Australian news, and some related international items

Katrina Bohr: Submission to Senate- community views, indigenous support – and what about climate extremes?

Above – ferociousness of historical flooding near the rail lines in the proposed Barndioota area for the site. 
Katrina Bohr – Submission to SENATE INQUIRY into the site selection process for the National Radioactive Waste Management Facility , (NRWMF) Barndioota.
My name is Katrina Bohr. I have been a resident of South Australia for 32 years, having lived in regional South Australia for the last 22 years. Nuclear waste and the historical outcomes of radioactive damage has been an ongoing concern of mine for almost 50 years.

In the initial stages of the announcement for site selection at Barndioota, when Josh Frydenberg was Minister for Resources and Energy, a statement was issued from the Government.

‘The Australian Government will also take into account the views of others (outside community zones) as part of the commitment to broad consultation.’

The proposal for low and intermediate waste to be stored in South Australia affects not only myself, but also future generations. Unlike some respondents, I do not live in the Hawker region. Therefore, my views are not driven by benefits, but rather genuine concerns for peoples’ health, our environment, and our local Indigenous communities.

 B) How the need for ‘broad community support’ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including:

i)                    The definition of ‘broad community support’
I believe the definition of ‘broad community support’ is defined as support given by the majority. Broad support should be determined when the consultation process has been conducted thoroughly and with all persons of interest. The consultation process should offer full disclosure for the proposed site selection process.

ii)                  How ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage
Determining Broad Community support at this stage has involved a number of methods.

              Surveys, Public Meetings, face to face meetings, a continual presence of Australian Nuclear and Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) employees, members of  the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Science Agency (APRANSA) and a Heritage Assessment process.

              Rowan Ramsey’s June/July 2016 Grey Newsletter states that all all the feedback, including district surveys were considered by the  Minister to evaluate whether there was a realistic chance of ‘developing’ broad support. The word ‘developing’ almost implies an action to develop rather than consult.

             My understanding of on-going broad community support is for updated and collated material to be honest and transparent, and that all perspectives be disclosed. 

 C) How any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including how Indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advantage stage;

There are local indigenous people who believe that they should have been consulted from the outset. This is due to Yappala Station (next door to the proposed site) having already been classed as a protected area. Yappala Station is heritage listed as an Indigenous protected area due to its cultural and environmental significance.

A South Australian Department of State Development spokesperson confirmed that there are three Aboriginal sites that fall within the Barndioota-nominated area. Two of the sites are cultural and the third is archaeological (NITV Posted 2016).

The local indigenous people needed to be involved in all aspects of the site selection process. From heritage assessment to cultural importance. Dreamtime stories and Songlines.

Traditional land owner and Elder Eunice Marsh speaks of their love for the land as love for family. Hookina Springs and the surrounding area is significant to the Adnyamathanha women.

When the Adnyamthanha Traditional Lands Association met at the end of March 2018, the vote for the NRWMF was overwhelmingly against.

  E) Whether wider (Eyre-Peninsula or State-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring;

I believe that wider community views should be considered as the nuclear waste, and in particular, the intermediate waste from Lucas Heights in NSW will be transported through a number of corridors. Therefore, wider community consultation should be considered. 

Matt Canavan makes reference to a ‘wide’ consultation process to determine whether the site is suitable’-Transcontinental newspaper 22/11/2016.

As far as I am aware, there has been no wider community consultation to date. Wider community consultation could be conducted through relevant forums, surveys and information mail outs.

 F) Any other related matters

 In the fairness of disclosure, I have referred to the Australian Government Department of Business

                           Initial Business Case (revised) 2014 Page 29

                          ‘The Capital cost estimates for the project options are based on delivery

                           of given designs at a site in Central Australia’

The Business Case also refers to a Timeline where ANSTO is due to run out of space for low and intermediate storage. This is by 2018.

When in Parliament, Grant Chapman chaired the select committee that recommended the country’s low level nuclear waste be stored in a single facility-The Guardian 29/4/16.

Grant Chapman is part owner of the proposed site at Barndioota, and has made it quite public that he believed his land would be an ideal site for a NRWMF.

He served on three committees including Uranium mining and milling to Radioactive Waste from March 1995 to May 1997. The other from August 2000 to May 2001. Acting as Chair in the first two committees, where in !996 a decision was made to pursue a NRWMF.        There is evidence that there may have been a determination over the years by the Australian Government to establish the site at Barndioota.

