Injunction may halt works on Toowoomba bypass

Protesting at the site are Muran Gunggari, Lurley Mason and Lurley Wunamutta.
Protesting at the site are Muran Gunggari, Lurley Mason and Lurley Wunamutta.

UPDATE: Works on the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing could be halted if  traditional land owners file an injunction in court.amid concerns about a culturally significant site.

Nexus chief executive officer John Hagan told ABC Southern Queensland the consortium welcomed the injunction which would allow it and the Western Wakka Wakka people to discuss any issues.

The injunction has the potential to force Nexus into a complete realignment of the road through the Charlton area, but any changes wouldn't be known until after the Land Court rules on the motion.

He said the injunction followed months of discussions with other traditional landowners and archaeological studies on the region impacted by the bypass build.

There was as yet no time frame how long works will have be stopped, Mr Hagan said.

"We at Nexus, we are only trying to get to finality whether we're required to proceed forward on our current path or should we be directed to change course then potentially realign the road, or whatever else would come from that, we just welcome getting to that finality," he said.

Mr Hagan said Nexus had elevated the bypass in an effort to avoid disturbing the bora rings in what he called an "over-abundance of caution".

"We elevated the roadway in that area to try to minimise the impact on the potential bora rings," he said.

"I understand from speaking to them yesterday it is the connection between the two rings so while the two rings, if they do exist, (the connection) would be severed and that is what is causing the issues.

"Our current design does not impact those potential sites, it just severs the connection between them in. There  is obviously a lot of emotional impact to several members of the Western Wakka Wakka."

Mr Hagan said there were limited options to change the design of the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing in the area.

He said the "only one other option" was a complete realignment of a section of the road which would require further land resumptions and environmental clearances, but added "there may be additional culturally sensitive issues" associated with that.

"At this stage we welcome an injunction being filed so we can get some finality," he said.

Message Stick Man Muran Gunggari
Message Stick Man Muran Gunggari

EARLIER: An indigenous group has approached Toowoomba Second Range Crossing workers with spears as part of a protest against possible damage to a cultural site.

The protest, led by representatives of the Western Wakka Wakka group, started on Monday night over concerns about a culturally-significant bora ring.

Police were earlier monitoring the protest near Holmes Rd, Charlton and Queensland Fire and Emergency crews were called to the scene after reports of a grass fire.

The fires were part of "significant cultural rituals" undertaken by the group.

More than 10 people are protesting at the site.

A leader of the group, known as Message Stick Man Muran Gunggari, said the protesters were not opposed to the works.

"We want fair acknowledgement and for Nexus to understand the cultural significance of the land."


Topics:  editors picks toowoomba toowoomba second range crossing

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