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Ararat Farmer in turmoil

Ararat Farmer in turmoil

Locals footing the bill for Western Highway duplication hold up

The Herald sun has released a report stating the Western Highway Duplication has cost Victorian Taxpayers over 18 million dollars to date.

The project is currently halted and moving into its 20th month of being stopped due to aboriginal protestors believing there are sacred trees on site that need to be protected.

The highway duplication development has already been re routed once by the government who worked with Aboriginal groups to protect trees listed as sacred and culturally significant.

Local Farmer Max Waller who has sold land to the government for the duplication project still has land that backs onto the campsite of protestors and has told the Neil Mitchell program the protestors are ruining his life " I've been putting up with this for 19 months, everytime I go up the end of the farm I get abused and threatened...and nobody can help me, members of parliament, the police, council..nobody can help me, they just feel sorry for me...but its ruined my life".

Mr Waller says Protestors abused his partner who has now had a mini stroke and is in a home and may not come back.

"They threatened to burn her out and get her and she may never come home again, Its just bulls@#$, every time I go up the end of the farm Vicroads told me I need to take security with me or the police".

"They tell me to get off their land, they're camped right against the fence, they've built everything, no permits and the sewerage goes into my dam and its just got me so far down I don't know what to do".

Mr Waller went on to say he had exhausted all avenues to get help including local Member for Parliament Jaala Pulford.

When asked how important the duplication was to the area Mr Waller said...

"It's very important to duplicate the highway, its a very dangerous stretch of road - there's been that many people been killed there over the years...."

Article continues below

The next move for the Western Highway duplication is in the hands of of Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley.

Ms Ley is still considering a Federal Court ruling that called for a fresh decision on a 2018 application to protect the area.

Member for Wannon Dan Tehan confirmed Ms Ley was still considering a Federal Court ruling that called for a fresh decision on a 2018 application to protect the area.

The court in December upheld an appeal from members of Djab Wurrung Heritage Protection Embassy regarding the development.

Mr Tehan stressed the Western Highway duplication between Buangor and Ararat was a section of one of the busiest freight routes in Australia and requires an urgent safety upgrade.

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