Culture matters. Heritage matters. Community voices matter.
Yet too often in planning decisions, Canberra’s community voices get left behind.
The development proposed at the old CSIRO site, on the foothills of Mount Ainslie, is just another example of planning gone wrong.
The site appears to have been approved for development with no assessment of its Indigenous heritage values – despite calls from Indigenous communities about the sacred value of the site, both culturally and environmentally.
For too long, these voices have been ignored.
As an environmentalist, I’m also concerned that the natural temperate grassland on the site is also home to a number of endangered species, including the golden sun moth, that are under threat from this development.
It’s just not good enough.
Our First Nations people have a unique relationship with the land across Canberra. Their rights and obligations as custodians should be respected, and their opinions sought.
With works approval still not signed off, now’s the chance to take up this opportunity to hear from a range of community voices, including our local Indigenous community representatives and Elders, on how best to protect our precious culture and heritage – before it’s too late.
In the meantime, the Greens have written to the Government, calling for urgent measures to ensure that native grasslands are immediately protected, together with better consultation.