Australian news, and some related international items

Nuclear waste storage banned by law in South Australia

South-Aust-govtSouth Australia Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 An Act to prohibit the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in South Australia; and for other purposes.

Objects of Act The objects of this Act are to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of South Australia and to protect the environment in which they live by prohibiting the establishment of certain nuclear waste storage facilities in this State.

nuclear waste means— (a) Category A, Category B or Category C radioactive waste as defined in the Code of Practice; or (b) any waste material that contains a radioactive substance and is derived from— (i) the operations or decommissioning of— (A) a nuclear reactor; or (B) a nuclear weapons facility; or (C) a radioisotope production facility; or (D) a uranium enrichment plant; or (ii) the testing, use or decommissioning of nuclear weapons; or (iii) the conditioning or reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel;

nuclear waste storage facility means any installation for the storage or disposal of nuclear waste; public authority has the same meaning as in the Environment Protection Act 1993; radioactive substance means any substance that spontaneously emits ionizing radiation. 5—Act binds Crown This Act binds the Crown in right of the State and, in so far as the legislative power of the State permits, in all its other capacities……..

13—No public money to be used to encourage or finance construction or operation of nuclear waste storage facility Despite any other Act or law to the contrary, no public money may be appropriated, expended or advanced to any person for the purpose of encouraging or financing any activity associated with the construction or operation of a nuclear waste storage facility in this State……

March 14, 2015 Posted by | legal, politics, South Australia | 1 Comment

Waubra Foundation no longer gets charity tax subsidy for anti wind farm activities

astroturf-windWaubra Foundation, prominent anti-wind farm lobby, stripped of health promotion charity status ABC News By environment and science reporter Jake Sturmer 18 Dec 2014, Government regulators have stripped a prominent anti-wind farm lobby of its health promotion charity status.

The status allowed the Waubra Foundation to receive tax deductible donations, concessions the Greens described as “enormous public subsidies”.

A year ago the ABC revealed the Greens made a complaint to the Taxation Office and Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission (ACNC), claiming there was no credible evidence to suggest a direct link between wind turbines and health problems.

University of Sydney Professor of Public Health Simon Chapman supports that view.

“There’s very, very poor evidence of any direct effect – in fact there have been 22 published reviews since 2003 which have all reached that conclusion,” Professor Chapman said.

“So in other words there’s nothing intrinsic that’s emitted from wind farms – sound etcetera – which in itself can cause human health problems.”

Four months after the Greens made the complaint, the Commission sent a show cause notice to the Foundation.

“It is not possible for me to find that the Foundation’s principal activity promotes the prevention or control of disease in human beings,” Assistant Commissioner David Locke said in February.

“My current view is there is that there is insufficient evidence that ‘wind turbine syndrome’ or ‘vibroacoustic disease’ caused by proximity to wind turbines are recognised as human diseases or that the health problems that have been perceived by the complainants as being associated with living or working close to wind turbines are a disease.”………..

December 20, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Cutting Renewable Energy Target brings risk of legal compensation action against Australian government

justiceCompensation action shadows government proposal to cut renewable energy target: law report, October 28, 2014  Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald   Lowering the renewable energy target is likely to undermine existing investments while freezing new ones, and open the federal government to demands for compensation, a leading law firm has said in a report.

International law group Baker & McKenzie, which has provided legal services to clean energy projects such as wind farms, said any reduction in the goal would increase the cost of capital “to make many existing and future projects financially unviable”.

Financing arrangements would be reviewed following any change in the target because the industry’s currency – renewable energy certificates – would fall by between 10 and 30 per cent, affecting the viability of even established ventures. “The vast majority of existing projects will be up for refinancing over the period 2016-2018,” Baker & McKenzie said in the report. “Existing projects might not be able to meet the minimum financing requirements based on the revised set of risks and parameters.”Kane Thornton, acting head of industry lobby group Clean Energy Council, said the report shows the risks of cutting the renewable energy target or RET.

