Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Sisters of St Joseph finds the Terms of Reference for Senate Inquiry on Nuclear Waste Dumping to be ‘grossly inadequate”

Others however do not consider that the financial risks are adequate. Their concerns  have been articulated in community discussions:
• The loss of value to the spectacular tourist lands of the Flinders ranges
• The damage to farming country near Kimba
• The harm to below surface water tables
• The adverse effect on the prices of livestock and crops, caused by proximity to radioactive waste
• The adverse effect on the prices of land adjoining the site
• The fear that the Commission’s case for a nuclear making a profit is based on inflated estimates of the income and deflated estimates of the costs and risks
The sites near Kimba are in a productive agricultural region. This is in conflict with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Code of Practice on radioactive waste, which states that radioactive waste disposal sites should have “little or no potential for agriculture” 

The question for all of us must be faced. What sort of planet will our children, grand children and great grand children inherit, if this land is used in the way proposed by the Government?

Josephite Justice Office, North Sydney NSW 2060,  Submission to Senate Inquiry SELECTION PROCESS FOR A NATIONAL RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT FACILITY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA Contact Jan Barnett rsj  (Submission No. 68)

INTRODUCTION
This submission is presented on behalf of the Josephite Justice Office, a ministry of the Congregations of the Sisters of St Joseph. The Sisters of St Joseph and our Associates (numbering approximately three thousand women and men) were founded in the mid-nineteenth century by Mary MacKillop and Julian Tenison Woods to work with those suffering from poverty and social disadvantage. We educate, advocate and work for justice, for earth and people, especially those pushed to the margins.

We commend this Inquiry into the siting of national radioactive waste management facility (NRWMF) at Kimba and Hawker. It is particularly encouraging to note that the Government has stated unequivocally that it will not impose such a facility on an unwilling community. The controversy surrounding the siting of a NRWMF in any area of Australia over recent years indicates the strength of feeling and the contradictory evidence being argued. It is our belief that until these arguments can be resolved, then even the specific terms of reference nominated for the Inquiry will be grossly inadequate.
Given that context, this submission will nonetheless address the terms of this Inquiry, focussing on both the appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process at this stage.

PURPOSE OF CONSULTATION

Six specific terms of reference have been named by the committee:

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

 2. how the need for ‘broad community support’ has played and will continue to play a part in the process, including:
a. the definition of ‘broad community support’, and
b. how ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;
Selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility in South Australia
Submission 68

3. 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;

4. whether and/or how the Government’s ‘community benefit program’ payments affect broad community and Indigenous community sentiment;

5. 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;
and
6. any other related matters.

THE FINANCIAL COMPENSATION OFFERED TO APPLICANTS FOR THE ACQUISITION OF LAND UNDER THE NOMINATIONS OF LAND GUIDELINES

The two sites being actively considered are Barndioota, near Hawker in the iconic Flinders Ranges, and two sites on farming land near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.

A number of residents who have been offered compensation believe that the amount is satisfactory. Others however do not consider that the financial risks are adequate. Their concerns  have been articulated in community discussions:
• The loss of value to the spectacular tourist lands of the Flinders ranges
• The damage to farming country near Kimba
• The harm to below surface water tables
• The adverse effect on the prices of livestock and crops, caused by proximity to radioactive waste
• The adverse effect on the prices of land adjoining the site
• The fear that the Commission’s case for a nuclear making a profit is based on inflated estimates of the income and deflated estimates of the costs and risks

THE WAY THAT THE NEED FOR ‘BROAD COMMUNITY SUPPORT’ HAS PLAYED AND WILL CONTINUE TO PLAY A PART IN THE PROCESS, INCLUDING:
• The definition of ‘broad community support’, and
• How ‘broad community support’ has been or will be determined for each process advancement stage;

There is a clear need for broad community support. Consultation has occurred, but as has been acknowledged, only across a small sample of people and communities. The
positioning of a radioactive plant is of broad community concern and necessitates comprehensive community support – defined as support of those living in the immediate

area, but also of the wider community whose lives and reputation will be affected by the placement of the plant. How this can be determined at each stage of the process is questionable, given the current tensions in the areas concerned.

