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Barngarla native title holders do NOT support National Radioactive Waste Management Facility on their land – the nominated sites

Selection Process for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility in South Australia – Submission From: Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation ICN 8603 : 3 April 2018

The Barngarla Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC) is the prescribed body corporate for the Barngarla native title holders as defined in the Barngarla Determination of Native Title made by the Federal Court in Croft’ on behalf of the Bamgar/a Native Title Claim Group v State of South Australia (N0 2) [2016] FCA 724 (SAD 60/11/998) on 23 June 2016.

We attach a map [on original]of the Barngarla Determination Area, as Schedule I. It clearly shows that the Barngarla are the native title holders for the two nominated sites near Kiinba, namely the Lyndhurst and Napandee nominated sites.

BDAC believes that community consultation in relation to the site selection rocess for a National Radioactive Waste Management Facility (NRWMF) has been patently inadequate, bordering on non-existent.

We hold this view given the lack of contact by the Federal Government and the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science (the Department) from the outset. The chronology of consultation is contained in our letter to the Department of 21 February 2018 (which is attached [on original] along with all other correspondence as Schedule 2), for the sake of ease of reading we reproduce a version of it below:

On 7 April2017, three months after the Lyndhurst and Napandee sites were nominated, Barngarla made contact with the Department. Prior to this letter, the Department had made no contact with the Aboriginal traditional owners or native title holders of the area.

Notwithstanding this complete lack of contact, the Department was asserting that there were no Aboriginal heritage issues in the area. Therefore, the Barngarla letter of 7 April2017 sought to correct the Department and indicated that Barn aria needed to be engaged with. Barngarla further indicated that the failure to consult to date was unacceptable.

On 4 May 2017, Barngarla received a pro forma letter from Mr. Bruce Wilson (the date April2017 had been crossed out with May inserted). The letter contained three general paragraphs and did not in any way address the Barngarla’s concerns.

On 10 July 2017, Barngarla sent a response to Mr. Wilson, requesting s ecific information on the following:

ll proposed activities, which the Department seeks to undertake for the purposes of the proj’ect, ‘what protocols, if any, the Department intends to apply in respect of Aboriginal Heritage; and Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia Submission any assessment that the Department has undertaken in respect of the impact of the proposal on Aboriginal Heritage in the Bamgar/a Determination Area.

On 14 August 2017 (originally dated 11 August, with the 11 crossed out and replaced with a hand written 14), Barngarla received a particularly uriconstructive letter from Mr. Bruce MCCleary. We do not repeat it here, but a longer description of this letter i contained in our letter of 21 contained in our letter of 21 February 2018.

Barngarla responded to the 14 August 20171etter, on 13 October 2017, providing the Department with all of the information (that the Commonwealth already had) indicating the status of BDAC, and Norman Waterhouse’s role as the Solicitors for Barngarla.

Barngarla did not receive a response to their letter of 13 October 2017. The next item of correspondence we received was a further pro forma letter from Mr. Bruce MCCleary, dated 31 October 2017, confirming the Solicitor for Barn arla’s a arent “nomination” for the Kiinba Consultative Committee (although Mr Llewellyn-Jones himself did not nominate for this Committee). It is obvious from reviewing the correspondence, that this letter was not a response to any of the letters sent by Bamgarla and was just a misaddressed pro forma letter of no substance.

Bamgarla received no further correspondence from the Department in 2017

Barngarla finally received a letter on 20 February 2018, congratulating BDAC for its status as a PBC (somewhat out of date, given that this had occurred approximately one year earlier) and advising that the Department would like to present to the BDAC Board. However, this letter.

Did not address any of the substantive matters raised by Barngarla on 7 A in 2017 or, O July 2017; in particularit does not answer how the Department could assert a lack of any Barngarla Aboriginal heritage given that there had been no discussions or engagement with Barngarla;

Did not answer the express questions put to the Department on 10 July 2017; and ,

Suggested that the first consultation with Barngarla should occur some 14 months after the Lyndhurst and Napandee sites were nominated, even though the Department had been making representations about the Barn aria and Aboriginal heritage during this time.

It is Barngarla’s position that the entire consultation process has been completelyl inappropriate and, in most cases, has involved being copied into pro forma correspondence, which is not relevant to any of the issues raised by Barngarla.

As can be seen above, BDAC has repeatedly contacted the Department to address Barngarla heritage concerns as the traditional owners in the Kiinba area. Correspondence was instigated by BDAC, not by the Department. Again, as indicated above, Barngarla’s most recent letter to the Department on 21 February 2018 provides a chronological outline of BDAC’s communication with the Department. All relevant correspondence is enclosed with this submission.

The correspondence largely speaks for itself, and so forms part of this submission. Most concerning, apart from the Department not having made contact with the Aboriginal traditional owners or native title holders for the area, was the Department’s assertion that there were no Aboriginal heritage issues in the area surrounding Lyndhurst and Napandee. ‘ This assertion was made without any consultation with these traditional owners. Further, Barngarla have repeatedly asked, on three separate occasions, for the Department to provide the basis of this assertion, which the Department has failed to do. It is not the case that there is no Aboriginal heritage in the area. Given the complete inactivity of the Department to engage with Barngarla, BDAC retained out of its own funds, the services of Dr Dee Gorring to conduct a heritage assessment of the area. This took place on 27 February 2018 to 3 March 2018. Preliminary conclusions from Dr Gorring indicated that there are a number of sites that have been identified surrounding the site of Lyndhurst and spanning across to the site of Napandee.

Accordingly, as per terms of reference:

The Department has not even engaged with Barngarla to establish whether there is any relevant Indigenous support for the NRWMF. Therefore, in respect of the Committee’s terms of reference paragraph (c), the need for Indigenous support has so far not played a part in the Department’s site selection process at all in respect of the sites near Kiinba.

The Barngarla are not aware of the Government ‘community benefit program payments referred to in the Committee’s terms of reference paragraph (d). These have therefore had no impact upon the sentiment of the Barngarla Community.

However, irrespective of any community benefit package, Barngarla would not support the NRWMF in the area. This indicates that the Committee’s terms of reference paragraph (b) have not been met; there is no ‘broad community support’ in respect of the NRWMF from Barngarla.

The proposed NRWMF does not have the support of BDAC nor does the NRWMF have the support of the broader Barngarla Community.

As seen above, there has been no appropriate consultation process. The approaches made by BDAC have been rebuffed by a combination of meaningless pro forma correspondence, bureaucratic tangents, and obfuscation, which has resulted in a contrived consultation process completely lacking in transparency.


April 25, 2018 - Posted by | Federal nuclear waste dump, South Australia

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