Australian news, and some related international items

Adelaide University questions the Nuclear Royal Commission’s attitude to Aborigines

submission goodhandsoffComments on the Nuclear Fuel Cycle Royal Commission Tentative Findings of 15 February 2016 – University of Adelaide , Consent and the Siting of a Nuclear Waste Storage Facility By Mr John Podgorelec*, Dr Alex Wawryk and Dr Peter Burdon†

“……Given many Indigenous communites have already expressed opposition to a storage facility, potential conflict lies ahead. While the finding that free, prior and informed consent must be obtained is welcome, the question remains as to whether this will be followed by the existing, or future, governments. Although intended to guide government, the Tentative Findings arguably provide no strong assurance to communities. For example, they fall well short of making a finding that specific legislation be passed, or the Native Title Act be amended, to provide a right of veto over nuclear activities, including the storage of toxic wastes. ….

In the Commission’s own words, the siting process must be transparent (and by inference fair). Crucial then to the Commission’s final report is to make an unambiguous statement as to where Indigenous communities stand in the event that the only suitable land to site a nuclear waste facility falls within an Indigenous community and consent is withheld. How will the Commission recommend such a deadlock be broken? Is it by mothballing the project until actual consent is granted, or will it recommend the government force the matter to the courts? If it is the latter, then regardless of the government’s best intentions by applying the international standard of FPIC, the Commission’s first sentence in respect of consent should read “community consent must be obtained – unless it is an Indigenous community”….

May 7, 2016 - Posted by | significant submissions to 6 May

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