Jeff Baldock could make $$$s from #nuclear waste dump, but poses as community benefactor
“It would basically guarantee Kimba’s future, it’s a 300-year program the federal government will be here for,” Mr Baldock said.
“If we don’t do something, I’m worried the school won’t be going to Year 12 by the time my grandchildren get there, and the hospital might be closed by the time we need it. We’ve only just secured a doctor; we don’t want to lose any more services.”
The federal government earmarked a cattle station at Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges as its preferred site last April, but Bruce Wilson, the head of the Industry Department’s resources division, said other sites would be considered until a final decision, which could be made late this year. Construction of the facility is likely to be completed in the early 2020s.
A second Kimba farmer also put his property forward last week, and both submitted formal applications ahead of a French delegation visiting Kimba and Barndioota from Wednesday.
Among the delegation will be two mayors whose towns are near the Aube Disposal Facility in Champagne, the facility’s director and a representative of the French national radioactive waste agency. They will discuss safety concerns with residents, who have not previously supported the proposal.
“The facility we are proposing is for Australian low- and intermediate-level waste only, [REALLY?] and we will answer as many questions from as many perspectives as we can at these sessions,” Mr Wilson said.
Mr Baldock, whose family farms three properties, suggested a different site last year but neighbours were opposed. This time, all the adjacent property owners are supportive.
Mr Baldock said selecting a Kimba property would mean the federal government injected at least $10 million into the community and created 30 fulltime jobs. His own payment would be equivalent to a year’s worth of fertiliser costs, with the community benefiting more than his family.
Local funding could be used to boost services for the community’s ageing population, fix the pool which has been closed this year because of disrepair, and create jobs, agricultural research projects and economic opportunities.
Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson said there had been some opposition to hosting a dump last year, but an information campaign on the low risk involved was turning the tide. His council would also ask the Australian Electoral Commission to run a referendum for the 700 voters after a 60-day community consultation period ended.
“Certainly there is a group that is solidly opposed and that hasn’t changed, but the important thing to remember is this is a chance to get more information about the benefits to the community,” Mr Johnson said.
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