• Communities in both Kimba and the Flinders Ranges have highlighted the damage and division the plan has caused among families and life-long friends

• The sites near Kimba are in a productive agricultural region. This is in conflict with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s Code of Practice on radioactive waste, which states that radioactive waste disposal sites should have “little or no potential for agriculture”
• The current attitude of ‘not in my back yard’ across the wider Australian community indicates a lack of broad community support, which needs to be tested across South Australia
• There is no doubt that the location of Ansto at Lucas Heights affects the purchasing price of land and the standing of the suburb in the minds of people considering where they might live
• The deep fear that there could be a failure of protection for residents continue to concern residents, despite assurances that radioactive waste facilities are designed with numerous layers of protection.
WHETHER AND/OR HOW THE GOVERNMENT’S ‘COMMUNITY BENEFIT PROGRAM’ PAYMENTS AFFECT BROAD COMMUNITY AND INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY SENTIMENT; 
Questions have been asked as to whether the degree of backing for the ‘community benefit program’ comprises support for the project itself or support for the funding. Regardless of such motivation however, community support is questionable, and Indigenous community sentiment is negative.
• The site in the Flinders Ranges is on Adnyamathanha country and many Adnyamathanha Traditional Owners are opposed to the possible plant and concerned that the dump will negatively impact on their country
• The Flinders Ranges is a world-renowned destination. The Sisters of St Joseph believe that many South Australians are concerned about the potential negative impact on this spectacular land, sacred to the Indigenous People and beloved to many other Australians, an impact that outweighs any community benefit program and any financial package and jobs being offered by the federal government
THE WAY THAT THE 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 
The siting of a NRWMF at Kimba and Hawker is seen by many Indigenous Australians as a lack of respect for the First Nations Peoples and their land. Aboriginal communities in South Australia suffered British nuclear weapons testing in the 1950’s and 1960’s, and continue to suffer health and social impacts from these tests. The proposed facility is seen as further disregard and destruction, a permanent imposition on country, people, laws, environment and culture. Past experiences indicate that Indigenous support will be difficult to receive, and that at each advancement stage, further polarisation of both Indigenous and other communities will occur. From Elders in the South Australian communities to young people now speaking out, many generations are resistant of a NRWMF.
 WHETHER WIDER (EYRE PENINSULA OR STATE-WIDE) COMMUNITY VIEWS SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION AND HOW THIS IS OCCURRING OR SHOULD BE OCCURRING
There is no doubt that broad and much wider community views should be taken into consideration. The siting of the facility in South Australia affects not only the communities of Hawker and Kimba, but also the surrounding areas, and indeed the whole of the state and beyond.
 • It is known that ultimately, in spite of every precaution, there is no safe level of exposure to ionising radiation, and that any exposure can result in negative health outcomes. Exposure can occur at any stage of the process • Risks could arise in the vicinity itself or along the transport corridors
 • The polarisation of the communities of Hawker and Kimba has been replicated more broadly across South Australia in the lead-up to the state election, indicating the necessity for significantly more comprehensive consultation
 • The long delay in reaching a decision regarding an appropriate site is indicative of the failure to reach consensus on this issue
 • It is clear that the waste disposal problem has become a major challenge for Government. Cautious and careful consideration is needed if indeed the next stage of this process is to be managed successfully
CONCLUSION 
The appropriateness and thoroughness of the site selection process for a national radioactive waste management facility at Kimba and Hawker in South Australia continues to be questioned despite Government assurances. It remains reassuring to note that the Government has stated that it will not impose such a facility on an unwilling community. The polarisation of the community indicates that there remain significant concerns on the part of local residents, as well as across the broad community of South Australia.
Finding a solution to this current dilemma is not the work of a single discipline or a single group or a single political strategy. Its solution lies as much in scientific data as it does in the ongoing consultation of communities, as much or more in a love land as it does in our instinct for self-preservation or profit.

The question for all of us must be faced. What sort of planet will our children, grand children and great grand children inherit, if this land is used in the way proposed by the Government?

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May 7, 2018 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, Federal nuclear waste dump

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