A SHOWDOWN is looming between Bathurst Regional Council and the Bathurst Wiradyuri Elders over a proposal to register Mount Panorama an Aboriginal Place.
The plan – along with council’s frustration – has been revealed in a report to Wednesday night’s council meeting that outlines a number of Aboriginal cultural assessments currently being carried out on Mount Panorama Wahluu.
Council has engaged Extent Heritage to undertake Aboriginal cultural assessments of land earmarked for a go kart track and campgrounds at the top of the Mount, along with an anthropological survey of Mount Panorama and cultural heritage mapping of the map.
The project will cost council more than $200,000 and so far seven Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) have been involved in the project, at an estimated extra cost of $20,000.
Acting environmental planning and building services director Janet Bingham says in her report to council that it was only while undertaking the raft of assessments that council’s consultants became aware of the request to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) to have the Mount – or parts of it – registered as an Aboriginal Place.
According to the OEH website, such a registration would be a way of “legally recognising and protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage on public and private lands”.
Ms Bingham said council had not yet been contacted by the OEH in relation to the request.
“It is very frustrating that council has not otherwise been notified about the request submitted to the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage and would have remained unaware of such request had its consultants not been liaising with the Office as part of these current investigations,” Ms Bingham said.
“This matter is being followed up by council staff with the local member.”
News that the request to the OEH was kept from council will only further sour relations between the Bathurst Wiradyuri Elders and Bathurst Regional Council.
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In May, the Western Advocate reported that the elders were angry with council over what they called a “lack of consultation” over plans for the go kart track.
Dinawan Dyirribang said that as one of the land’s traditional owners he should have been contacted when the original DA for a go kart track was lodged.
“They never knew it was a sacred place because they never consulted us,” he said.
A detailed archaeological surface survey for the proposed go kart site will be completed in late August with a consultant team to be on hand to examine the authenticity of any stones claimed by the elders group to be Aboriginal artefacts.
The RAPs involved in the cultural assessments include:
- Bathurst Local Aboriginal Land Council.
- DHUULUU-YALA enterprises.
- Wiradjuri Traditional Owners Central West Aboriginal Corporation.
- Bathurst Wiradyuri and Aboriginal Community Elders.
- Warrabinga Native Title Claimants Aboriginal Corporation, based in Mudgee.
- Murra Budgee Aboriginal Corp, based in Sydney
- Mooke, based in Cowra.