WA Aboriginal Affairs minister Peter Collier says the Roe Highway extension through the Beeliar wetlands will have minimal impacts on Aboriginal heritage.
Last week Fremantle federal Labor MP Melissa Parke got stuck into the approval, saying traditional owners represented by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council had expressed unanimous opposition to the project.
But Mr Collier told the Herald this week the “diverse” views of many Aboriginal people had been taken into account, and his department’s Aboriginal Cultural Material Committee had recommended approval with conditions.
“It is believed the project won’t disturb the important and significance of the place any more than has already occurred (ie, the area has already been the subject of other developments, including the construction of a road) and that any additional impacts resulting from the road upgrade will be minimal.
The highway’s route through the wetlands is on the state’s heritage register both for sites with evidence of camping, and for the mythological Waugyl.
Metro Connect, which has been running Main Roads’ consultation, says two sites will be affected.
Cockburn council’s Aboriginal Reference Group has backed Ms Parke, saying it’s not aware of any support given by traditional owners.
“The Aboriginal Reference group of the City of Cockburn are aware of NO such support, or traditional owner heritage surveys relevant to this site in the City of Cockburn area, conducted by the relevant cultural authorities for this location,” Chairperson Stephen Loo said in a letter the Herald received Thursday afternoon.
He wants Main Roads to prove its claim.