Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan (Image: AAP/Ellen Smith)

The widely reported battle between Djab Wurrung people and the Victorian state government over the construction of a highway in western Victoria has given insight into the failure of established practices, which require the government to seek the free, prior and informed consent of the Indigenous people whose land will be impacted upon. 

The plan is to duplicate the Western Highway to make a freeway near Ararat, to save motorists about two minutes driving time between Melbourne and Adelaide. This will see the destruction of more than 3000 trees thought to be up to 800 years old -- including birthing trees, which have hosted the delivery of an estimated 10,000 Djab Wurrung babies in their hollow trunks, and have ties to 56 family groups.