A decision to prevent vehicle access to a site near Torrumbarry has been praised for its recognition of the need to protect areas of significant Aboriginal heritage.By Kathleen Tonini
Yorta Yorta National Aboriginal Corporation has welcomed a recent decision to prevent vehicle access to sensitive areas at Richardson’s Lagoon to protect Aboriginal heritage values.
The site, which is near Torrumbarry, is popular during the duck hunting season.
YYNAC senior cultural advisor Gary Nelson said the decision followed months of discussions with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jeanette Powell and Parks Victoria and was confirmed via letter from Parks Victoria last week.
Mr Nelson said the organisation welcomed the decision and thanked Minister Powell for providing a strong, short-term solution to protect areas of significant Aboriginal heritage, particularly during the duck hunting season.
Mr Nelson said there were lots of scar trees at the reserve as well as possible burial sites and other important trees.
He said the places were ‘‘very, very important to Yorta Yorta people’’.
‘‘We will continue to work in partnership with the relevant authorities to ensure a long-term solution to improved cultural heritage and environmental protection of areas such as the Richardson’s Lagoon complex,’’ he said.
Mr Nelson said YYNAC was committed to working with various partners to further protect and enhance the cultural heritage of the Yorta Yorta nation.
Parks Victoria confirmed access in the south-eastern section of the reserve off Baillieu Rd was ‘‘limited to foot traffic until cultural heritage assessment process was completed’’.
Last year there was a push by some Torrumbarry residents to have the reserve reclassified to totally ban duck hunting.
The move, though unsuccessful, was intended to protect flora and fauna, as well as Aboriginal heritage sites in the reserve.
The duck hunting season starts tomorrow.
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