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Federal Court decision welcomed as fight to protect sacred DjubWurrung trees continues

In a stark rebuke to Minister for Environment Sussan Ley, the Australian Greens today welcomed the Federal Court decision to uphold an appeal regarding the sacred Djab Wurrung trees.

Overnight the Federal Court overturned Minister Ley's decision to reject an appeal for the protection of six trees in the path of a highway upgrade on Djab Wurrung Country in western Victoria.

“We welcome this decision, as this marks another important step in what has been a grassroots fight led by senior Djab Wurrung women to protect sacred country,” Greens Senator for Victoria and Djab Wurrung woman Lidia Thorpe said today.

“The destruction of the Directions Tree has been like another death in our community, because we are so intrinsically connected to our country and all living things on our Country.

“We can’t trust this mob to protect Country, or to have any respect for our environment and our heritage.

“Not once - not twice - but now, three times, the federal Government’s decisions to wave through the destruction of this area of Country have been overturned by the courts. It’s clear the system is broken.

“That’s why the Greens are again calling for stronger laws against cultural destruction, across this country. Here in Victoria, the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act gives the government permission to commit cultural genocide and it needs to be abolished. 

“We need our national heritage laws to protect our sacred and significant places and culture. Our voices won’t be silenced,” Senator Thorpe added.

Greens Environment Spokesperson Sarah-Hanson Young said, “Sussan Ley is not up to the job. The PM should be moving her out of her portfolio today. This judgement calls into question Sussan Ley’s other decisions made under our environment laws - she clearly doesn’t do the due diligence the job requires.

The Australian public doesn't trust the Minister to make decisions in the best interests of the environment she's supposed to be protecting. Now it's clear that the court doesn't either, recommending a new decision maker.

"This judgement is an indictment on a Minister who has overseen destruction of numerous culturally significant sites as well as koala habit during her tenure. It's time for her to go."

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