“This report shows that a cut in the target of the scale proposed by the government would have far reaching and damaging consequences, and also that ensuring adequate compensation would be an extraordinarily complex and expensive task,” he said. Continue reading

October 29, 2014 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

New South Wales: new Bill to enforce environmental protection laws

justiceAustralia: Tough new environmental enforcement measures under NSW Bill Mondaq Clayton Utz,  17 August 2014 A range of new and much higher penalties, and a new power for the EPA to require bank guarantees for remediation, are the key features of the Protection of the Environment Legislation Amendment Bill 2014, introduced into the New South Wales Parliament on Tuesday.

If passed, the Bill will amend

  • the Contaminated Land Management Act 1997;
  • the Protection of the Environment Operations Act 1997; and
  • the Radiation Control Act 1990.

Bank guarantees for remediation work

The EPA will be able to require financial assurances, such as a bank guarantee or bond, as part of a management order under the Contaminated Land Management Act. The EPA can set the amount, but it cannot exceed the EPA’s reasonable estimate of the total cost of carrying out the relevant action (including EPA supervision costs).

If the person fails to carry out the required action, the EPA can then do the action itself or contract someone else to do it, and then make a claim on the financial assurance to cover its costs.

The Court can also use this mechanism in proceedings under the Contaminated Land Management Act if it orders an offender to carry out a specified work or program for the restoration or enhancement of the environment……….

New penalties, including restorative justice

For some offences under the Contaminated Land Management Act and Radiation Control Act, the Land & Environment Court will be able to order new penalties, including ordering the offender:

  • to publicise the offence and its environmental and other consequences;
  • to notify specified persons, such as shareholders of the offence, via the annual report or other methods;
  • to carry out a specified project for the restoration or enhancement of the environment in a public place or for the public benefit; or
  • to carry out any social or community activity for the benefit of the community or persons that are adversely affected by the offence (a restorative justice activity) that the offender has agreed to carry out………

Waste tracking

It will now be an offence not to fit GPS tracking to waste transportation vehicles………

August 18, 2014 Posted by | legal, New South Wales | Leave a comment

Submissions will challenge Western Australia’s EPA report approving Kintyre uranium project

New WA uranium mine given environmental approval amid concerns, Australian Mining  29 July, 2014 Ben Hagemann The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Western Australia has given conditional approval to the proposed Kintyre uranium mine in the Little Sandy Desert.

Canadian-based mining company Cameco plans to truck uranium oxide from 270 kilometres north east of Newman to the Port of Adelaide. The EPA’s report is open for a two-week appeal period starting Monday, July 28, and closing on August 11……….

Environmental groups have voiced concerns about impacts on the nearby Karlamilyi National Park, with the Conservation Council expressing their disappointment with the EPA approval.

Conservation Council spokesperson Mia Pepper said most of the EPAs conditions were administrative, and that environmental protections have been deferred to the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

“In this case, that includes mine closure, rehabilitation and tailings management and those are the aspects where uranium mines have failed in Australia to deliver good environmental outcomes,” she said.

“That’s something that we think the EPA should be looking at more closely.”

Pepper said the Conservation Council will make a submission regarding the EPAs report, and will support other organisations wishing to do the same.

July 30, 2014 Posted by | legal, uranium, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Warren Mundine, Abbott’s appointed Aboriginal adviser plans to sue Fairfax media

Warren Mundine planning to sue Fairfax THE AUSTRALIAN JULY 14, 2014 12:00AM 
Victoria Editor Melbourne
THE Prime Minister’s senior ­indigenous adviser, Warren Mundine, plans to sue Fairfax after he was accused of brokering a “highly questionable deal” that gave a mining company ­access to an Aboriginal sacred site in Western Australia.

“The allegations against me published in Fairfax Media last weekend are false,” Mr Mundine says in the statement to be ­released today.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal | Leave a comment

Doubts about legal advice to Aborigines about Lake Disappointment mining deal

justiceLegal advice questioned controversial mining deal: July 15, 2014 Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie More legal advice has emerged questioning the process that led to a controversial deal between a West Australian aboriginal corporation and a mining company.

Fairfax Media has obtained advice from a third in-house lawyer for the Western Desert Lands Aboriginal Corporation which cast doubt over the process that lead to a deal with Reward Minerals to mine a Martu sacred site in outback WA called Lake Disappointment.

