SAVE money and trees:

Urge the Minister to choose the Western Highway northern option

                     needs YOUR Help


Not everybody understands the advantages of the Northern Option on the Western Highway as well as you do.


With your support we can spread the word about the benefits of the Northern Option.

Voice your concern by signing the petition and following the campaign

And of course we would be very grateful if you could share this with your caring friends

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75% less loss of

large old trees  


98% less impact  

on habitat of Federally

protected fauna  

$65 million cheaper -

save taxpayer's money

Quicker to construct by

at least 6 months - less inconvenience to drivers

Preservation of

culturally significant features in 

Djab Wurrung Country

Northern Option

It's common sense

  • Why has VicRoads excluded the shorter, quicker-to-build Northern Option? 

  • VicRoads has persisted with their plan to build a whole new highway, with a wider footprint through critically endangered woodland, hills and rocky areas.

  • If VicRoads uses the existing highway, one carriage way is already partly built on the Northern Option.  

​       The new carriage way could  go along the already cleared powerline easement next to the highway.
       With careful design, this could significantly reduce the environmental impact. 


  • This slower, more expensive and destructive route is worse for the taxpayer and the environment.

  • VicRoads Option 1 would probably take between 6-12 months longer to build - if all goes smoothly.


  • Estimates are that there would only be around 25 Large Old Trees lost on the Northern Option, compared to around 90 Large Old Trees on the Option 1 deviation.   

  • The Northern Option reduces the risk of fog compared with Option 1.



VicRoads Environmental Report 

When VicRoads' planned route was chosen, the worst case estimate for large old tree loss was thought be 221. This was later corrected to1645 Large Old Trees.

 The survey:

  • did not report a critically endangered, federally listed grassy woodland area

  • underestimated the area of habitat for endangered species by up to 99%

  • overlooked 15 hectares of remnant native vegetation


  • did not report on likely damage to remnant vegetation from interference with natural ground water flow

  • wrongly downgraded natural remnants to Degraded Treeless Vegetation (DTV)

Inaccurate Environmental Report

Independent experts identified numerous inadequacies and deficiencies in VicRoads Environmental Effects Statement (EES).


They concluded that the collected data was not adequate for selecting a route with the least impact. 


VicRoads disregarded advice from their own consultants  

and went ahead anyway!

A further three reports have confirmed the understatement

of significant environmental impacts on VicRoads planned

route. These reports support the Northern Option. VicRoads has not acknowledged these


Archeology Report

The archeology report overlooked several large trees identified by a traditional owner, and an archeologist as culturally significant.

The Northern Option avoids these  trees which have been submitted to governing bodies for registration.

The highway duplication project is permanent and expensive. We believe the process undertaken for the planned route relied on inadequate information, and therefore lacks integrity and credibility



Read independent opinions here, stating that:
environmental impacts were overlooked in the original surveys used to select the deviation route through hills on the next stage of widening the Western Highway

Registration of significant trees with the National Trust of Australia (Victoria)



Get the latest news and updates here

15th October 2017 - Update from KORS. Inc

Just in case you thought there was nothing happening on the Highway duplication issue, here's an update:


There have been some excellent resources developed to explain the problem and the sensible solution of a narrow northern alignment option.


                                                                                      You could start with this video 



Have you heard about the Archaeology report?  Eastern Maar, the new Registered Aboriginal Party, has probably sent in its comments to Aboriginal Victoria about the scarred trees and hollow trees by now. They may have some influence over route. 


Planning Minister Richard Wynne is expected to make a decision soon about whether to do what VicRoads wants: that is, to approve the new Planning Amendment C37 documents and skip public exhibition of them. DELWP is very disinclined to hold up the project, by requiring any more inquiry into the route.  But they are also trying to avoid more legal action. We think it can be a quick review, since it is only a third the length that was considered last time, and no new research required, or very little.

As always, a quick email to Mr Wynne, saying you are concerned about the planned wasteful and destructive route, will increase our chances of winning:

Plenty to share and comment on. 




