Melbourne city centre blocked by protests over closure of Indigenous communities – as it happened, Guardian, Helen Davidson @heldavidson 1 May 15 [excellent report and pictures]
Thousands of people joined rallies in towns and cities around Australia and overseas to protest against threatened withdrawal of funding from remote communities Tens of thousands have attended reportedly peaceful rallies across Australia and New Zealand, protesting against the threat of closure of remote communities in Western Australia.
The largest rallies in Melbourne and Sydney began at 4pm, severely disrupting Friday peak hour traffic. The Melbourne rally blocked a major intersection and Flinders st Station. Protesters intend to move to Kings Domain where they will set up a makeshift camp for two nights.
Some protesters in Sydney have moved on to the Redfern Aboriginal tent embassy after thousands walked down Sydney’s George St, delaying some public transport.
Between 500 and 1000 attended a Perth rally, as well as thousands more across Sydney, Canberra, Darwin, Adelaide, Alice Springs, and 1,000 in four New Zealand cities. …..http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2015/may/01/protests-at-proposed-closure-of-remote-indigenous-communities-live
International call not to sell uranium to India http://www.acfonline.org.au/news-media/media-release/international-call-not-sell-uranium-india April 15, 2015
The call comes as Australian nuclear free campaigners join Indigenous landowners affected by uranium projects to present at the World Uranium Symposium in Québec.
The conference takes place against the backdrop of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s trip New Delhi to advance planned uranium sales.
“Canada and Australia should show responsibility restraint and prudence, as India has been criticised widely over the safety, security and transparency of its nuclear industry,” ACF’s Dave Sweeney said. “Australia and Canada should not rush into uranium sales agreements with India while serious concerns about safety and security remain unresolved.”
Australia’s controversial uranium deal with India has been widely criticised, including by former safeguards director John Carlson, who was for two decades head of Australia’s safeguards regime and was a keen nuclear promoter. Mr Carlson has raised concernsthat the new treaty’s administrative arrangements could substantially depart from Australia’s usual safeguards conditions, meaning Australia may be unable to keep track of what happens to uranium supplied to India.
Speaking from Québec ACF’s Dave Sweeney called on the Canadian and Australian governments not to further fuel instability in South Asia by selling uranium into the already volatile region.
“Uranium is not like other minerals. It is the fuel for nuclear weapons and creates carcinogenic waste that lasts for thousands of years,” he said. “Fuelling danger and instability in India is not in the interests of Canada or Australia.”
Canadian company Cameco is behind plans for two controversial uranium mines in Western Australia – Kintyre in the Pilbara and Yeelirrie in the Northern Goldfields, which will be at the forefront of issues raised by the Australian delegation alongside the emerging issues with the South Australian Royal Commission into the nuclear industry.
The Symposium will examine the human and environmental impacts of the industry, with the Australian delegation presenting sessions on the nuclear fuel chain legacy in Australia, Indigenous Rights and the nuclear fuel chain and the intergenerational health impacts of nuclear power and nuclear weapons.
The Symposium will be followed by the 5th International Uranium Film Festival, which will feature the Australian film “Protecting Manuwangku”, documenting the successful struggle of Warlmanpa Traditional Owners to stop a national radioactive dump at Muckaty in the Northern Territory.
Follow the tour via the ANFA website and via twitter on #uranium2015.
The Australian delegation includes:
• Barb Shaw, Australian Nuclear Free Alliance co-chair (Alice Springs)
“Nationally we meet once a year with common issues on common ground, we’re now taking that internationally where people are fighting and struggling with the same things we’re facing back at home. My expectations for the next few days is networking and sharing solutions”
• Peter Watts, Australian Nuclear Free Alliance co-chair (Arabunna Nation)
“What we’re digging up at home has consequences for every corner of the globe. I’m devastated that the uranium dug up from our country has such far reaching consequences globally, not just locally”
• Debbie Carmody, Tjuma Pulka Radio Station Kalgoorlie (Anangu/Spinifex)
“People don’t always connect the mining with the end result, for example, what has happened at Fukushima”
• Dave Sweeney, Australian Conservation Foundation
“People from all around the world are in Canada sharing stories about the dangers and the environmental impacts of all aspects of the nuclear trade. From the land of the maple leaf to the land of the gum leaf, there is no place for the nuclear trade. It is not sustainable and it is not welcome.”