At the weekend, Fairfax Media revealed how two other in-house lawyers for the Western Desert corporation wrote an explosive July, 2011 memo warning that a soon-to-be signed deal with Reward had “no validity”, in part because the corporation’s board and executives had, in their opinion, not acted in the best interests of the Martu people.

A 2009 email reveals that a separate in-house lawyer for the corporation also raised concerns about the Martu people not having given “proper informed consent” to an in-principle agreement signed with Reward to mine Lake Disappointment a year earlier.

In March, 2009, the Western Desert corporation’s then in-house lawyer, Christina Araujo, emailed acting chief executive Tony Wright to advise that she was not “prepared to state that I believe WDLAC has the informed consent of the common law holders” because it could put her practising certificate at risk.

“Tony, further to our conversation on the 6th of March, I am confirming in writing concerns I have in relation to the Reward negotiations,” Ms Araujo wrote. “Apart from my personal observations, I have also had discussions with a number of others who were also of the view that proper informed consent is or may be lacking.

“Going through the files, it appears Katherine Hill [another legal adviser], on numerous occasions provided advice on proper informed consent and it is noted in a file note dated 16/10/2007 that she spoke to Joe Procter and Clinton Wolf about her concern that people did not seem to understand there was a mining proposal over Lake Disappointment.

“It does not appear in the files that the matter was discussed in detail with the common law holders … it is an issue for WDLAC if we do not have informed consent for the Reward matter. Any agreement which may result may be invalid.”

Mr Procter was a consultant helping the Western Desert corporation negotiate the initial 2008 deal and Mr Wolf was then the corporation’s chief executive.

Ms Araujo’s March, 2009 email came at the same time the Native Title Tribunal heard Martu elders testify about the cultural significance of the Lake Disappointment site.

The tribunal was asked to rule on Reward’s proposal after relations between the mining company and the Western Desert corporation stalled in mid-2008 amid an argument over legal costs. In a historic ruling, the tribunal rejected Reward’s bid on the basis of Lake Disappointment’s cultural importance to the Martu people. It was the first time the tribunal had refused a mining company’s application.

But, as reported by Fairfax Media at the weekend, the Western Desert corporation altered it stance on the Reward proposal in 2011, despite strong doubts from another set of in-house lawyers about the negotiation process not being conducted in the best interests of the Martu people.

Ms Araujo’s successors as the Western Desert corporation’s in-house lawyers warned that the Reward negotiation process had in their opinion put the corporation in breach of most of its legal obligations as the trustee body for Martu people.

In a January, 2011 announcement to the Australian Stock Exchange, Reward revealed it had in late 2010 approached the Western Desert corporation to re-open talks over Lake Disappointment.

On April 1, 2011, Reward announced to the ASX: “Reward has appointed Azure Capital and its affiliate Indigenous Investment Management (IIM) as advisers to assist in discussions with the Martu traditional owners.”

Company documents show at the time of this announcement that IIM’s shareholders and directors included former Western Desert chief executive Mr Wolf, senior Azure Capital executives and Warren Mundine, who was last year appointed as the federal government’s top indigenous adviser.

Another shareholder at this time was the Western Desert corporation’s chief financial officer Mr Wright.

Mr Mundine has confirmed that he was not personally involved in the negotiations nor benefited from the deal.

Western Desert corporation chief executive Noel Whitehead and Mr Wolf said external legal advisers were engaged in 2011 to ensure the deal was done properly and fairly.

Reward this week rejected any inference its negotiations over Lake Disappointment were unfair. It said independent legal and financial advisers were involved and great care had been taken to treat the Martu people with respect.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, Western Australia | Leave a comment

Costly problems, legal battles, face owners of Four Mile uranium mine

radiation-sign-sadFour Mile mine opens amid tensions between owners, World Nuclear News, 26 June 2014 The Four Mile uranium mine in South Australia was officially opened on 25 June, but its minority owner wants to sell its stake and is preparing a legal battle against the project operator…….EdwardSterck, a senior mining analyst at London-based BMO Capital Markets, said he did not think there was “any huge significance” in the opening of Four Mile. “It appears that they are using the existing Beverley plant which suggests that production from Four Mile is replacing production at Beverley,” Sterck told World Nuclear News.

