ABORIGINAL spokesman Michael Mansell has accused the state government of a $12 million deception over the Brighton bypass.
Heritage Minister Brian Wightman yesterday approved the $176 million bypass, signing an Aboriginal Heritage Permit for a 70-metre bridge over the Jordan River levee designed to protect a 40,000-year-old Aboriginal site.
The bridge and associated protection works have received an extra $12 million from the federal government.
"This decision will protect the significant Jordan River levee and enable further protection and investigation of the surrounding Aboriginal site," Mr Wightman said.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre legal director Mr Mansell said indigenous people around the country would be absolutely gobsmacked by the decision.
"We did fear this was going to happen," Mr Mansell said.
"But we had to fight, that was the best we could do, and now the government is going to destroy 40,000 years of history."
Mr Mansell said the offer of $12 million now was part of the government's deception as it was always going to destroy the site.
He said the Aboriginal community put forward eight alternatives to completely protect the site but the government did not seriously consider them.
Mr Mansell said an earlier threat to refuse to deal with the state government on future indigenous issues would be upheld.
"I think most Aboriginal people will refuse to sit in the same room as them," Mr Mansell said.
Mr Wightman said his door would be open.
His decision would ensure that about 96 per cent of the levee was protected while the remaining 4 per cent will be destroyed.
Greens leader and Aboriginal Affairs Minister in the Labor- Greens cabinet Nick McKim said it was a bitterly disappointing decision.
"Today we saw that a bridge, albeit many years in the development stages, can be prioritised over 40, 000 years of heritage so significant to our first Tasmanians," Mr McKim said.
He said the Greens were the only party in Parliament to voice opposition to the site.
Opposition environment spokesman Matthew Groom said the Liberals supported the project but the delays were a blight on the government, and the Aboriginal community and Tasmanians had been let down by the process.
He said the consultation process was a sham and the Friday afternoon, December timing of the announcement by a new minister demonstrated that the government had made up its mind months ago.
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