Australian news, and some related international items

#NuclearCommissionSAust – An Aboriginal group slams its processes

monetary compensation via Native Title is not the solution – don’t insult us by simply hying to buy our consent and silence our concerns


Extract  Why we are not satisfied with the way this Royal Commission  has been conducted:  Yaiinidlha Udnyu ngawarla wanggaanggu, wanhanga Yura Ngawarla wanggaanggu?
always in English, where’s the Yura Ngawarla (our first language)?
The issues of engagement are many. To date we have found the process of engagement used by
the Royal Conuuission to be very off putting as it’s been run in a real Udnyu (whitefella) way.

The lack of an intelpreter service means we are forced to try  and engage using English (or rely on the goodwill of caring community members), and often this means we cannot be part of the engagement process. Even a Plain English summary of the four papers would have been helpful, and more opportunity for people to give oral submissions in their first language with a translator to interpret. We say that govemment and industry have a moral and ethical obligation to include us as citizens of Australia, and as Traditional Owners of our Country. We suspect that many other Australians would have benefited from a Plain English version of the papers and this was suggested by many people who went to the first lot of community meetings held by Kevin Scarce and his team. Not everyone has good English literacy.

Requiring a JP’s signature is a barrier to participation and suggests that ordinary people cannot
be trusted; not everyone has easy access to a JP, and the timeline puts pressure on people to do
this. We feel this is likely to intimidate people and discourage many from participating.We strongly recommend that the Royal Commission do more work on the following issues:

  • Provide the public with better understanding of the health, cultural, and social impacts in other
    countries of an expanding nuclear industry (including public anxiety, contaminated areas, effects 0n public health);
  • Provide adequate resources to enable all Australians to be part of an informed process – put
    people before profit;
  • The lack of advertising, and very short notice on several occasions suggests that government and
    industry and not serious about wanting to engage with public opinion and don’t value our input.
  • Many people think this suggests the proposal is ‘a done deal’ and that it will go ahead anyway.
  • Timelines are short, information is hard to access, there is no interpreter service available, and
    the meetings have been very poorly advertised.
  • Engagement opportunities need to be fair and equitable (readily available to all people) and the Native Title interest is no more important than the wider community.
  • A closed and secretive approach makes engagement difficult for the average person on the street, and near impossible for Aboriginal people to participate.
  • Government continue to use an assimilatory process; they ignore us by refusing to translate
    information into our first language, and they make no effort to understand our views in our
    languages as the First Australians. The lack of a well-thought out engagement strategy tells us that our views are not important, that government and industry will do what they want regardless of public wishes.
  • Develop a compensation package for the likely economic impacts from the negative associations of nuclear industry on local and regional economy – ego Loss of prices in crops, housing, land, as a result of contamination threats, accidents and breaches of EPA regulations;
  • Develop actual measures to counter threats from terrorist organisations re: protection to avoid nuclear site attacks, and local capacity to deal with emergency situations;
  • Tell the public what risk management plans need to be developed for communities impacted by transportation along the travel routes – for example, who will respond to a truck accident and are they equipped to deal with it; Informed awareness among communities that live along the designated travel routes so they can make decisions about their future.
  • The nuclear industry must find ways to show respect for the rights of Traditional Owners who are concerned about or opposed to the nuclear industry – monetary compensation via Native Title is not the solution – don’t insult us by simply hying to buy our consent and silence our concerns;
  • water-radiationProvide means for ongoing and independent monitoring of dangerous levels of airbome and water-based contaminants in groundwater, along transportation routes, after accidents, and among food sources used by Aboriginal people ego Nguri, urdlu and warratyi varlu, awi. We have a right to measure and monitor levels of radiation like other people do in countries such as the USA. We know from the Kakadu mine in NT that there is a major problem there with water management that is yet to be resolved.

October 4, 2015 - Posted by | Submissions to Royal Commission S.A.

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