THE location of the Bathurst go-kart track continues to be a controversial topic.
On Wednesday, June 17, a notice of motion will be considered at the ordinary meeting of Bathurst Regional Council.
Submitted by councillor John Fry, it proposes "That the go-kart track, currently approved to be located in McPhillamy Park Mount Panorama, be relocated approximately one kilometre west to the property currently owned by Bathurst Regional Council".
A story was published to the Western Advocate website on the evening of June 15 and, following that, the Bathurst Kart Club released a public statement.
The following day, Wiradyuri elder Yanhadarrambal (Jade Flynn) published a response to Facebook.
Below is the full statement from Yanhadarrambal. If you would like to see the full statement from the kart club, click here.
- Published to Facebook at 12.49pm on June 16, 2020.
Wow, nice way to stay out of a public 'stoush'.
I'm reliably informed that Bathurst Regional Council paid the fees for the surveys for the Go Kart track, I'm also reliably informed via the very reports and assessments you say the club paid for (particularly the anthropological report), that The Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council do not have any Traditional Aboriginal Landowners representation (not at the time of the report).
It should be noted that Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council do not have any cultural authority to speak for Country, they hold no cultural knowledge for the area and have no right to speak on Wiradyuri cultural heritage matters. The LALC has a responsibility to ALL Aboriginal people in the area NOT just its members "The objectives of each Local Aboriginal Land Council are to improve, protect and foster the best interests of all Aboriginal persons within the Council's area and other persons who are members of the Council." the LALC are also supposed to "Protect the interests of traditional Aboriginal owners of, and other Aborigines interested in, Aboriginal land; assist Aboriginal people to protect sacred sites, whether or not on Aboriginal land." not to mention the LALC should also "Attempt to conciliate a dispute between Aborigines regarding land matters."
Oh and this doozy: "Consult traditional Aboriginal landowners and other Aborigines interested in Aboriginal land about proposals for the use of their land. negotiate on behalf of traditional landowners with people interested in using Aboriginal land and land under claim."
As a registered Aboriginal Party and as a Traditional landowner, I can safely admit that I am not aware of the local LALC engaging with myself or other Traditional Landowners in the Bathurst area regarding use of the land. For the Kart club to be endorsed by the LALC is a joke, they do not speak for Traditional Landowners and they certainly don't speak for all Aboriginal people in Bathurst.
To those who say 'the Aboriginal community is always fighting they cant even get along' - take a good look in the mirror, have a look around and show me a group of people who all agree with each other.... I'll wait.......
Now the juicy bit, let me tell you about The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984.
(the ATSIHP Act) assists in the preservation and protection of places, areas and objects of particular significance to Indigenous Australians.
Traditional Landowners or 'Traditional Owners' have applied to the Minister (Melissa Price) under section 9 and 10 of this act.
"Under section 9 of the ATSIHP Act the Minister can make an emergency declaration to protect an area from a serious and immediate threat of injury or desecration for up to 30 days. The Minister can extend an emergency declaration for up to an additional 30 days. Hence, an emergency declaration for an area can provide up to 60 days of protection.
Under section 10 of the ATSIHP Act, the Minister can make a declaration to protect an area from a threat of injury or desecration for any period of time or indefinitely."
This process has not reached any conclusion to date and we await the Ministers [sic] decision. Even if the Minister makes a decision in favour of the track being built, Traditional Owners have several other legal remedies to pursue. Frankly, they will not stop until each and every legal means to stop the kart track being built on a sacred Women's site has been exhausted.
If Council start building before the Minister makes a decision they risk receiving penalties if the minister makes declaration to protect the site.
Penalties for contravening declarations:
- Under section 22 of the ATSIHP Act, a person who contravenes a declaration toprotect an area faces criminal penalties of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for 5 years, or both. A person who contravenes a declaration to protect an object facescriminal penalties of up to $5,000 or imprisonment for 2 years, or both. Higher penalties apply to corporations.
A BRIEF HISTORY ON THE BATHURST GO-KART TRACK PROJECT:
Mount Panorama is the most recent location sought to be the home of a go-kart track in Bathurst, but not the first to be considered. Bathurst Regional Council approved a development application (DA) for a go-kart track in McPhillamy Park, Mount Panorama in September 2015. In mid 2016, a modification to the original DA was proposed, seeking to extend the length of the circuit. It was after this proposal was received that the Wiradyuri elders spoke to the media and claimed they weren't consulted about the original DA, which has been a catalyst for ongoing community debate over the site for the track. While the modification was ultimately approved in December 2018, council could have proceeded to build a circuit regardless as it still had the approval of the original DA. The modification only affected the length of the track, not the chosen site. Cr Fry's notice of motion, if adopted, would see the track built within the second circuit precinct.