Quasar Director Dave Roberts said there is remaining ore at the Beverley mine that “can and will be” extracted at a future point in time. “But today, we are dedicating the full processing capacity of Beverley to the production of Four Mile uranium,” Roberts said during TV coverage of the opening ceremony.

ACE’s parent company Melborne-based Alliance Resources announced last week it had appointed Deloitte Corporate Finance to lead the sale of its 25% stake in the project. Alliance said the sale would “free up funds” for the company to develop its exploration portfolio.

In the meantime, the court case is looming for ACE’s 2010 filing against Quasar Resources – on the basis of “misleading and deceptive conduct” – having been set for 30 June.

ACE has said it is “seeking restitution for the 75% interest in the exploration licence for Four Mile, citing, among other issues, Quasar’s failure to disclose information relating to the prospectivity of part of the tenement.” ACE also contends that Quasar, “with the assistance or participation of” its affiliate Heathgate Resources, breached its obligations under the joint venture agreement……..

ACE said in January it had elected to vote against Quasar’s revised start-up plan for the Four Mile project, which would see uranium capture at Heathgate’s Pannikan plant, and precipitation, drying and packing at Heathgate’s Beverley processing plant. ACE said the parties should instead construct a stand-alone plant at Four Mile in order to reduce operating costs. Heathgate Resources, which like Quasar is based in Adelaide, is the owner and operator of the Beverley uranium mine in the Northern Flinders Ranges.

First discovered in 2005, the Four Mile uranium deposit is 550 km north east of Adelaide in the Frome Basin. State and federal regulators approved the mining lease for the project in April 2012 and more than AUD 120 million ($113 million) has been invested so far, the government said. The mine’s owners expect to produce up to 1.6 million pounds from the mine this year, it said.

June 28, 2014 Posted by | business, legal, South Australia, uranium | Leave a comment

Muckaty nuclear waste dump plan has been scrapped!

Natalie Wasley, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, 19 June 14 Some fantastic news today- the Commonwealth Government has committed not to pursue plans for a national radioactive waste dump at Muckaty, 120km north of Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory!

Lawyers from Maurice Blackburn Social Justice Practice have just announced the exciting development in Melbourne and a delegation of Muckaty Traditional Owners travelled to Alice Springs for a press conference that has just concluded.

The announcement comes mid-way through the Federal Court trial examining the process under which the nomination of Muckaty was made by the Northern Land Council and accepted by the Commonwealth Government in 2007.

Two weeks of the trial were completed with hearings in Melbourne, Tennant Creek and on country at Muckaty outstation. The Northern Land Council and Commonwealth Government have agreed to settle with the Applicants by committing not to act on the proposal or nomination, so the hearings scheduled for Darwin (June 23-July 4) have been cancelled.

A blog of the court proceedings is online at and photos posted

muckaty nuclear waste court case

This campaign has followed the successful campaign by the Kupi Piti Kungka Tjuta to stop a nuclear dump in SA and been built from the ground up in Tennant Creek with help from supporters across the NT. Over the last 7 years, the community has marched in Tennant Creek every year, hosted trade union delegations, written songs and poems, made films and toured photo exhibitions. People have travelled tirelessly around the country to build awareness and support, having conversations over cups of tea in regional areas and walking the corridors of Canberra Parliament House to lobby Ministers.

The community used the May 25 rally and media attention on the federal court proceedings to reiterate they would continue campaigning until the dump was stopped- including blocking the road if needed.

So the deadly news is now public – please tell everyone that together we dumped the Muckaty plan! Traditional Owners and the broader community in Tennant Creek are very excited and relieved and looking forward to a big celebration in the coming few weeks.

We will then set about collating photos, footage and other materials from the campaign, so stay tuned for the call out to copy and/or send these to the Arid Lands Environment Centre for archiving.

There is a lot more to say but we are still all a bit shocked and processing the news so will send more updates and reflections in the coming week.

Media release from today is attached.

I was asked to finish this note with a huge thanks to everyone who has been part of this campaign and supported the Muckaty mob to be heard- every action, letter, conversation, trip to Tennant, fundraising gig and movie night has helped bring about this victory!!

