Minister flags Section 10 Declaration to protect Indigenous heritage

31 March 2021

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley has extended her emergency declaration to protect the site of a proposed go kart track at Mount Panorama/Wahluu in Bathurst for a further 30 days, while she consults on a more lasting declaration to protect Indigenous heritage.

The current declaration under ‘section 9’ of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection (ATSIHP) Act, preventing work on the site, will remain in force, while consultation with stakeholders is undertaken on the terms of a potential ‘section 10’ declaration.

“This debate has raised heartfelt emotions on all sides, and I thank those members of the community who have spoken with and written to me about this issue,” Minister Ley said.

“My recent visit to Bathurst allowed me to meet with community groups, Traditional Owners and the Bathurst Regional Council to discuss their concerns.

“I am considering a declaration for protection under section 10 of the Act and have drafted a potential declaration. The contents of which will be subject to consultation with stakeholders.

“It is one that recognises the significance of the site to Traditional Owners, but which also ensures the current usage of Mount Panorama/Wahluu as a racing venue, and as a venue for camping and other activities is preserved.

“The proposed site would cover a smaller area than that originally sought, ensuring protection for current use and for the council’s ability to maintain the site.

“I am considering a declaration that would prevent the construction of any buildings, or the undertaking of bulk earthworks.”

The Minister will make her determination before 4 May 2021.