• Gem Romuld, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons
• Marcus Atkinson, Footprints for Peace, Anti-nuclear Alliance of Western Australia
Voters reject Premier Jay Weatherill’s agenda to transform the state, Adelaide Advertiser PAUL STARICK THE ADVERTISER MARCH 13, 2015 A majority of respondents reject plans to switch South Australia’s time zone, downgrade hospital emergency departments, create more “super” schools, expand the nuclear industry and overhaul tax…….
Key findings of the survey, which involved people being interviewed at numerous times and locations across metropolitan Adelaide and regional SA, were:
ALMOST 70 per cent opposed furthering SA’s role in the nuclear industry, including a power station, waste dump or enrichment facility…..
the Royal Commission itself may act in breach of the “Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act” by promoting radioactive waste storage in SA.
Submission on draft Terms of Reference to the SA Royal Commission on our role in nuclear energy
The draft Terms of Reference for the Royal Commission are heavily leaning in favour of new nuclear ventures rather than investigating the issue impartially:
The first paragraph includes supportive phrases like:
“whether there is any potential for the expansion”
”any circumstances necessary for such an increase”
“opportunities created by expanding”
“the measures that might be required to facilitate and regulate that
increase in activity”
This is balanced by just one cautious phrase:
“any risks … created by expanding”
The other paragraphs of the draft ToR’s show a similar imbalance.
I request that the ToR’s be expanded to explicitly include
Public and Workers’ Health
Impacts on Freedom and Democracy
Nuclear versus Alternative energy sources – comparison of cost and risks
The reasons are in short:
It is well known that the nuclear industry involves severe dangers from radiation exposure. Radiation can not be perceived by any of the human senses. The health consequences of exposure to radiation are,
in most cases, experienced much later when no connection to the exposure is drawn.
Furthermore, nuclear ventures are characterised by the potential for severest nuclear accidents and incidents like The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where hundreds of thousands of inhabitants were incinerated in an instant or slowly died from burns, cancers …
The explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl. Scientists using mainly epidemiological data have shown that by 2004 already 1 million people had died from the consequences of the accident. This number is growing.
The meltdown of four Fukushima reactors fuelled by Australian uranium.
The resulting contamination of our oceans, especially the Pacific Ocean, is steadily increasing.
Uranium mining in Australia has a deadly impact on mine workers, nearby residents and, most of all, on future generations.
For decades Australian governments have refused to establish a database for uranium mine workers’ health, and the currently partially established database seems skewed like the draft terms of this Royal
It seems mining companies are now using highly sensitive blood tests to detect cancers and weakened defences against cancers early, and then simply terminate employment.
Much worse than the impact on mine workers will be the impact on future generations using contaminated groundwater and/or being exposed to radioactive dust storms dispersing the fine radioactive materials in tailings dams.
This is compounded by the fact that the hazards of radiation and the proper maintenance of radiation hot spots will be forgotten within a few hundred years. Already today local kids and tourists are swimming in contaminated mining dams.
The Impacts on Freedom and Democracy stem mainly from the strong public opposition to any nuclear industries and the subsequent attempts by governments to quell that opposition.
This happened when the French government developed its vast nuclear industry: Widespread opposition and protests were suffocated by horrendous police brutality permanently damaging French democracy.
In South Australia, police brutality led to the locking up of peaceful protesters in a shipping container at the Beverley uranium mine site – in full sun, for hours without water and toilets. This resulted in a
million dollar court verdict against the South Australian government, i.e. the SA taxpayer.
