Australian news, and some related international items

Kimba town hopes to win top environmental award – but wants nuclear waste dump !!

where do we want to see Kimba in 300 years?  We’ll be a national centre for rubbish.

The community is a finalist for the Australian title of KESAB’s Sustainable Communities top town…..the award   honours the community that does the most to protect the environment  [!!!]

As choice of nuclear waste facility starts narrowing, people of Kimba are either excited or disgusted,  Erin Jones, Sunday Mail (SA) January 6, 2018 IF there are two words that can split an already isolated South Australian town and destroy lifelong friendships, they are “nuclear waste”.

Kimba, on the northern edge of the Eyre Peninsula’s vast grain-growing belt, is home to two of the three proposed sites where the nation’s radioactive waste might be stored.

Most city slickers probably only know about the town because of its giant silo artwork or the ageing giant galah structure. But it is where farming is the lifeblood of the community and where the proposal to use agricultural land as a nuclear site weighs heavily on some residents in the town of 650.

“We were a really tight-knit community but now we’re just a town,” says farmer Amy Koch. “We’re not even a community anymore.”

Everything changed two years ago when the owners of two farms nominated to be the site for a nuclear waste repository. The move has had a polarising effect. Long-time friendships have broken down, businesses have been boycotted and people deliberately avoid each other in the street and at events.

Mrs Koch’s friend, Rachel Yates, also a farmer, says the division between residents is palpable.

“When you go into town, you make sure you know a friend is going to be there and you have someone to talk to,” Mrs Yates says. “I’ve never seen anything like this that has divided the whole town.” The women are part of No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA — a group started in response to the two farming families offering their land.

If approved, the successful farm will hold low-level waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear facility, in NSW, and Australia’s intermediate-level waste such as that from industrial, medical and research applications. (Ed. note: no mention of the high level nuclear waste from the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, which will also come)

Many see the facility as a way forward, helping to boost the local economy and creating jobs.

Others say there will be little economic benefit and the town’s reputation will be tarnished.

Third-generation farmer Jeff Baldock defends his decision to offer 100ha of his Napandee property, 25km northwest of Kimba, despite some resistance.“When this process first started I felt physically ill going to Kimba and my family would feel really uncomfortable going to functions,” he says.“Twelve months ago I asked if it’s worth it but one of our neighbours said ‘If you believe in it you just have to keep going’. “Now we feel more than happy to go to town.

“Ninety per cent of people are still chatting away merrily to whoever but there is a group that has decided that they don’t want to be a part of that.

“I still say ‘G’day’ to everybody — if they choose not to say it back, that’s up to them.”

Mr Baldock and his wife, Jenny, nominated another of their properties last year but it was ruled out by the Federal Government following the assessment process and opposition.

As a result, they nominated their Napandee property, where they live with their children and five grandchildren. If successful, they will be paid four times the value of the land — believed to be about $400,000 — and Mr Baldock says they aim to crop the site’s 60ha buffer zone to put money back into the community through the local Agricultural Bureau and Lions Club.

But Mr Baldock believes the real benefit of the repository will be for the town’s residents in safeguarding them financially in the event of drought.

About 50 per cent of residents are employed in agriculture, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. “This is an industry that doesn’t rely on agriculture, that’s the big thing,” Mr Baldock says.

“Seven of the last 10 years have been good but it won’t keep going that way and it might be a bit ugly if we have two or three droughts.

“We see this as drought-proofing the community.”

An Electoral Commission ballot of Kimba residents found 57 per cent of the 698 respondents — there are 1100 residents in the council area — agreed the sites should progress to the next round of consultation.

The process included a 90-day consultation period and the Government said there was widespread support from direct neighbours of the nominated properties, with all but one supporting proceeding to the next phase.

The Kimba properties have now joined Wallerberdina Station, near Hawker, to advance to stage two of consultation but the Flinders Ranges site is facing strong opposition from the Adnyamathanha people — the traditional owners — for cultural reasons.

Both communities now have access to $2 million worth of grants — from the Government’s community benefit fund for local projects to create economic or social benefits — in recognition of any disruption during the assessment process.

A $10 million fund for community development projects has been promised to the area of the final chosen site — expected to be announced in the second half of this year — which critics fear is a sweetener to encourage the waste facility’s approval.

Michelle Rayner believes the nuclear debate has already had positive benefits in town, including accommodation being filled with government workers and the media visiting on a regular basis.

Mrs Rayner, who owns Eileen’s cafe just off the main street, and her husband, Brett, proposed their Lyndhurst farming property as the other potential site to become the repository. That decision resulted in them being castigated by former acquaintances. but Mrs Rayner said the town needed something to boost its economic prospects.

“My husband wasn’t interested in it all initially but then he came to a community meeting and was blown away by the opportunities for the town,” she says.

“To become a government town, you’re guaranteed to have a decent hospital, better infrastructure and better internet communications.”

The Federal Government says wherever the facility is located, it will bring a minimum of 15 jobs in
administration, waste management and security.

