• Signs of protest and solidarity on the fence of the proposed go-kart track site. (NITV News)Source: NITV News
The Federal Environment Minister is considering permanent protection for a women's site on Wahluu (Mt Panorama), after temporarily stopping the construction of a Go Kart Track on the area.
Keira Jenkins

1 Apr 2021 - 3:37 PM  UPDATED 1 Apr 2021 - 3:37 PM

The Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has extended an emergency declaration to protect the site of a proposed go-kart track at Wahluu (Mount Panorama) in Bathurst, New South Wales.

Minister Ley originally halted the development for 30 days, and has now extended the protection of the site for another 30 days.

Traditional Owners have long expressed concerns over the proposed go-kart track's impact on a sacred women's site.

Wiradyuri Elder Mallyan Brian Grant told NITV News in November that the area was highly significant to the local community.

"The women’s place is sacred. It will always be sacred. If you destroy it, you destroy culture," he said.

"It doesn’t enhance its value by putting a go-kart track there. All you do is disturb our ancestors and make that place unusable for us."

The Minister is now considering stopping construction permanently, following her meeting with community groups, Traditional Owners and Bathurst Regional Council last month.

“This debate has raised heartfelt emotions on all sides, and I thank those members of the community who have spoken with and written to me about this issue,” Minister Ley said.

“...I am considering a declaration for protection under section 10 of the (ATSI Heritage Protection) Act and have drafted a potential declaration, the contents of which will be subject to consultation with stakeholders.

“It is one that recognises the significance of the site to Traditional Owners, but which also ensures the current usage of Mount Panorama/Wahluu as a racing venue, and as a venue for camping and other activities is preserved.

“The proposed site would cover a smaller area than that originally sought, ensuring protection for current use and for the council’s ability to maintain the site.

“I am considering a declaration that would prevent the construction of any buildings, or the undertaking of bulk earthworks.”

The Minister is due to make her decision before May 4.

Go Kart Track development on women's site halted
The Federal Environment Minister has stopped the construction of a Go Kart Track on sacred Wiradyuri land at Wahluu, or Mount Panorama, after receiving feedback from Traditional Owners.