LAWYER to the Djab Wurrung activists, Michael Kennedy, has spoken out about a "missing" report highlighting the significance of Indigenous sites along the proposed Western Highway duplication.
The 128-page On Country Report was completed in 2018, but Mr Kennedy alleges Environment Minister Sussan Ley did not have a copy when she made her decision to not protect several trees along the proposed highway route in July.
The report was a joint venture between the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations and Terra Rosa Consulting, who also worked with Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation to produce it.
It makes several recommendations, including calling for further consultation with female Traditional Owner elders regarding the value of two hollow trees - reputed to be birthing trees - and that alternative highway routes are examined which avoid those trees.
The report recommended VicRoads survey a wider area to "gain a better understanding of the context of the places presented in this report, and the significance of the cultural landscape".
"I have written to every board member of Eastern Maar asking to meet them and discuss why that On Country Report was not revealed or disclosed to the Minister," Mr Kennedy said.
"I have also asked the minister to set aside her earlier decision from July 16 and make a new decision based on the On Country Community Consultation Report, which she was not aware of when she made that decision."
A spokesman for Ms Ley said: "The application... related to six trees - five of which are no longer under threat. The matter is now subject to a legal challenge and it is therefore not appropriate to make further comment."
A spokesman for Eastern Maar said the corporation had at all times "acted in accordance with our cultural governance values and corporate responsibilities."
"The matters you have raised comprise internal business of the Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation and we will not be entering into a running commentary regarding these."
"If Eastern Maar community members have any issues regarding such business, there is a clear pathway for them to raise it with their family group representative on EMAC's Board for resolution.
The comments come as activists and Major Road Projects Victoria workers continue to clash on the proposed building sites.
Mr Kennedy said he only became aware of the report himself after reading a reference to it in documents sent to the Minister.
"On July 23, On Country sent a two-page notification report to Aboriginal Victoria with 13 colour photos and two maps," he said.
"They did that because because that's an obligation under the Aboriginal Heritage Act to notify Aboriginal Victoria. They did not send that (On Country) report."
A spokesman from Major Road Projects Victoria said they "have all the necessary cultural and heritagepermissions to get back to work on this urgently needed safety upgrade and that's exactly what we're doing."
"Some early work activities have begun and will continue progressively over the 12.5km alignment."
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