Images: I am sending three images displaying the ferociousness of historical flooding near the rail lines in the proposed area for the site.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

Holly Whittenbury on Nuclear dump siting- Aboriginal issues, tourism impact, conflict of interest issues

Senate Inquiry Submission into the Nuclear Waste Site Selection Process Holly Whittenbury

My name is Holly Whittenbury and I come from the southern Flinders Ranges. I have grown up there, spending the first 18 years of my life in Peterborough, not too far from Hawker, one of the selected dump sites. I presently study Environmental Science and plan to return to the area to assist in conservation efforts of the southern Flinders Ranges. I foresee myself being apart of the Flinders Ranges for my entire life ahead; although I do not live within the area presently, the issues within the ranges concern me wherever I am. I disagree with key aspects of the selection process for the nuclear waste dump site for the following reasons

  •   how the need for „broad community support‟ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including: i) the definition of „broad community support‟ ii) how „broad community support‟ has been or will be determined for each
  • whether wider (Eyre Peninsular or state-wide) community views should be taken into consideration and, if so, how this is occurring or should be occurring;

Contrary to other pro-nuclear waste dump submissions, broad community support should include not just the residents within the Hawker township, but the wider surrounding area of Hawker, the state and the country.

The nearby Adnyamathanha Indigenous groups value the entire site proposed for the nuclear waste dump. Unlike Hawker residents, their spiritual home is not separated by nearly 40 kilometres. They are present in spirit and also physically through land rights beside and within the dump site location. The story-line of the Adnyamathanha people stretches 70 kilometres across the state along the ranges, their sacred birthing and healing site, Hookina Springs, lies within Grant Chapman‟s property of which they have rightful access to.

Whilst Hawker residents are separated, both physically and mentally from the proposed nuclear waste dump site, with Chapman himself declaring it is virtually wasteland, the whole area, but especially this site, is as sacred to the Adnyamathanha people as Mecca is to Muslims. To ignore or prioritise one community opinion over another is to degrade one community in favour of another. To degrade the local indigenous peoples views (who are closer in proximity to the site) in favour of the Hawker residents is to prioritise predominantly European society living in the township in European lifestyles with European law and worldviews. To claim that Indigenous consent has been gained despite the overt disagreement from the Adnyamathanha people over the waste dump site and their driving of protests which blocked the streets of Adelaide on North Terrace, is wilful ignorance in favour of nuclear fuel cycle industry and residents of non-Indigenous background. Here is a quote from Indigenous leader and outspoken critic of the waste dump, Enice Marsh, to demonstrate the obviously lack of consent and lack of consultation with the indigenous people:

“If we’re going to have that poison stuff here, even if it’s a low-level situation, it’s just absolute madness to put something like this near somewhere that’s so special,” she said.

“It’s everything; it’s a type of importance that you would never be able to describe.”

“The connection to this land for Adnyamathanha people is their culture, their customs; it’s their identity.”

In addition, criticism of the dump site has been given loudly by Adnyamathanha Traditional Lands Association chair Vince Coulthard:

“The Flinders Ranges is an iconic area that people come from all over the world to visit. I’m saddened to hear that the government wants to spoil this beautiful, pristine area with a devastating piece of junk. We certainly understand that there has to be somewhere they can store it, but you don’t take a pristine area and destroy that. We ask that the state government stand with the Adnyamathanha community to stop this waste dump.”

 Broad community support should also be sought state-wide; it is a state issue. The waste will either be trucked across the country through small towns or a port will be built to transport the waste first by ocean, then by rail or trucks on road. Despite the majority of the South Australian population living in Adelaide, The Flinders Ranges is an iconic totem of our state and dear to countless people, regardless of their place of residence. As stated, I am no longer living precisely within the Flinders Ranges area, yet my future depends on the area. I will return and my family still resides in Peterborough as they have done so since we first settled in Cavanaugh, north west of Dawson. My grandfather drove cattle and sheep through Horrocks Pass, just south of Hawker and the dump site, prior to the highway‟s construction. The land will always be important to many of us not necessarily physically present; broad community support needs to include those outside of the Hawker township.

  • the financial compensation offered to applicants for the acquisition of land under the Nominations of Land Guidelines;

In addition, the impact of the nuclear waste site on tourism within the Flinders Ranges should be evaluated independently and form part of state and national consensus. Presently, the Flinders Ranges is the third most popular visitor attraction (574,000 domestic visitors, 2.6 million visitor nights). It contributed 45% of tourism revenue in 2016 and employs 3,000 people directly and indirectly in the region. It therefore contributes significantly to the state economy and therefore likely affects the majority of the state‟s population in some way, even indirectly. Any reduction in this contribution to state economy (which is markedly more than what a nuclear waste dump would contribute) affects the entire state economically and has indirect consequences to many other businesses of towns surrounding Hawker in particular. My town, Peterborough, depends on tourism. It has been the town‟s only industry since the shut down of the railway industry decades ago, which saw the population of the town halve. The town depends on thriving tourism, largely bustling through its main street towards the Flinders Ranges. On weekends, in particular, the main street is full of caravans and off-road camper vehicles headed to the state icon north. The most successful businesses within the town are tourism based; hotels, motels, caravan parks, petrol stations, delis and the newsagency selling souvenirs touting the town as the „Gateway to the Flinders Ranges‟. How many other towns (Orroroo, Wirrabara, Melrose, Quorn, Yunta, Port Pirie, Port Augusta, Jamestown and Terowie), would be severely affected by the site selection of the nuclear waste dump? All of these businesses would be affected; therefore, these people deserve a say in the site selection. It is impossible to say how far out a reduction of tourism within the Flinders Ranges would reach. Therefore, the entire state (and nation) deserves a say and their voices heard in regards to seeking consent on the site selection.

