Fight to save the ‘Gympie Pyramid’ escalates
The Federal Government's Environment Department is investigating whether the "Gympie Pyramid" should be preserved under heritage protection laws as the fight over the site's future and possible destruction continues.
Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has been asked to step in by advocates for conservation of the site, also called Djaki Kundu and Rocky Ridge, which sits in the path of the $1 billion Gympie Bypass.
The application was made following an unsuccessful attempt in Brisbane's Supreme Court to secure an injunction to halt work on the Gympie Bypass.
A spokesman for the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment said the application was still pending and the department "has been in contact with the applicant and the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads".
Protesters fighting to preserve the 'Pyramid' have been camped at the site in an effort to stop it from being bulldozed.
Their efforts have been met with some resistance, including from State Transport Minister Mark Bailey, who recently defended the government's consultation with registered Kabi Kabi native title holders following criticism from Greens MP Amy McMahon.
Mr Bailey said one person had raised a "claim of aboriginal cultural heritage on the area known as Rocky Ridge".
He said Transport and Main Roads had worked closely with the Kabi Kabi people sine 2014, "carrying out studies at Rocky Ridge including comprehensive cultural heritage surveys".
"All claims of cultural heritage at the site have been thoroughly investigated with reports going back to 1976," he said.
"No tangible evidence of aboriginal cultural heritage has been found at the site.
"I am advised the name Djaki Kundu has only recently come into use in respect of the Rocky Ridge site."
Gympie MP Tony Perrett said he trusted TMR had "done the work it needed to do" and Mr Bailey's comments should reflect the information available to him as Minister.
Gympie emerging elder Russell Bennet, who was not one of the protesters at the site, said he was unsure whether the 'Pyramid' was of Indigenous cultural heritage, echoing Mr Bailey's comments that the name Djaki Kundu had only come into use in recent years.
"But that doesn't mean it's not one (a culturally sacred site)," Mr Bennet said.
He believed the Bypass route was supposed to take the road near the site, but not through it.
"To my understanding it was going to miss (the Pyramid) by 8m," Mr Bennet said.
"They weren't going to destroy it."
Gympie elder Aunty Lillian Burke was approached by The Gympie Times but declined to comment.