Muckaty will be nuclear free!


June 19, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Northern Territory, wastes | Leave a comment

The finish for the plan to dump nuclear waste at Muckaty

muckaty nuclear waste court caseMuckaty nuclear dump scrapped  Land council abandons Muckaty dump push SMH,  June 19, 2014 Neda Vanovac”…… the Northern Land Council has decided to abandon its push to locate a national nuclear waste dump on Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory. The NLC announced on Thursday that it had settled with opponents of the dump and that Federal Court proceedings would be dismissed. Settlement talks had been going on since the trial began earlier this month, NLC CEO Joe Morrison said.

Last week, the court travelled from Melbourne to Tennant Creek to take evidence from a number of Aboriginal clans from the Muckaty Land Trust, located 120km north of the town, who said their wishes were overruled by a fifth clan and the NLC, who worked together to nominate the site.

The groups have been battling one another for seven years since Muckaty was formally nominated in 2007……..

Whether a dump would be located on Aboriginal land is up to the Commonwealth and traditional owners, Mr Morrison said…….The $12 million that had been on the table from the federal government as compensation for the community will not be paid, and a second site on Muckaty will not be put forward.

Both sides will pay their own legal costs.

Whether a dump would be located on Aboriginal land is up to the Commonwealth and traditional owners, Mr Morrison said.  The federal government has agreed to an NLC request the site no longer be considered, and it will hold discussions to find an alternative, Minister for Industry Ian MacFarlane said in a statement.

“If a suitable site is not identified through these discussions the government will commence a new tender process for nominations for another site.”

Lawyers for the traditional land owners at Muckaty Station said their clients were overjoyed with the outcome.

“Every step of the process was opposed by people on the ground, and that may be one reason why they’ve decided to no longer rely on litigation,” Maurice Blackburn lawyer Elizabeth O’Shea told reporters in Melbourne.

June 19, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

AUDIO: latest report on the Muckaty nuclear waste dump court case

Hear-This-wayMuckaty Court Case heads to Darwin 17 June 14 Damian Williams  The federal court case on the planned Muckaty nuclear waste dump has now adjourned. Paddy Gibson for the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning is following the trial:

The court is now adjourned. The last sitting was on Saturday. The judge travelled again out to Muckaty.  Aboriginal people thanked the court judge for coming to Muckaty out-station coming to country to hear from the elders directly and other Aboriginal people who are opposing nuclear waste dumping on their land. The  case will now move to Darwin to take evidence from Northern Land Council

justiceCrucial day of evidence, we  heard from –  a very senior man,  Dick Foster known as reliable authority on who owns this land. NLC was relying on  this man, Dick Foster.   In their early nomination they actually used Mr Foster’s name.  Whereas Dick has been crystal clear since 2007 that the NLC is wrong  The NLC are relying on the wrong idea that a small piece of Muckaty belongs to just on e family group. Not alright for this family to sell one piece of the and  made it clear that this was wrong.  The anthropology used was not correct. They needed to slow the process down. NLC should have heard from all of the groups on how decisions would be made for that small piece of land. NLC forged ahead in 2007  far too quickly according to Mr Foster. Sold Muckaty out without the consent of Aboriginal owners.  Far too much pressure.

Needed to encourage proper discussion on how that should be done. Sold Muckaty out

His evidence crucial. Process was far too rushed.

He made it clear that there was a lot of pressure on senior people like himself.  with a number of government people on senior Aborigines,

That evidence was very significant. No one in this case is questioning the cultural knowledge of Mr Foster, though not  a traditional owner himself. No question that he is not an authentic witness on Aboriginal culture, and the land around Muckaty

handsoffThe NLC and government should back off now. They really should listen to these people. People have been saying – “You’ve got it wrong. You’re rushing us”

The other point about the evidence that came out on the country –  people have not been told the real story, right back to 2007.  Even the individuals who nominated the land were never told. had no idea of the true nature of what was planned. No one was ever told that there could be accidents.  Those sorts of question are in the legislation, but this was never explained to the people.  People were not told of possibility of drastic accident. People were never properly informed that they may lose their land forever.