  • whether and/or how the Government‟s „community benefit program‟ payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment;

The payment of Hawker residents with a $10 million bribe does affect surrounding populations, including the Indigenous, significantly. The process of offering money to compensate or persuade a supposedly impoverished town (Hawker) to give consent despite Indigenous views disadvantages anyone who is not indoctrinated into Neo-Liberal values of European-based society. It is an inherently and blatantly biased process, given Hawker has been bribed with something that is only worthy in exchange for land of which others have spiritual and physical connection with and with something that could never be valuable in Indigenous culture. The thinking of the Hawker residents is truly unclear and motivated by financial support for their town. It is reprehensible that anyone, including the residents who have already made submissions, suggest that only their opinion counts in the selection and consent process of a nuclear waste dump. This will house the nation‟s (and perhaps eventually, the world‟s) nuclear waste. Their opinion is the most blighted and misguided of all individuals, given their own declared poverty and the bribe (“compensation”) offered to them. Here is a quote exemplifying this by Hawker Community Development board member Ian Carpenter:

“Like any small country council, we struggle for money to put into infrastructure and schools and nursing facilities,” he said.

“Admittedly, it’s not going to employ 100 people, but if it employs 20 in our area and creates traineeships for our people, then I think it’s a great idea.” traineeships for our people, then I think it’s a great idea.”

Employing 20 people through the nuclear waste dump is NOT a good enough reason to omit the voices of the other > 1 million people within the state of South Australia. Our voices count also and are arguably more objective than the Hawker residents.

Nationally, opinions on the waste dump should also be heard. The waste will come from all over the country, from medical and other sources. The need to remove that waste, the transport of such waste and its eventual storage and where it is stored (hence the site selection process) should be considerate to all individuals‟ perspectives on the matter

. · how any need for Indigenous support has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including how Indigenous support has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

  • any other related matters;

Indigenous support for the site should be overwhelmingly present if a site is selected to go ahead.

To have one, single person, who chaired a committee to establish a waste dump industry in SA in 1995, nominate his property as a potential site, is clearly a conflict of interest and completely bypasses the obtaining of any other consent from surrounding communities. It is reflective of the NeoLiberal system that Australia is presently under. We care more about cash, ‘industry’, tax cuts for major companies and figures at the end of spreadsheets than making real, responsible decisions and respecting the oldest living culture on this planet. The indigenous people of the area have described their stress at knowing their home and sacred site has been nominated as a nuclear waste dump for the nation.

The nomination by Grant Chapman with complete disregard for the rare freshwater spring, biodiversity, cultural storyline and indigenous community living beside his nominated property is nothing short of a continuation of forceful Colonialism. It is an Administrative Rationality which decides what is „good‟ for everyone else, despite never really placing itself in the shoes of its constituents, especially the Adnyamathanha people. His excuse was that the nearby town of Hawker is appreciative of the $10 million bribe that will go along with the nuclear waste site. In other words, the largely non-Aboriginal community’s consent, obtained through bribes that are only valuable in a society indoctrinated into Neo-Liberal, penny-counting thinking, can override Indigenous views. It is representative of our current priorising of European, Neo-Liberal thinking over Indigenous land values. It is unacceptable that, in a country which avidly nags its citizens to be more accepting of other cultures and demonstrate our so called ‘multiculturalism’, that it does not extend this to Indigenous welfare and their views on land management. They have stated their lack of consent loud and clear. Clearly, the nearby Indigenous custodians are suffering and outraged over the site selection. The nomination of the waste dump beside the beautiful Hookina Springs really is just another slap in the face to the very culture that we should actually be listening to as a nation.

April 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump | Leave a comment

South Australia’s Liberal Premier “open to nuclear power”

Marshall still open to nuclear power, IN Daily, 11 April 19  Premier Steven Marshall says establishing a nuclear generation industry in South Australia is not on his “short-term” radar but it could “come back onto the agenda further down the track” as he considers “every option to ensure we have lower energy prices”.