ABC News Story: Published June 10, 2017

Western Highway duplication dispute continues

June 25, 2017

Aboriginal community members have resolved to continue their fight to prevent trees in the path of the Western Highway duplication from being cut down.

Fight brews over 'destructive' multi-million-dollar road upgrade project

June 09, 2017

VicRoads have admitted their environmental studies included "errors and inconsistencies" and a "significant underestimation of large old trees" to be destroyed. An alternative alignment next to the existing highway is possible, rather than creating a new section of road through farming properties.

RMIT Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Research Group - Letter to Minister Wynne

May 18, 2017

Letter of concern to Hon. Richard Wynne (Minister for Planning) regarding problematic environmental impacts of the planned duplication of the Western Highway between Beaufort and Ararat.    

Greenpeace Interview with Neil Marriott - 'Tread lightly and take nothing but pictures and your memories'

May 31, 2017

Neil Marriott talks with Ian Lawton about climate change and the impact of VicRoads' planned duplication of the Western Highway. An alternative route utilising the existing highway can avoid unnecessary destruction of the environment and minimise the carbon footprint during construction.

Victorian Opposition slams VicRoads for Western Highway blunder

February 21, 2017

The Victorian Opposition says the State Government needs to reveal what led to an error that has caused construction on the Western Highway duplication in the state's west to halt.

Letters to the editor - Highway Concern

February 13, 2017

The Ararat Landcare Group has ongoing concerns about VicRoads’ proposed route in the Langi Ghiran area between Buangor and Ararat. We are not against the ongoing duplication of the highway. Our concerns are both environmental and economic.

Last-minute bid to save significant tree in path of Western Highway

February 11, 2017

A claimed rare Aboriginal birthing tree is at the heart of a last-ditch heritage application to save it from being destroyed this year to widen a rural highway.

Farmer takes fight to stop Western Highway project to Supreme Court

October 26, 2016

It's a court case with echoes of The Castle: a sheep farmer in Victoria's west has taken on the combined authority of VicRoads and state planning minister Richard Wynne in her mission to stop a highway upgrade slicing through part of her rural property.

Questions raised over 'flawed' environmental data behind Western Highway duplication

September 18, 2016

A sheep farmer is considering taking the Victorian Government to court to reroute a stretch of highway that's due to sever their farmland, after a report revealed the highway's approval relied on "flawed" data.

Practical Ecology report released

July 21, 2016

A TREE discrepancy report into the next stage of the Western Highway duplication says there would be an environmental benefit in a proposed alignment along the existing highway to Ararat.

Western Highway duplication plans concern residents

July 19, 2016

A BUANGOR resident has handed a letter to Ararat Rural City Council expressing her wish for the planned Western Highway improvements to be re-routed.

Alternative option cheaper, just as safe say engineers

July 13, 2016

EXPERIENCED road engineers believe an alternative alignment option for the next stage of the Western Highway duplication project was in line with planning and safety requirements.

Practical Ecology to complete report on environmental comparison

July 13, 2016

A BUANGOR resident is keenly awaiting the completion of an environmental report into tree discrepancy for the next stage of Western Highway duplication.

Calls to halt next stage of Western Highway duplication

July 13, 2016

A BUANGOR resident and her legal counsel are seeking a suspension of Commonwealth financing for the Western Highway duplication project.

VicRoads Western Highway tree cull: authority 'severely underestimated' environmental effect

November 16, 2015

AN INVESTIGATION into VicRoads culling about 900 trees along the Western Highway has confirmed the authority’s methods were inaccurate. The VicRoads investigation found the authority misjudged the amount of native flora it had to remove for the Western Highway duplication between Beaufort and Ararat.

Elderly woman objects to highway’s impact on vegetation

March 15, 2015

Natural heritage: Isabel Mackenzie, 91, chained herself to a tree to protest the loss of vegetation resulting from the Western Highway duplication. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Woman, 91, chains herself to tree in protest against clearing of vegetation for Western Highway duplication

March 15, 2015

A 91-year-old woman has chained herself to a large tree east of Ararat, in Victoria's west, to protest against vegetation being cleared for the planned duplication of the Western Highway.