Those responsible for ignoring the public’s opposition to uranium mining and approving the hazardous mine, for brutally suffocating peaceful protests with methods akin to torture, they were neither jailed nor fined.
Another SA example of destructive impacts of nuclear industries on freedom and democracy is the special status of the Olympic Dam mine: A number of public rights have been suspended for the mine.
For example FoI: The SA government is not allowed to pass on information from the mine without the consent of the mine. This is highly relevant when it comes to the frequent accidents and incidents
at the site. I remember two major fires of very large storage ponds for used process chemicals (kerosene and the like) and numerous pipes resulting in a plum of thick smoke passing over SA. There was very
little or no reliable information available about the radioactive contents of the smoke.
Further, Aboriginal heritage protection and certain environmental regulations have been suspended for the Olympic Dam uranium mine.
And finally, the Royal Commission itself may act in breach of the “Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act” by promoting radioactive waste storage in SA.
Minister approves uranium mine threat to National Park The states peak environment group, the Conservation Council of WA, has condemned the decision by Environment Minister Albert Jacob to approve the Kintyre uranium mine proposal in an excised area from WA’s biggest National Park, Karlamilyi.
Piers Verstegen, Director of the Conservation Council said “The Kintyre uranium proposal directly threatens the unique desert environment of the Karlamilyi National Park, the intricate water network of the Karlamilyi River water catchment and many endangered and threatened species.”
“This decision shows a weakening of standards for environmental protection and is a reminder that uranium and other environmentally significant and dangerous projects must retain Federal oversight under the EPBC Act, something both Governments are trying axe.”
Mia Pepper, Nuclear Free Campaigner of the Conservation Council of WA said “In an attempt to gain public support for uranium this Government is desperately trying to ‘normalise’ uranium. But uranium is not like any other mineral; it is radioactive and poses a significant and long term risk to the environment and public health. It is the asbestos of the 21st century and we cannot afford to treat it like any other mineral.”
“This decision is just one of many still needed before construction could begin at the proposed mine. This is a bad deal but not a done deal and we will continue to explore every avenue possible to challenge this uranium proposal.”
“Cameco the proponent of the Kintyre uranium mine has a shocking operating record overseas we will be watching their every move here and internationally, uniting with other communities that have been negatively impacted by this company.” Ms Pepper concluded.
Community opposition to Yeelirrie uranium mining should influence EPA’s assessment of Cameco’s plans
Conservation council highlights opposition to Yeelirrie uranium mine bid http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-12-10/conservation-council-highlights-opposition-to/5957632
The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) is currently assessing the company’s plans to mine uranium at Yeelirrie, an open pit mine site 70 kilometres south-west of Wiluna.
The EPA approved a similar proposal for the same project submitted by BHP Billiton in 2010, before it was sold to Cameco in 2012.
The council’s Mia Pepper said a public inquiry into the project was needed.
She said traditional owners and locals in the area had opposed uranium mining at Yeelirrie for 40 years.
“Yeelirrie in the traditional language means place of death which is a strong indication about local knowledge and there’s also white communities there that have opposed the project for over 40 years,” she said.
Red Cross research shows 80% of Australians want legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons
Aussies Want Nuclear Weapons Ban – NFP Report http://www.probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2014/12/aussies-want-nuclear-weapons-ban-nfp-report#, December 2, 2014 More than 80 per cent of Australians support a legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons, according to new research on attitudes towards nuclear weapons released by Australian Red Cross.
The survey found an overwhelming majority – 84 per cent – of the 1,001 Australians interviewed in the nation-wide survey feel the world would be a safer place if there were no nuclear weapons.
“A resounding 88 per cent said there would be no winners in a nuclear war given the devastating humanitarian consequences that would result. People over 65 were significantly more likely to feel there would be no winners in a nuclear war,” Australian Red Cross said.
“The message from the Australian community is clear,” Australian Red Cross’ CEO Robert Tickner said.
“It’s time for the international community to create a treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons and ensure they are not passed as an inheritance of horror to future generations.