As well, a facility of this scale would likely have additional investment in infrastructure such as roads and telecommunications.

Mayor Dean Johnson does not skirt around the issues and the importance of finding new ways to bring more people to the town, which currently has dozens of empty houses. “The truth is our population is on a slow decline and if we can’t turn that around our sustainability will be questioned,” he says.

“While we have the agriculture roots — and it will always be the main industry in Kimba  [Ed note: Not when then market learns about the radioactive trash dump nearby]— any opportunity to diversify the economy and bring more jobs into the town should be investigated.

“That’s not saying this definitely is the thing but we believe we have to investigate it fully and the community has supported that view.”

The stage two consultation process was announced in June and, last month, 16 community members were appointed to a local consultative committee by the Federal Government.

In total, 51 people applied and explained why they wanted to be part of the committee to act as a link to
the government, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science and residents.

The committee is to provide advice on jobs and business opportunities, relay information on the project’s technical aspects and review nominations for the $2 million community benefit fund.

TEACHER Meagan Lienert — one of the committee members — supports the waste facility because of the benefits she believes it will bring, especially to the school’s 174 students.

She says medical and nuclear experts had run science lessons at the school and there was talk of access to scholarships at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, at Lucas Heights.

But she understands some people fear nuclear waste because they believe it will affect farming land.

“From my research, I can see the facility is safe and I know it won’t have any affect on the things around it but the fear some people have is real,” Mrs Lienert says.

“I don’t take that away from anyone but I hope to be able to help people gain a bit of understanding and perhaps relieve some of that fear through the consultative committee.”

No Radioactive Waste on Agricultural Land in Kimba or SA secretary Toni Scott is also on the consultative committee and raises concerns about whether the process will be fair.

Mrs Scott says there is a struggle to get information from the Government on why federal land is not used and how many jobs the waste facility will create, saying the number has fluctuated from 15 to 30.

“How do we trust the Government building this facility when we can’t even trust the process?” Mrs Scott says.

“We’re trying to get in writing that if there’s another vote what percentage the Minister needs for this to go ahead. The department head said he would need more than 65 per cent to build the facility but it has never reached 60 per cent.”

FOR two years, Mrs Scott has represented the group’s 204 financial members to oppose the facility, including making representations at Parliament House in Adelaide and Canberra.

“The key concerns we have are for our farming and our produce; we live in a big country and only 4 per cent is arable farming land — and we sit within that,” she says. “We think we don’t need to risk productive land when there is so much non-arable land. They should try a bit harder to find a suitable site because people aren’t very happy here and it feels like two years of a government process has been forced upon you.”

Kimba farmer and former federal Liberal MP Barry Wakelin is a member of the anti-nuclear group and believes the Government is struggling to find a suitable site — an issue plaguing successive governments since 1992.

“This is their third go after Woomera, Mataranka, and now we have the Kimba/Hawker situation,” Mr Wakelin says.

“The Federal Government has so many other options; it’s absurd to have a community divided on this issue.

“The other thing that weighs heavily on people’s minds is where do we want to see Kimba in 300 years?
We’ll be a national centre for rubbish.” Federal Minister for Resources Matt Canavan told the Sunday Mail 
no final decision on the site had been made. He says the Kimba community will get another vote on whether they support a facility — but says there is no “arbitrary figure” which will determine whether it will go ahead.

“The people of Kimba will have a chance to have their say again through another vote after this more comprehensive consultation period concludes,” he says. “There is no arbitrary figure for each step but I have always said there must be broad community support.” Mr Canavan says the process has been rigorous and transparent and a decision would not be made without consultation.


KIMBA locals are forever trying to attract more visitors to their town — and now their efforts are gaining national attention.

The community is a finalist for the Australian title of KESAB’s Sustainable Communities top town — previously the Tidy Towns competition — after being named state winner in November.

The award — to be announced in April — honours the community that does the most to protect the environment, enhance their town and embrace sustainability.

Kimba Community Development Group chairwoman Heather Baldock says their entry included the Igniting Kimba arts project, which included stunning artwork on the town’s grain silos — a refreshing foil to the better-known but now tired-looking Big Galah.

“In a community where sport has always been important, art adds a whole other element to our community and it’s excited the locals even more than we expected,” she says.

“The media interest from across Australia regarding our silo art has been amazing and I think it’s something the whole community is quite proud of.

“We saw a 35 per cent increase in traffic when it was finished (in September) which was over 600 vehicles, so we’re pretty pleased with that.

“Anything that can make people stop for an extra night or two will help us economically because we have businesses that are struggling.”

The award also recognises the town’s grey nomad program, encouraging travelling retirees to work alongside local volunteers, pass on skills and, in return, stay for free…..http://www.adelaide a/as-choice-of-nuclear-waste-f acility-starts-narrowing-peopl e-of-kimba-are-either-excited- or-disgusted/news-story/ 8460ea159b77d47d915dc0abfc362b 37

January 8, 2018 - Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia

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