Elder’s angst as Treendale road decision nears

Briana FioreHarvey-Waroona Reporter

An Aboriginal elder has spoken out about the proposed Kingston Drive road extension behind Bunnings in Treendale, that would be built on land subject to native title.

The topic has found its way back on to the Shire of Harvey council’s agenda after three decades, as business owners in the light industrial area push for the road’s construction. The proposed road would run through a nature reserve near Paris Road in Australind, which has native title.

Local elder Dennis Jetta said the decision would have to be decided by the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.

He said the Australind area was rich in Aboriginal culture and had a lot of significant sites.

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“My great-grandfather Paul was born here in 1851 and lived in Australind before the white men came,” Mr Jetta said. “There is a lot of history here.”

He said there were three Aboriginal tribes who lived in the area before colonisation.

“There was the Pinjarra tribe, Wilman tribe and Wardan tribe,” he said. “The mobs all shared the land and stretched out to the Pinjarra and Collie areas.”

Mr Jetta said having sacred land destroyed for construction was disappointing.

“It does hurt in a way,” he said. “We have to remember this was stolen land.”

Mr Jetta said the Aboriginal people were happy to negotiate with the proposed road as long as recognition was served.

“Recognition is the first step,” Mr Jetta said.

Treendale business owners have told the Harvey-Waroona Reporter they are desperate to get the roadworks rolling. Australind Tyre Service owner Neil Espinos said businesses were leaving the area in droves and people were losing their jobs.

“We don’t get enough traffic here and we need help,” Mr Espinos said. “I only bought into the area because we were promised a road, however, we are still waiting all these years later.”

Shire president Paul Gillett said the planning for the road has been completed and the decision was pending State Government approval.

Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said the State Government was waiting for advice.

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