The government  is trying to say that it’s only for 200 years.  But there are provisions sin the legislation, that the government could hold that land forever. Never explained to any traditional owners in the consultation process. That is clear from the evidence which has come out. They’re trying to say that this will be  at temporary facility.

Relying on faulty flawed anthropology. Enormous amount of pressure was put on the traditional owners. They were relying on faulty, flawed anthropology. Iy was rushed through inn order to do a deal. Rights systematically stripped away from the traditional owners.   Very strong case coming out now from the  people who are opposed to the nuclear waste dump.. Quite shocking to learn how the government and NLC have treated these people, through this process.

Evidence is now wound up in Tennant Creek and Muckaty

Next is a trip to Darwin.  The focus now will be on the NLC and the Commonwealth. They will be subject to the same cross examination that the Aboriginal people had to go through.

The Aboriginal people are happy and proud with what they have achieved.  They have been so strong, so articulate.-  that they have stood up to these non indigenous very highly paid, highly educated barristers for the Land Council and government attacking them in the witness stand.  Some of the Aboriginal witnesses were cross examined for 3 hours – with lawyers for the government and NLC trying to trick them trap them  The truth has come out on how this nomination came about back in 2007.  Evidence is now wound up

We’ve had to go through 7 years of heartache, pain, stress sickness, and many people have died. A lot of people not alive now to give evidence on how they were treated. A very sad stressful thing that has happened to this community. In Darwin the pressure will be on the NLC and Government.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

AUDIO: Report on Day 8 of Muckaty Nuclear waste Dump Court Case

Hear-This-wayAUDIO Report on Day 8 of Muckaty nuclear waste dump court case.

The Muckaty mob have been so strong in this court-room. It’s an intimidating system. Gladys Brown – strong indigenous woman, grilled by white men in an intimidating manner. Australian govt and NLC didn’t want the court case to come to Muckaty and Northern Territory.  Awful to watch the NRC lawyer denigrating the cultural knowledge of these Aboriginal women.  Trying to trip them up all the time – about their dreaming stories. But these witnesses are holding their ground, sticking to their guns. That the Land council anf govt did not listen to them A very disturbing process to watch.

Confronting for these women to be surrounded by white men – challenging their cultural knowledge.

White law is given absolute upper hand, through these whole proceedings.. It’s the Aboriginal women who are on trial. These women being put through the ringer. No acknowledgement of the strength of the law and knowledge in this area.

So much is being revealed about the consultation process.

muckaty nuclear waste court case

One of the darkest aspects – The government and lawyers always emphasise the low level waste –  medical equipment etc. They never talk  the spent nuclear fuel – from Lucas Heights, currently overseas, but coming back as its the most dangerous industrial waste of all. It is never discussed in detail

Very obvious that in the early consultations –  the people were not told a true account of what nuclear waste is. None of this contained a genuine discussion about the spent nuclear fuel rods.

As soon as the traditional owners started to get information, from the Environment Centre, they started action against the dump.  From Day one it should have been explained. It was never brought up by the Northern Land Council.  The NLC claim the protest comes from outsiders. Not so.

June 16, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, Audiovisual, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Northern Territory | 1 Comment

Nuclear waste dump on Aboriginal land: a step towards importing the world’s radioactive trash?

justicehandsoffNuclear dump will end heritage links:court The West Australian , NEDA VANOVAC June 12, 2014,An Aboriginal woman who opposes the construction of a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory says it’s a stepping stone to Australia storing the world’s waste.

The Federal Court is sitting in Tennant Creek to hear from members of four clans who say they were not properly consulted by the Northern Land Council (NLC) and the Commonwealth, which they say wrongfully acknowledged the Lauder family of the Ngapa clan as traditional owners of the site, 120km north of the town.

The court must sift through the criss-crossing songlines and dreamings of the seven clans who claim land within the 221,000ha Muckaty Station to decide who owns the two square kilometres that would house the facility.

Marlene Bennett told the court on Thursday that if the dump went ahead, the local people would lose their connection to heritage forever. “The world wants to store their nuclear waste somewhere. I have no doubt in my mind that parcel of land will get bigger and bigger. We won’t be able to get there any more, hunt there any more. It’s going to impact on the whole area,” she said.

