MAIRIANNE Mackenzie is at the centre of one of the anti-Western Highway duplication project groups.
She has spoken publicly for the first time since activist camps were established in June 2018.
The camps were established in response to news Major Road Projects Victoria would begin constructing the highway duplication project between Buangor and Ararat.
However, the ongoing presence of the camps have delayed the project getting underway.
Ms Mackenzie said she was the subject of ongoing rumours and misinformation within the community regarding her motivation for backing an alternative route, known as the northern option.
Ms Mackenzie said claims she was protesting the route because of a "vested interest" in the value of her land was "misinformed".
"I have signed nothing giving Major Road Projects access to my land," she said.
"And even if yes, my property does benefit if the northern option is used, so what? That doesn't invalidate the environmental, economic and safety benefits of the northern option.
"Why would anyone put in all this effort and stress in just for personal gain? No one does this for fun.
"The northern option is on my land, too - I've offered that land up."
Ms Mackenzie's land lies to the south of the current Western Highway in Buangor and about an eighth of her land would be severed from the block if the planned Major Road Projects Victoria route goes ahead.
Ms Mackenzie has been a driving force in an environmental group called KORS Inc, which has been pushing Major Road Projects Victoria to pursue a different route that it calls the northern option.
This route would run slightly south of the current highway, except near the railway bridge near Hillside Road, where it would run slightly northward in an area which is already cleared.
The group states that the northern option would be safer and require less land to build, and so would preserve the environment.
However, the northern option was subsequently rejected by the roads authority. In its Inquiry and Draft Planning Scheme the road authority stated the option was considered but it "significantly impacted vegetation of high and very high conservation significance".
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley also outlined her reasons for rejecting the option in a statement issued to Traditional Owners.
"I am satisfied that, based on the information received from the Victorian Government in building an alternate route, will have a significant economic cost impact," she wrote.
The activists are not camped on her land, and Ms Mackenzie said the idea she was paying protesters was "absurd".
"The idea that they are available for hire is insulting to the Aboriginal people, and they would absolutely reject it (money) as well," she said.
"I want to see Aboriginal heritage protected."
- Western Highway delay impacts not clear
- Lawyers gear up for another Western Highway legal challenge
- The Western Highway duplication between Buangor and Ararat will go ahead with alterations
- Ararat Western Highway protest misinterpreted: Aunty Sandra Onus
- Ararat's emergency services say a duplicated highway would be safer
- Several sites are already protected under a plan worked out with Aboriginal Victoria
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