A road widening project on the Tasman Peninsula has the potential to encroach on an ancient Aboriginal burial site where up to 80 people may have been laid to rest, the Tasmanian Greens say.
The works are proposed for a stretch of the Arthur Highway at Eaglehawk Neck and the State Growth Department says they will improve safety in the area.
But Greens leader Cassy O'Connor says she understands an Aboriginal burial site is located in the vicinity of where the roadworks would be undertaken and that the Aboriginal Heritage Council had provided advice that the number of people buried at the site was "potentially" around 80.
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"Can you confirm that Aboriginal heritage is a significant issue at the Eaglehawk road widening works?" she asked State Growth officials in a budget estimates hearing today.
State Growth deputy secretary Gary Swain said there were "significant issues on that site".
"I think the short answer is we're very aware and very conscious that this is a significant issue," he told Ms O'Connor.
State Roads acting general manager Denise McIntyre, meanwhile, said a "potential site" had been identified through the road widening project and "investigations will be undertaken to determine the extent of heritage values if there [are values] ... at that particular location".
Ms O'Connor asked Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson if he could give an "absolute commitment" that any burial site would be protected from the impact of the road works.
I give you a guarantee that the government will observe every possible way that we can be sensitive to that in the progress of delivering that project," Mr Ferguson said.
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