Following months of public protest and appeals by Traditional Owners, the federal environment minister Sussan Ley has confirmed the protection of a sacred women's site threatened by construction.
The site atop Wahluu (Mt Panorama) on Wiradjuri Country had been earmarked for development, with the neighbouring go-kart track seeking to expand its operation.
In a statement, the minister declared the area protected under section 10 of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984 (ATSIHP Act).
“I am satisfied that the area identified at the top of Mount Panorama/Wahluu, one that helps define the iconic shape of the mountain top, is culturally significant and should be protected under the ATSIHP Act,” Minister Ley said.
“It acknowledges the cultural significance Mount Panorama/Wahluu has for the Wiradyuri people, in contributing to local Aboriginal narratives, songlines, ceremonies and cultural heritage.
Minister Ley halted construction for the development last month, and accepted an invitation by Traditional Owners to go on Country herself to learn about the significance of the area.
“The initial report did recognise the cultural significance of the site to the Wiradyuri and further submissions and consultation with a number of parties strengthened my views about the significance of the site," read the minister's statement.
Protections take effect on 5 May 2021 for a period of 10 years.
UPDATE: The Bathurst Regional Council confirmed on Tuesday, 9 June it will not challenge the Federal Environment Minister's decision to protect the sacred women’s site, at Mount Panorama-Wahluu.