Aboriginals lose move on bypass

By DARREN COYNE

AN Aboriginal group challenging the Queensland government's proposed cultural management plan for the Tugun Bypass was yesterday dealt a blow in the Land and Resources Tribunal.

The tribunal was considering claims by the group, Eastern Yugambeh Limited, that the Department of Main Roads had not followed its own procedures when formulating the management plan.

The Department of Main Roads initially brought the matter to the tribunal last month after 174 of the 177 Aborigines refused to sign-off on the cultural heritage plan.

Eastern Yugambeh Limited managing director Wesley Aird described yesterday's decision as "a very bad day for Aboriginal and state government relations".

"The court said Main Roads had made mistakes (in its consultation procedures), but in the scheme of things the court ruled that the right intent was there," Mr Aird said.

Following yesterday's decision, the Land and Resources Tribunal will reconvene on March 10 to determine the validity of the proposed cultural heritage plan.

According to EYL, Main Roads had agreed to recom- mendations to determine what cultural heritage would be destroyed by the road before construction began, but now wanted only to monitor for cultural heritage during con- struction.

Mr Aird said Aborigines were not trying to stop the Tugun bypass, but wanted to procedures followed to protect cultural heritage.



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