The rejection of a second permanent protection order at Wahluu-Mount Panorama has come of no surprise to the Wiradyuri Traditional Owners Central West Aboriginal Corporation [WTOCWAC], who are currently seeking further advice on how to move forward.
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Late Friday afternoon, Bathurst Regional Council released a statement that the Section 10 application over land at Wahluu-Mount Panorama, including the site of the proposed the second motor racing circuit, was not declared by former Environment Minster Sussan Ley.
WTOCWAC spokesperson and Wiradyuri elder Yanhadarrambal Jade Flynn said the timing of the decision isn't surprising considering the change of government.
"Given the state the previous government was in, it's no surprise this decision has come, and it's no surprise it has come 28 days later than it was actually made," Yanhadarrambal said.
"We're currently in discussions with our legal team and the Department to clarify our position on the decision, and that's all we have to say at the present."
Yanhadarrambal said WTOCWAC will continue to take their cultural responsibilities seriously as the traditional custodians of the land.
"We'll continue to care for country and take our responsibilities as community elders and knowledge holders seriously," he said.
"This includes the various programs we're involved with and the education we provide to a vast number of organisations, both locally and further afield."
"We'll just keep doing what we do."
Both WTOCWAC and council are currently restricted with what they can divulge publicly due to ongoing legal action.
In council's statement regarding correspondence with Ms Ley, Bathurst mayor Robert Taylor said "she [Ms Ley] was not satisfied that the specified area is a significant Aboriginal area that is under threat of injury or desecration and that the Section 10 reporter did not find that the specified area was significant and noted the lack of consensus amongst Traditional Owners on the significance of the area."
Relations between WTOCWAC and council have been strained for the last seven years due to ongoing tensions over the significance of land atop Wahluu-Mount Panorama.
The tensions were fuelled primarily by council's 2015 commitment with Bathurst Kart Club to build a go-kart track in McPhillamy Park, atop Wahluu-Mount Panorama, which was blocked last year after Ms Ley placed a Section 10 order on the proposed site.
A $2.25 million loan is still earmarked for the track, but council yet to determine a new site.
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