“Even a limited nuclear war would have immense human, environmental and agricultural destructive consequences transcending national boundaries. This situation would be beyond the power of governments and aid agencies to respond with any meaningful humanitarian assistance.”
Since their first use in Hiroshima in August 1945, Red Cross Red Crescent has voiced deep humanitarian concerns about nuclear weapons.
“While other weapons such as chemical weapons, land mines and cluster munitions have been conclusively dealt with by international treaties, nuclear weapons have not,” the humanitarian NFP said.
“The International Red Cross Red Crescent Movement has been appealing to Governments to prohibit the use of and eliminate nuclear weapons through a legally binding international agreement for some time.
Movement representatives – including Australian Red Cross delegates – will join Governments and non-governmental organisations from around the world on 8 and 9 December when they come together in Vienna to further examine the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons.
Key Survey Findings
· 81 per cent of Australians support a legally binding treaty to ban the use of nuclear weapons.
· 84 per cent feel the world would be a safer place if there were no nuclear weapons.
· 88 per cent said there would be no winners in a nuclear war given the devastating humanitarian consequences.
· 43 per cent rate the risk of an accidental explosion or intentional use of a nuclear weapon as high or medium.
Meeting Statement – 2014
Against a background of strong community protest to the continuing government and industry push for an expanded nuclear sector in Australia, the Australian Nuclear Free Alliance (ANFA) held its 17th annual gathering of Aboriginal, environmental and public health representatives who share common concerns over the adverse impacts of the nuclear industry and a common aspiration for a future free of nuclear threats.
The 2014 ANFA meeting was held on Arrernte country in Alice Springs with representatives from the following nations, communities and organisations: Arabunna, Arrernte, Koara, Kokatha Mula, Larrakia, Luritja, Ngaanyatjarra, Tjiwarl, TI Meriam, Warlpiri, Waramungu, Warlmanpa, Wiradjuri, Wongutha, Yankunytjatjara.
Anti-Nuclear Alliance of WA, Arid Lands Environment Centre, Australian Conservation Foundation, Beyond Nuclear Initiative, Conservation Council WA, Environment Centre NT, Freedom Flotilla, Friends of the Earth (Brisbane and Melbourne), Indonesian Greens, International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, Keep Queensland Nuclear Free, Medical Association for the Prevention of War, Nuclear Operations Watch Port Adelaide, Public Health Association Australia (NT Branch), Uranium Free NSW, West Papua.
The ANFA meeting celebrated and acknowledged the seven-year campaign against a planned radioactive waste dump at Muckaty – an important human and environmental rights victory. Many people from Tennant Creek expressed thanks to ANFA for the strong support and solidarity over the years.
Community representatives shared concerns and experiences about the divisive impacts of the federal government’s approach to waste management. Continuing to pursue only remote dumping options further exploits disadvantaged communities. The meeting endorsed a national statement calling for an independent National Commission into responsible radioactive waste management based on science and evidence instead of a continuation of the flawed and failed process of targeting remote communities.
Australian uranium fuelled the Fukushima disaster but there is ongoing pressure for new uranium mines in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, South Australia, Queensland and exploration threats in New South Wales. ANFA condemned the federal and state governments as out of step with the broad opposition to uranium mining across many communities and organisations. The meeting discussed specific action plans to target uranium mining projects across Australia.
The meeting heard of the failures of rehabilitation of uranium mines and called for the national adoption and enforcement of the standard applied at the Ranger mine in Kakadu that requires radioactive mine tailings to be isolated from the environment for no less than ten thousand years.
The meeting heard personal stories and long history of disease and impacts from the nuclear industry, including intergenerational sickness and mental health issues. Base-line studies from the past were not done but should be demanded for any proposed new projects for animals, plants, bush foods and people. There is a need to do healing: the pain and hurt caused by nuclear impacts will always be there but we should support each other through healing and engage our community medical services in collecting data and tracking impacts.