Marshall today embarked on his third regional tour since seizing office at last month’s election, visiting the South-East seat of Mount Gambier where Liberal-turned-Independent MP Troy Bell is a firm advocate for nuclear power.

Marshall and Bell broke bread this morning, their second face-to-face meeting since election day.

Bell quit the party after being charged with dishonesty offences following an ICAC investigation. He is pleading not guilty in an ongoing court case.

Marshall told InDaily he was “looking forward to a close working relationship with all the crossbenchers”, and that Bell was “the duly elected member for Mount Gambier and as such I’ll be treating him with respect”.

“I’ve always worked with Troy Bell… it’s quite obvious we share a lot of common aspirations for the people of the South-East,” he said.

One of those aspirations could yet be the establishment of a nuclear generator after Marshall last year flagged his interest in considering the industry, despite Royal Commissioner Kevin Scarce rejecting it as a commercially viable option “in the foreseeable future”.

“There will be a time when it may become viable, and desperate times call for desperate solutions – and we are in a desperate situation,” Marshall told media in February 2017.

Bell, who spearheaded the Liberals’ South-East fracking moratorium before he left the party-room, is a strong advocate for nuclear power and told InDaily he was “absolutely happy to lead the discussion” about establishing a local industry.

Asked if he would advocate for a nuclear generator in the South-East, he said: “A small modular one – yes definitely.”…..

Bell said he was “very interested” in the nuclear option, insisting that “with modern technology and advancements there’s more discussions that need to be had in that space”.

“The problem is nobody wants it in their backyard,” he said.

……….Marshall told InDaily today nuclear power was “not on the short-term agenda of the Government”.

“We’ve got a very robust plan for energy [and] we’re already well on the [record] for saying we want to be neutral on that issue,” he said……

April 11, 2018 Posted by | politics, South Australia | Leave a comment

Unseasonable heat wave in Southern Australia

Record temperatures forecast as unseasonable heatwave hits southern Australia, ABC News , 10 Apr 18, By Camron Slessor   Record-breaking temperatures will continue in southern parts of Australia this week, with Adelaide set to cop the brunt of the heat today. 

April 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming | Leave a comment

Joint committee advises govt to change its foreign donations bill

Coalition told to rewrite foreign donations bill in unanimous report
Joint standing committee on electoral matters says Turnbull government should remove contentious elements of bill, Guardian,  
Paul Karp, 9  Apr 18, 

The Turnbull government should rewrite its foreign donations bill to narrow the definition of political expenditure and make it less likely to harm advocacy by civil society groups, the electoral committee has recommended.

In a unanimous report released on Monday, the joint standing committee on electoral matters sought to preserve the consensus to ban foreign political donations by calling on the government to strip out more contentious elements of the electoral funding and disclosure bill GetUp characterised the report as a major backdown and argued the bill is unworkable but the Liberal senator Linda Reynolds, the chairwoman of the committee, told Guardian Australia it could be passed with adoption of mostly minor changes

Major parties close to deal on charities and foreign donations. In the majority report, the Coalition and Labor members recommended political expenditure should be defined as spending “to influence voters to take specific action as voters, so as not to capture non-political issue advocacy”.

The changes would allow higher reporting requirements to be imposed on campaigning groups such as GetUp while making it less likely they will capture charities and not-for-profits campaigning on issues such as increasing foreign aid or protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

It recommended dumping new proposed categories of third-party campaigners and political campaigners in favour of a new register for groups attempting to influence voters.

Joining the register could be done voluntarily but would be mandatory for organisations with significant political expenditure, which the report suggests would be the $13,500 threshold that triggers the requirement to submit a return to the Australian Electoral Commission.

The committee recommended the requirement for organisations to seek statutory declarations from political donors be reconsidered.

t also wants the government to reconsider changes to the definition of “associated entity”, which could see campaigning organisations classified as related to political parties merely if they agree on policy matters.

In a minority report, the Greens senator Lee Rhiannon took a harder line that the bill may infringe the freedom of political communication and recommended that issues-based advocacy should be explicitly exempted from the definition of political expenditure.

The GetUp national director, Paul Oosting, said the report was an acknowledgement the bill was unworkable and noted the report did not explicitly recommend passage of the bill……

April 11, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics | Leave a comment

Mayor of Kimba wavering about the area hosting a nuclear waste dump?

Nuclear waste dump proposed for Eyre Peninsula town Kimba but – Nuclear waste dump proposed for Eyre Peninsula town Kimba but mayor says money and job information needed before approval … on financial rewards and jobs before Kimba locals are asked to give their final tick of approval for a radioactive waste facility, the Eyre Peninsula town’s mayor saysKimba’s …(Subscribers only)…/nuclear-waste-dump-proposed-for-eyre-peninsula-town-ki...

April 11, 2018 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment