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Barbara Walker – nuclear waste dump would damage tourism, split community and is illegal in South Australia

Submission by Barbara Walker Senate Economics References Inquiry – National Radioactive Waste Management Facility
My name is Barbara Walker. My husband and I bought a home in Quorn fifteen years ago, retiring to the peace and tranquility of the magnificent Flinders Ranges. We are both active volunteers within our community. I served as a volunteer lifeguard/supervisor at the Quorn swimming pool for nine years and am also a volunteer at
the Platform Gallery in Port Augusta. I am a member of the Flinders Local Action Group – a group of concerned citizens protecting the Flinders Ranges and against a pending nuclear
waste repository.
My husband is a regular volunteer for several local clubs and community fundraising events.
He is also an organiser for an annual military veterans retreat and a volunteer radio operator
for the VKS-737/RFDS Radio Network.
Through our network of friends and radio contacts we have always encouraged people to
visit the iconic Flinders Ranges. Many travellers visit us while travelling through Quorn and
most are horrified after discovering a nuclear waste repository is pending for the Flinders
A nuclear waste facility will adversely affect tourism within the Flinders and outer regions.
Many travellers from Australia and abroad have said they will not return if a waste dump is
located in the Flinders Ranges.
The prospect of a nuclear waste repository has also caused much division and ill health
within our local communities.
The Flinders Ranges is the home of the Adnyamathanha people who coincide with tourism
operators and local pastoralists in showcasing the marvels of the Flinders Ranges.
The question of broad community support:
I believe the Orima survey was flawed and inconsistent with broad community views and
opinions.  Orima survey phone calls were made but only to some fixed home phones. These days most
people use mobile phones. Mobile phone users were not surveyed.
Orima offered small incentives in the form of supermarket vouchers to some indigenous
respondents. Proof of this is written in the Orima survey, headed “Interview Method”. Why
was this necessary? Would this be classed as a bribe?
In my opinion a better way to survey people would be through the postal system, canvassing
the whole community by using a simple democratic process. Perhaps using the AEC would
have been a better and fairer solution, and in doing so, every community member would
have a voice.
South Australia’s Nuclear Waste Storage Facility (Prohibition) Act 2000 states it is illegal to
have a nuclear waste storage facility in South Australia, in which case, the whole of South
Australia has already said a clear NO to the storage of nuclear waste, and if that were to be
changed by Government, all South Australians should be asked for consent.
At our own expense, Flinders Local Action Group also conducted a survey. It was posted to
the people living in Hawker, Quorn and Cradock. People were simply asked for a YES, NO
or UNDECIDED vote regarding storage of nuclear waste in the Flinders Ranges. Flinders
Local Action Group then asked if the results could be opened and scrutinized by the CEO of
the Flinders Ranges Council. FRC kindly obliged and final results showed 79% of the
respondents were against having a nuclear waste repository in the Flinders Ranges.
The consideration of Indigenous support:
The consideration of indigenous support is an important factor within the Flinders Ranges
and the wider community. Any support for a nuclear waste repository would firstly have to be
given from the Adnyamathanha community because, in the case of
Wallerberdina/Barndioota, a nuclear waste repository on that site would be invasive to their
culture. Intrusion would cross cultural songlines and disturb artifacts, sacred sites and the
Hookina – The Hookina is a culturally important place for Adnyamathanha women.
Adnyamathanha families from Hawker and surrounding areas have been severely affected
by this controversial process. It has caused great heartache, division and ill health for many
people. Families and friends are feeling torn apart by the long and ongoing processes from
ANSTO and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Community Benefits Program:
Another example of division. Many think the Community Benefits Program is divisive and
creates an impression of bribery. Some businesses needing monetary assistance,
regardless of their ‘for’ or ‘against’ opinions, are happy the money has been offered and
therefore feel it is up for the taking. Others refuse to apply as they regard it as bribe money.
Some people in the community were selected for paid positions, and part of their role is to
reassure people that a nuclear waste repository would be a positive enhancement to the
Flinders Ranges – jobs, tourism and Federal money. A few of these people have used their
positions as a license to bully community members who are not in favour of a nuclear waste
dump. I suggest in future jobs like these need to be screened and monitored regularly if
people are to receive Federal funding for this kind of employment.
Small vulnerable communities would be best served if community benefits were given in
constructive growth projects, like tourism and small business, not a nuclear waste repository
that offers minimal employment and destroys tourism and cultural heritage.
Wider Community Views and conclusion:

Wider community views should always be considered regarding the storage of nuclear
waste. Most people would agree there needs to be a single repository for a low level nuclear
waste facility somewhere in Australia but it is fundamentally important to find the right place.
The Flinders Ranges is not the right place.

The intermediate nuclear waste stored at Lucas Heights should stay where it is. The Lucas
Heights storage facility is purpose built for safety and has ‘state of the art’ security with plenty
of storage availability for years to come. Why move it to a place that has massive floods, frequent earthquakes and sometimes 50+ degree days in summer?

April 21, 2018 Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, politics | Leave a comment