The meeting heard about scientific studies that have demonstrated increases in cancer incidence among Australians exposed to radiation and we are seeing this in our communities. The consensus scientific view is that even the lowest doses of radiation can cause cancer and children and women are at greater risk. The impacts from radiation exposure are seen in our families’ health. In Australia uranium deposits have been known as poison or sickness country by Aboriginal people with strong cultural knowledge about the dangers – this traditional knowledge is still being ignored.
The meeting heard that around 40,000 rounds of depleted uranium weapons have been deployed in Australian military training exercises. This raises serious concerns about where they were used and any subsequent health impacts from these weapons. We recognise the intergenerational health impacts from nuclear weapons testing as well as the documented use and impacts of depleted uranium weapons. The meeting called for all uranium weapons and nuclear weapons to be banned.
The mining and refining of Rare Earth Elements (REE’s) was discussed. There is a need for roundtable discussion of stakeholders in the nuclear free, climate and renewable energy sectors to discuss the role of REE’s in renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar given that mining these elements involves the generation of radioactive uranium and thorium waste.
There was strong concern about the function of Aboriginal Land Councils in different states and territories. The meeting called for greater openess to ensure such bodies represent the wishes of Aboriginal people in their region. There were deep concerns expressed that full consultation does not always happen and ANFA representatives will be seeking to address these issues within their particular Land Councils.
ANFA representatives in each states and territory committed to building the ANFA network and sourcing funds to produce and distribute resources needed for grassroots community education on nuclear issues.
In the shadow of Fukushima there can be no nuclear business as usual and meeting representatives reaffirmed their commitment to actively advance a nuclear free Australia through involvement in ANFA, their communities and organisations.
Yawuru People – Making a stand against fracking reaching thousands of people as they make their way to the races in Broome today. Damian Kelly 13 Aug 14 http://handsoffcountry.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/normal-0-false-false-false-en-us-ja-x.html
The Mining Company Buru – lead this risky environmental venture which could be just another failed attempt by a Company to run roughshod over communities in NW Australia. Woodside’s withdrawal from James Price Point in 2013 and more recently French nuclear power giant Areva has abandoned a Kimberley uranium project. With Buru’s falling share price, No Social Licence, delays and low cash flow the writing seems to be on the wall. Buru are also refusing to release information to the community regarding the chemicals they plan to use.
In short – Fracking is the process of drilling then injecting fluid, much of it toxic, into the ground at high pressure, to fracture gas-bearing rocks to release natural gas.
During this process, methane gas and toxic chemicals can leak from wells and contaminate nearby groundwater. Broome draws its drinking water from the ground. Buru Energy have plans to frack the Kimberley. The US, there have been more than 1000 documented cases of water contamination near areas of gas drilling. Some of the countries that have banned fracking are France, Bulgaria and Northern Ireland. The Australian state of Victoria currently has a moratorium on fracking.
Here in WA the state Government fully supports fracking.
Do the Martu peoples want uranium mining? Fukushima Emergency what can we do? 31 July 14 Western desert-living Martu Elder, Thelma Rawlins said that many of her people remain opposed to the “go-aheads” given to uranium mining on Martu Country.
“Kintyre should be left alone, our Country left alone.”
“This is really bad stuff in the ground, and it will be really bad stuff if it comes above the ground. We are getting too close to bad stuff happening,” said Ms Rawlins.
“Country will be made bad, our water made bad. Our water is salty, the river bed is salty. We have to be careful with our water. The uranium out of ground will take our water away.”
“Leave the uranium in the ground. It is bad stuff that they want our people to be next to, this is not good.”
But Western Australia’s controversial Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has given the thumbs up for the CAMECO company proposal to mine uranium on Martu Country, at Kintyre which is next to the significant waterways of Kalmilyi National Park in the Pilbara. The EPA has been the subject of one controversy after another and most recently with the now defunct James Price Gas Hub proposal in the Kimberley where it had also have given the thumbs up despite widespread public opposition.
Two prospective uranium mine sites in Western Australia are nearing the likelihood of becoming operational in the next couple of years, both near Aboriginal communities – the other uranium site is near Wiluna and Toro Energy may have it operational by the end of next year. By the end of the century Western Australia will be transformed into one of the world’s largest uranium miners according to insiders in the industry. Western Australia is rich in easily accessible high grade uranium. The miners are chomping at the bit, investing in uranium mining research divisions within their multinational companies. It is no secret that the State and Federal Governments are supportive of mining uranium despite the litany of well-known risks……
“We are the Custodians of the Land. It must come before all else,” said Mr Cooke.
“Uranium is a poison. Our rivers will be poisoned. Our trees will be poisoned. Our food will be contaminated. Our people will become sick.”
“Uranium mining can hurt us forever, hurt every generation of our children to come.” http://fukushimaemergencywhatcanwedo.blogspot.com.au/2014/07/do-martu-peoples-want-uranium-mining.html
Elders lead dump demo http://www.ntnews.com.au/news/northern-territory/elders-lead-dump-demo/story-fnk0b1zt-1226932228540 BY MONIKA O’HANLON NT NEWS MAY 26, 2014 THE main street of a Territory town was flooded with more than 250 people protesting the proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station yesterday. Tennant Creek was overrun by a sea of yellow signs reading “Don’t radioactive waste the Territory” as kids led the march, holding up homemade banners and chanting “land rights not dump sites”.
Seven years ago the Northern Land Council nominated Muckaty Station as a potential site for a nuclear waste storage facility, including waste from nuclear medicine and operations of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in Sydney.
The site is part of a land trust shared by five interrelated indigenous groups – Milway, Ngapa, Ngarrka, Wirntiku and Yapayapa. Most traditional owners oppose the plan but some said “yes” to the proposed storage facility.
Bunny Nabarula – a senior traditional elder and part of the Milway group – is among those who have spent years fighting to preserve Muckaty.
“I was eight years of age when my grandfather first showed me country, but I never forget,” Ms Nabarula said.
“We don’t want the waste here. NLC picked out the wrong people. Us mob fight for this land.”
Dianne Stokes has worked tirelessly over the years to protect the Muckaty site, and on Saturday was named an ambassador at the Tennant Creek and Barkly Region Golden Hearts Awards.
“We won’t be stopping – we will continue to talk about it,” Ms Stokes said. “It’s time to put my foot down and protect the elders’ words. They’ve passed away and now they left it to us to protect our country.”
Wirntiku woman Penelope Phillips said she was concerned what would happen if the land wasn’t protected for the next generations. “We want to send a clear message out to the politicians and the people who said yes to it,” she said. “Tell them that we are still strong and we don’t want a nuclear waste dump in our country. Come back and meet the people. See what it looks like. “The politicians don’t talk to us. They don’t reply.”
The protest comes a week before a Federal Court hearing challenging the proposal for the dump on Muckaty begins in Melbourne. The hearing will continue in Tennant Creek before finishing in Darwin on July 4.
Adelaide is under attack from nuclear advocacy fraudsters who tell lies to promote their evil nuclear fantasies.
Our universities and our politicians have been “influenced” by junk science that falsely claims that nuclear power is “safe”.
Our universities and our politicians have been “influenced” by junk economics that falsely claims that nuclear power is “cheap”.
Our newspapers falsely claim that we want nuclear power in South Australia – this page is a place where you can register your protest at this false claim, where you can say “No Nukes In South Australia”.
Dennis Matthews, 4 March 14 Business SA has clearly not been paying attention (The Advertiser,4/3/14). We have had debates on all manner of nuclear issues off and on for decades including uranium processing and enrichment, nuclear power and importing nuclear waste.
The resounding response has always been NO.
Or is it possible that Business SA is not happy with the answer and think that by badgering the public every election year that they will finally get their way?
As shown by recent debates on nuclear power and nuclear waste disposal the general public is well and truly a wakeup to the likes of Business SA. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.