Bridge cultural heritage assessment

07 Sep 2016 Yarrawonga Chronicle, Yarrawonga VIC (General News) by Racheal Willett An Aboriginal Focus Group Meeting will be convened by NSW Roads and Maritime Services, most likely in October, to assess any cultural heritage impact likely to be caused by construction of the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge. RMS called for any Aboriginal people and representatives of Aboriginal groups to register their interest in being involved in the focus group if they hold cultural knowledge relevant to determining the significance of Aboriginal objects and places for the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge in an advertisement placed in the Yarrawonga Chronicle. Late in 2015 a letter was sent from the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation to Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes highlighting specific concerns relating to the construction of the new Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge and the sandhills near to the Mulwala connection site of the planned grey route. In the letter, the corporations CEO Tom Day said the group had historical evidence that two known burials have been located in the sand hills in the immediate proximity of the grey route; one during construction of the existing bridge and the other located during construction of a nearby hotel. Mr Day said in his letter that the grey route would not only pose serious threat to Yorta Yorta ancestrial burials but also prevent progress on a collaborative tourism project between the corporation, local councils and tourism groups. This area needs to be protected by leaving the existing bridge insitu and avoiding ground disturbance in this area to prevent further impacts to Yorta Yorta ancestrial burial grounds, Mr Day wrote. VicRoads responded to the concerns raised in the letter, saying they had engaged with both the Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and Cummeragunja Local Aboriginal Land Council in 2011 and 2012 for stage one and stage two of an Aboriginal Cultural and Heritage Assessment in relation to the new bridge. Then VicRoads North Eastern Regional Director Bryan Sherritt said the authority believed the grey route would land essentially at the same location as the existing bridge, meaning the disturbance to the foreshore would be minimal. When the grey route was selected by the Victorian Government as the preferred option in November last year, Mr Sherritt told the Yarrawonga Chronicle that due to the concerns raised, NSW RMS would conduct stage three of the Aboriginal Cultural and Heritage assessment. That process has now begun with interested parties invited to register by September 14 to be a part of the Aboriginal Focus Group Meeting. An RMS spokesperson told the Yarrawonga Chronicle that Aboriginal cultural heritage is assessed as part of all major projects with standard procedures used to address potential impacts. Roads and Maritime is aware of concerns raised (in relation to the Yarrawonga Mulwala bridge) and is progressing more detailed investigations which are expected to be completed by mid-2017 and provided in an updated Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Report. The spokesperson said any need for excavation to be undertaken as part of the investigation will be determined by the Aboriginal community and outcomes of the investigation. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence