protect trees they say are sacred under the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act, an application that was rejected.

Member for Ripon, Louise Staley said it was critical that the Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan work with the Djab Wurrung Traditional Owners to ensure this vital road project continues.

“The Federal Court decision is very clear that this decision is not a stop work order,”

“It specifically notes that the applicants would need to apply, with 24 hours’ notice, to the Federal and State Governments for any urgent relief related to the Major Road Projects Victoria which affects the Western Highway Duplication,

“Plain and simple, work cannot just stop on this project.”

Protestors have been on the ground blocking work for almost a year, causing significant delays to the $670 million project to duplicate the Western Highway.

Ms Staley said residents in Ararat, Stawell and those who regularly commute along that section of the Western Highway have had enough.

“What these residents don’t want to hear is more excuses, they don’t want the Minister hiding behind the Federal Court decision and using it as yet another excuse.

“This project has faced delay after delay, the Labor Government need to get on with it and finish the project.”