Protesters at the site.
Protesters at the site. Charlotte Lam

Bypass protest: Stand-off over $1.6 billion project

THE government plans to peacefully resolve two protests which stopped work on the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing.

Two separate protests are under way on the route of the crossing, one in Charlton and another in Murphys Creek.

The members of the Western Wakka Wakka people are protesting over possible damage to what they say are bora rings, a type of ceremonial grounds used for initiation rituals.

A second protest broke out yesterday at Murphys Creek at the site of what is claimed to be an ancient lookout.

Responding to the protests, a spokesman for the Department of Transport and Main Roads said the department would continue to work with project constructor Nexus and the Western Wakka Wakka people to "peacefully and sensitively resolve the issues at hand".

The Chronicle understands an injunction will shortly be lodged in the Land Court to stop work at the sites.

The TMR spokesman said if an injunction was filed, TMR and Nexus would follow the orders and undertake any necessary investigations. 

The representative said in a statement that exhaustive investigations at the location of an alleged lookout and bora rings, including the use of ground penetrating radar, had not shown any evidence that the sites actually existed as claimed.

Do you support the protesters?

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Yes

22%

No

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"The Department of Transport and Main Roads and its contractor Nexus are operating under a Cultural Heritage Management Agreement established under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management 2003 with the Western Wakka Wakka.

"Under Nexus' Cultural Heritage Management Agreement, officially signed by signatories of the Western Wakka Wakka people, permission was granted to proceed with the works."

Protesters in Charlton have vowed to stay on site until a resolution is found.

PROTEST EXPLAINED

>> Why the Western Wakka Wakka are protesting

>> Bora rings explained

>> The ancient 'lookout'



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