We are very concerned your Government is proposing to cut down approximately 3000 gum trees, including hundreds of Old Growth gum trees at Langi Ghiran for the widening of the Western Highway.
A number of these trees are sacred birthing trees to Tjap Wurrung people. The oldest of the birthing trees are estimated to be several hundred years old. They are deeply significant to our women and our songlines run through them.
These gum trees have also been used by Aboriginal families for shelter, baking tubers and other food in earth ovens.
The whole area is incredibly culturally significant to my people, but these endangered grassy woodlands are also environmentally very significant. They are habitat to a number of endangered and vulnerable species, including the Dwarf Galaxias, the Spiny Rice-Flower and Golden Sun Moth.
These enormous, ancient trees are sacred and irreplaceable, yet your Government and VicRoads are treating them as though they are expendable and trivialising their significance.
The local community has been protesting the destruction of these and thousands of other trees since 2014.
We join them in calling on you to immediately halt the destruction of the sacred Gum Trees and ensure they are protected under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act.
We also ask that the government go back to the drawing board on the widening of the Western Highway in this area. There have been significant blunders in the environmental assessment, as well as the cultural assessment, and we have no faith in the process. We ask that you properly consult with the community to find an alternative route or options for the road that has minimal environmental and cultural damage.