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
THE NORTHERN OPTION WINS
75% less loss of
large old trees
98% less impact
on habitat of Federally
$65 million cheaper -
save taxpayer's money
Quicker to construct by
at least 6 months - less inconvenience to drivers
culturally significant features in
Djab Wurrung Country
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.
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
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.
NEWS ITEMS ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN
ABC News Story: Published June 10, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
FIX FREEWAY FIASCO Group
is a community-based action group supporting the quicker, easier, cheaper, shorter, simpler
Northern route to Ararat.
Felling of these trees leaves precious wildlife without safe habitat. Lopping can avoid this destruction.
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.
Removing these large ancient steins requires dynamite
These slow growing trees some with fantastic hollows, home to bats, birds, possums, lizards, and some frogs, could have been lopped or avoided.
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.
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.
These trees are glorious! Lets keep high speed activities away from them.
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 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.
This patch of bush would become a high speed road under the current plans. The trees along the Northern Option are smaller and younger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.