Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Deep divisions caused in rural community of Kimba, over Federal govt’s radioactive trash dump plan

Community torn over Kimba nuclear plan, Eureka Street Michele Madigan |  28 August 2017 The Unlucky Australians, the documentary of the Gurindjis’ campaign for their land, aired on the ABC late on Sunday night 20 August 2017. The Gurindjis’ successful struggle against the combined might of the Vestey empire and the Australian federal government is one of the greatest Australian stories……

What struck me most was their complete solidarity. Despite the government’s intense pressure — the withdrawal of the blind man’s pension, the promise of solid brick houses built in sight of their tin and bush humpies, or any other threat and enticement — every Gurindji stood firm.

Half a century after the Gurindji Walkoff and half a continent away, on Saturday 19 August at a gathering in Port Adelaide, two modern beleaguered groups, one Aboriginal, one non-Aboriginal, shared their current experiences in striving to protect their own lands and ways of life. Like the Gurindji, their struggle is with the federal government and this time, indirectly, with another big business — the nuclear industry. In contrast to the Gurindji struggle however, modern day communities and even families are being torn apart by enticements and pressures.

Two months ago, South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill conceded that there is ‘no bipartisan government support’ and ‘not sufficient community support’ to continue with the extraordinary scheme that a SA government sponsored nuclear royal commission had recommended. The Premier gave a commitment that a State Labor government, if re-elected, would now not pursue a high-level international nuclear waste dump.

The federal government however continues its pursuit in SA — the disposable state — of a federal dump for the intermediate long-term nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor and for medical waste. Now, once again, three sites are being offered up: two in Kimba, at the top of Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, as well as the ongoing Flinders Ranges site.

At the 19 August meeting, Kimba farmers spoke of the offers of a paltry $10 million and a tiny 15 (or fewer) permanent jobs as the payoff for the deep divisions and the certain risk to their markets a federal dumpsite would bring. Farmer Toni Scott, overcome by describing a formerly close-knit community now torn apart, broke down in tears. The close voting statistics for and against the site belie the former Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan’s assertion that Kimba is clearly in favour.

Farmer Tom Harris’s neighbour is one of two Kimba farmers who have offered possible dumpsites. However the site is closer to Tom’s family homestead than it is to the neighbour’s. It was sobering to hear his facts. Kimba region farmers ‘are recognised as some of the best dry farmers in the world’ but the competition between grain farmers for international markets is so intense that the warning from the professionals is clear: proximity to a nuclear waste dump will have predictably disastrous negative effects. And the irony — ‘It’s the farmers who’ve kept the town going.’

Meanwhile, the Adnymathanha and other Flinders Ranges station and townspeople continue their efforts to protect SA’s iconic Flinders Ranges from the same fate. During the 31 months it has been a preferred site, their trauma has deepened as they have seen other locals acquiesce. Sadly, with the government’s ‘no-strings-attached’ $2 million for community projects, the tearing apart of families has intensified.

The Gurindji had Frank Hardy and Australian unions supporting them during their terrible privations. Many Kimba farmers and townspeople, and the Adnyamathanha, together with some of the townspeople and most of the Flinders Ranges landholders, are grateful for their own southern (or eastern) supporters. They plead for more: ‘Please help us to be heard!’ https://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=52964#.WaXSuvMjHGh

 

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August 29, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia

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