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                        FIX FREEWAY FIASCO Group


is a community-based action group supporting the quicker, easier, cheaper, shorter, simpler

Northern route to Ararat.



The Damage is Done
The Damage is Done
Hollowed Homes No More
Hollowed Homes No More

Felling of these trees leaves precious wildlife without safe habitat. Lopping can avoid this destruction.

Vic's 2nd Largest Yellow Box
Vic's 2nd Largest Yellow Box

This tree doesn't look ALL that large...until you get close!! VicRoads had hoped to move this National Trust registered tree, the second largest of its kind in Victoria. If that were not possible, they would fell it. The tree can stay alive if the Northern Option is taken.

Underground Steins
Underground Steins

Removing these large ancient steins requires dynamite

Habitats Wiped Out
Habitats Wiped Out

These slow growing trees some with fantastic hollows, home to bats, birds, possums, lizards, and some frogs, could have been lopped or avoided.

Path of Construction
Path of Construction

This s a quiet hilly place. Not that many left!! Let's keep the road out of this hill. Excavation would be about 160 metres wide here.

In Danger of Destruction
In Danger of Destruction

The lefthand two of these very large Yellow Box trees would be felled under Option 1. Large scattered trees are now recognised to have greater importance in a farming landscape than was previously recognised, supporting a large range of vertebrates and invertebrates, and being heavy producers of nectar.

Preserve Large Old Trees
Preserve Large Old Trees

These trees are glorious! Lets keep high speed activities away from them.

Felling is Final
Felling is Final

This once big and healthy tree has been felled by a culture that sees it only as a place to butt out a cigarette.

Kangaroos and Steins
Kangaroos and Steins

Kangaroos love this spot on the planned route. In some parts of the world, disturbing the "steins" (large stones), is considered to be a socially irresponsible and dangerous, because elders realise that it goes with a current cavalier attitude towards the landscape.

Nature or Highway
Nature or Highway

This patch of bush would become a high speed road under the current plans. The trees along the Northern Option are smaller and younger.

Construction Boundary
Construction Boundary

The boundary of the planned construction zone can be seen as white posts high on the hill on the right. Below this, a 180 metre wide cut would be made in this hill. This scale of earthworks can be avoided by taking the Northern Option. Earthworks means emissions. It also means investment in an industry that is very resource intensive. Let's shift to more resource-efficient ways of finding work for people.

Hillside Road
Hillside Road

This quiet dirt road would have a huge bridge over it and off-ramps onto it. The off-ramps can carry around 10,000 cars a day, while this quiet road currently has around 20 - 30 cars a day. Off-ramps will create traffic pressure for more damage all along the road. This impact was not presented to route selectors when comparing with the Northern Option.

Ancient Trees
Ancient Trees

As with people, we should revere our elders. We all need ancient trees for perspective. This one in the path or Option 1 is around 700 years old. It can be allowed to live by taking the Northern Option.

Grampians View
Grampians View

This landscape is becoming increasingly rare and valuable as over-development becomes the norm. Fragmentation of landscapes by linear infrastructure is the first step to over-development.

Old Hollowed Trees
Old Hollowed Trees

Trees have to be old before they can get hollows in them. Hollow trees are often a limited resource for hollow-dwelling animals. This ripper of a hollow tree was felled for a new power line alignment, even though it could have been lopped. In all our industrial activity, we need far greater priority on project design that does not encroach on the tiny amount of remnant we have left, and does not fragment the rarest and oldest parts of remnant vegetation.

Pristine Virgin Valley
Pristine Virgin Valley
Beautiful Buangor Landscape
Beautiful Buangor Landscape
View to Halls Gap
View to Halls Gap
Nature is Nurture
Nature is Nurture
Construction Destruction
Construction Destruction
Reckless Felling for Progress
Reckless Felling for Progress
Djab Wurrung Country
Djab Wurrung Country
Habitat for Endangered Wildlife
Habitat for Endangered Wildlife
Natural Beauty
Natural Beauty


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The Northern Option explained: a smarter, alternative route for the widening of the Western Highway