“The songs, stories, ceremonies, culture, everyone is dispossessed again.”

Her uncle was part of a group of traditional owners taken to see the Lucas Heights storage facility in Sydney in 2006, but Ms Bennett says he thought they were planning to build a rubbish dump to create jobs for the community.

“(His) understanding was a commercial rubbish tip, which is quite different to a nuclear facility,” she said. “To see him so distressed, saying, ‘We agreed to this, but we didn’t understand what it was about’. Obviously they weren’t informed correctly.” She said indigenous people were often too intimidated to speak out in the face of authority.

“I’m concerned about the level of information that was imparted, not just showing the community the dollar signs,” Ms Bennett said.

Whether the federal government and the NLC consulted the community properly is a key element of the case…….

June 14, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Northern Territory | 1 Comment

Muckaty nuclear waste case: Commonwealth law may prevail over Aboriginal owners’ wishes

The Commonwealth Radioactive Waste Management Act (2005) states that even if an Aboriginal community or group that might be affected by the proposed nomination has not been consulted and does not consent, the nomination can go ahead.

And even if Justice Anthony North rules that the NLC behaved improperly, the facility might still be built at Muckaty.

justiceMuckatyNuclear waste dump may still go ahead NEDA VANOVACJune 13, 2014, The news is always a little old at the Tennant Creek newsagency.It takes a while for the papers to be transported to the town, 1000km south of Darwin and about 500km north of Alice Springs in the rocky, semi-arid Barkly tablelands.

At 283,648 square kilometres, the tablelands are one-fifth of the Northern Territory and bigger than New Zealand. However, even eight years after the battle over the proposed Muckaty waste dump began, this dispute is anything but old news. The Federal Court this week took evidence from locals in what many hope will be a long-awaited resolution to a situation that has split the town.

In 2006, a small patch of land on Muckaty Station, 120km north of Tennant Creek, was put forward by the Northern Land Council (NLC) to the Commonwealth government to become Australia’s national radioactive waste storage facility. The council had the permission of the Lauder family of the Ngapa clan, which it determined were the rightful owners of that spot.

However, seven clans lay claim to land within the 221,000ha station, and all have dreamings and songlines that overlap and intersect, meaning the court will have to untangle what it can to determine which group can claim to the roughly two square kilometres that would house the facility if it goes ahead.

The case is arguably the biggest of its kind since the Jabiluka mine blockades of the 1990s. Continue reading

June 14, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, legal, Northern Territory | Leave a comment

Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council stopped proposed Wallarah 2 longwall coal mine

judge-1Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council did what the O’Farrell and Baird Governments were averse to doing – it stopped the proposed Wallarah 2 longwall coal mine in its tracks, North Coast Voices, 13 June 14 Early in 2014 the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council took Wyong Coal Pty Ltd (First Respondent), Minister for Planning and Infrastructure (Second Respondent),Planning Assessment Commission NSW (Third Respondent) and  NSW Aboriginal Land Council (Fourth Respondent) to the NSW Land & Environment Court.

The judgment does not appear to have been published yet.

However, The Daily Telegraph reported on 13 June 2014:

THE controversial Wallarah 2 coal mine, which ICAC target Nick Di Girolamo lobbied for on behalf of Korean mining company Kores, has been put on hold and may never go ahead after a Land and Environment Court decision.

The decision was a win for the local Aboriginal Land Council, which had fought the mine on its land.

Planning Minister Pru Goward made clear last night she would not intervene in the matter, releasing a statement saying: “I have considered the judgment and I accept the decision of the court.”….

The proposed Wallarah 2 longwall coal mine put forward by the Korean-owned mining company Kores Australia Pty Ltd and, its joint venture partners Catherine Hill Resources Pty Ltd, Kyungdong Australia Pty Ltd, SK Networks Resources Australia (Wyong) Pty Ltd, SK Networks Resources Pty Ltd and progressed by Wyong Coal Pty Ltd (T/A Wyong Areas Coal Joint Venture), had already failed basic environmental and risk management standards as the 4 June 2014 NSW Planning and Assessment Commission Final Report summary indicates:…..

June 14, 2014 Posted by | aboriginal issues, legal, New South Wales | Leave a comment


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